Austria’s ICT Sector is Advancing Fast
ICT successes made in Austria
A clear example of Austria’s innovative strength is Near Field Communication (NFC) developed with significant involvement on Austria’s part. All in all, a large number of Austrian ICT companies have managed to achieve a leading-edge position on the global market with their products. The Republic of Austria has also positioned itself as an important competitor in the fields of semiconductors, smart cards, RFID and IT security. The significance of the industry for the Austrian business location is reflected in the hard facts i.e. it accounts for 8.6 percent of the country’s value added. As a generic technology, the ICT sector also impacts other sectors and enhances their productivity. From a labor market perspective, the ICT industry secures about 290,000 jobs in Austria. Vienna alone ranks among the top five IT cities in Europe, with 5,900 companies and about 55,000 employees. These companies generate EUR 19 billion in revenue annually, or four times as much as tourism contributes to Vienna’s economy.
Funding supports a strong research landscape
This success can be particularly attributed to innovative research and development. The Austrian Research Promotion Agency FFG lists Austria as one of the top three business locations in Europe for ICT research at present. For example, the R&D rate in chip production is about 15-20 percent. Special funding programs such as “ICT of the Future” propel research forward. In addition, the presence of international corporate groups such as Infineon, Siemens, Philips and Microsoft significantly strengthens the research location. Austria is not only an interesting market for these firms but also an important high-tech location featuring competence centers of global importance.
The entire country is well-positioned as an ICT research location. Graz, Villach and Linz joined forces to open Silicon Austria Labs, a world-class research center for microelectronics, in December 2018. It focuses on issues such as microsystems for the “smart factory”, autonomous driving and intelligent grids. The internationally renowned company Carinthian Tech Research AG (CTR), the largest non-university research center in the southern part of Austria, belongs to Silicon Austria and will contribute its extensive competence in the fields of sensor technology and microelectronics to the research center.
In contrast, Vienna has become an international hot spot in the meantime for chatbots and the further development of blockchain technology. Upper Austria represents yet another important location for IT companies from across the globe, for example due to its universities, universities of applied sciences and Softwarepark Hagenberg, which presses ahead with ongoing innovation and continuous progress in software, Finally, there is Silicon Alps Cluster, a public-private partnership of Austrian players from business, science and industry, whose sites in Carinthia and Styria play a crucial role in the development and positioning of the electronics and microelectronics industry.
COMET Competence Centers for Excellent Technologies) ranks among one of the most successful funding initiatives in Austria. Its objective is to further strengthen the culture of cooperation between industry and science, and thus promote the joint capacity building in research.
Laying the foundations for the future of the ICT sector
However, it should not be taken for granted that Austria will also be able to maintain its reputation in this field in the future. For this reason, the Austrian federal government has launched a number of different initiatives. First and foremost, this includes Digital Austria, whose objective is to transform Austria into one of the leading digital nations in order to safeguard and bolster prosperity, jobs and the quality of life in the long term. Digital Austria provides information about opportunities and successful projects, links players and sets priorities for the future.
Furthermore, Austria actively invests in eGovernment and has been a European trailblazer for years. With the help of modern technologies, citizens and companies can unbureaucratically establish contact with public authorities and government offices and take care of their official business online. According to the eGovernment Monitor 2018, 74 percent of all Austrians already take advantage of eGovernment services. Accordingly, Austria is clearly ahead of Germany and Switzerland with respect to digital public administration. Starting in March 2019, the online platform oesterreich.gv.at will serve as a central contact point for the most important digitally available administrative services. Existing platforms such as the public administration gateway HELP.gv.at and the legal information system RIS.gv.at will be integrated in the new platform. In this way, the foundations will be laid to support Austrian companies with the digital transformation and strengthen the competitiveness of the Austrian business location.
Do you have a company operating in the ICT sector and are interested in Austria as a business location? Please do not hesitate to contact me for an initial consultation without any obligation on your part.