Application-oriented research has practical relevance. This means that the research results or developments can subsequently be used in the industrial sector.



Complementors are entrepreneurial actors and partners who offer subsidiary products and services on a platform. They can be helpful in expanding platforms in size and build complex ecosystems. In the context of the increasing integration of complementors, the possibility of benefiting from direct and indirect network effects is growing.


Connectivity is the networking of devices or virtual units like apps over digital networks like the Internet.

Cyber-physical systems

Cyber-physical systems are a network of mechanical components, software and information and communication technologies. They play a central role for the industry 4.0, as they can control the processes of complex systems and infrastructures largely autonomously by exchanging data in real time. This improves efficiency, flexibility and security in fields of application such as production, logistics, energy and mobility.




Data is raw, unanalyzed facts. It can be structured or unstructured. Using various processing techniques, it can be converted into information.

Data Mining

Data mining refers to the automatic evaluation of large amounts of data. The aim is to discover correlations or regularities.

Digitalization paradox

Companies often invest in digitalization, data access and data analysis. Often, however, this is not accompanied by the desired value creation or the expected increase in sales. This phenomenon describes the digitalization paradox.


Digitization influences almost all areas of daily life. Documents that used to be available only in analogue form (e.g. books or films) can now be read or downloaded in digital form. This also applies to all other forms of data. As a result, this data can be collected and analyzed.


Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 means a change in industrial production. It becomes more flexible and can be adapted individually because industrial goods and processes are networked with each other. The data exchange made possible by this intelligent networking ensures that machines and systems control, monitor and optimize production processes largely independently.

Internet of Things

The internet makes it possible to connect objects (machines, equipment, products) and virtual units (apps). Data can be exchanged via this networking – also known as connectivity. The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the totality of these connected objects. Via the IoT, physical and virtual objects can exchange or communicate data with each other, but also with people. Possible uses range from human-machine interactions (e.g. in production lines) to machines taking over complex tasks in the sense of Industry 4.0.



A digital platform is an internet-based, imaginary marketplace that enables the interactions and transactions of the various participants (offerers, demanders and complementors). The resulting network guarantees added value for at least one of the participants.



The term servitization describes a process in which the manufacturing industry evolves in the direction of services. This means that the company no longer solely offers products, but also other associated services. One example is the maintenance of machines. A connection with digitization can be established if machine data is used to predict the wear of certain parts as accurately as possible.

Smart Factory

The Smart Factory is part of Industry 4.0 and describes the vision of an intelligent production environment in which machines, plants and logistics systems (cyber-physical systems) organize themselves and automatically optimize processes without the need for human intervention. The basis for this is the exchange of data through the networking of industrial goods and processes via connectivity technologies and the Internet of Things.


Socio-economic research focuses on both the economy and society. Economic developments can change society (e.g. the smartphone). In the same way, social change can influence the economy (e.g. the desire for a better work-life balance).  


Value Creation

Value creation is the economic performance of a company. The value chain refers to all necessary processes (e.g. supply – production – delivery). In the value creation network, these steps are no longer linear, but move along different channels that influence each other. For example, this gives customers more influence over the product to be manufactured.


Work 4.0

The term work 4.0 covers questions about the future of work. The aim is to find out how we intend to shape and organize the future of the working world, which has changed as a result of digitization. This includes considerations on technical innovations and working-time models as well as on the opportunities and risks associated with them.

* Required