HITCHHIKER´S GUIDE TO THE SMART PRODUCTS ECONOMY - A Journey to the Hotspots of innovation

Anniversary issue "A Journey to the Hotspots of innovation"

Hitchhiker's Guide To The Smart Products Economy

"The most profound technologies are those that disappear,” is how Mark Weiser’s now legendary essay “The Computer for the 21st Century” begins. Published 25 years ago, Weiser’s vision of the omnipresent computer that is invisible as a separate device and, more importantly, of the pervasive network, has finally become reality...

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Chapter 1

The Lufthansa flight from Munich to Edinburgh takes around two and a half hours. This is where our journey through the smart product economy begins...

Edinburgh Airport, Scotland

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Chapter 2

It’s not just the smart products at a modern airport that brought us to Scotland. After a drive of just under four hours through the wonderfully sparse mountain landscape of the Highlands, we arrive in Speyside, the heart of the Scotch whisky industry...

Speyside, Scotland

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Chapter 3

The drive from Speyside down to Newcastle upon Tyne – the next stage of our journey – takes almost six hours. Located in the north of England at the terminal point of the Roman Hadrian’s Wall, the city of Newcastle has retained the charm of its lively thousand-year history in many places.

Newcastle upon Tyle, UK - Amsterdam, NL

The Argonauts

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Chapter 4

We flew from Amsterdam/Schiphol to Stockholm/Arlanda in two hours, exchanged money, hired a car and now we’re already on our way again. The next stop on our journey is the mine at Garpenberg, near the small town of Hedemora situated a good two-and-a-half hours north of Stockholm...

Hedemora, Garpenberg, Sweden

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Chapter 5

San Francisco Airport welcomes us in bright sunshine. This time we decide against a hire car in favor of an Uber driver, who takes us to San Mateo just half an hour away. San Mateo is one of the hotspots for start-ups in Silicon Valley, but our destination is neither one of the up-and-coming hightech forges nor one of the innumerable venture capital companies that have offices in the city...

San Mateo, CA

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Chapter 6

It took us exactly 15 hours to fly from San Francisco to Düsseldorf and drive by car to Harsewinkel. The town on the river Ems is a “one-industry city” – agricultural machinery manufacturer CLAAS has dominated the local economy for almost a century to such a degree that there has been a fierce debate in the town for many years about adding the byname “Harvester City”...

Harsewinkel, Germany

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Chapter 7

Lohr is an idyllic town in the Spessart hills, characterized by halftimbered houses, the river Main and the legend nurtured successfully by the town’s tourist marketing office for the last thirty years that, according to an extremely questionable but absolutely endearing theory, Lohr was the birth town of Snow White...

Lohr am Main, Germany

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Chapter 8

People settled in Zell am See in the Pinzgau region of Austria as early as the Bronze Age. The first Roman expeditions to reach the area just before the start of the Common Era found a flourishing Celtic culture that had existed in the region for half a millennium (after of course displacing another flourishing culture that had also occupied the area for 500 years)...

Zell am See, Austria

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Chapter 9

Our journey takes us from Zell am See to another part of the Alps, Sattel-Hochstuckli in Switzerland. After heavy mining vehicles and giant agricultural machinery, we now come across something else that boys both young and old dream of: Kässbohrer’s snow groomer ‘PistenBully’. As in countless other snow-covered areas of Europe, powerful tracked vehicles ensure perfect snow cover...

Sattel-Hochstuckli, Switzerland

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