An inspiring congress about the New Normal in a digital age with a range of impressive speakers, interesting subjects and futuristic presentations has come to a successful end. On May 5 until 6, the Next Berlin 2014, supported by the dfv media group, hosted altogether 127 speakers on three stages in the bcc Berlin, with its outstanding architecture, including workshops and a panel discussion. An exceptionally diverse range of experts of the digital industry, technologists, futurists, artists and interdisciplinary professionals shared their wide range of visions and innovations, and further discussed new opportunities in the digital world as well as the next steps of the internet. About 1.500 attendees from business and media made it a great event.

Topics of day one

Jesse Baker, The Provenance Project
Jesse Baker, The Provenance Project
At the agenda of day one, the futurist Scott Smith reported about future innovations on the topic of new ways to manage the customers buying behavior in-store as well as in online shops. With the slogan “We are what we buy” he introduced the idea of analyzing the relation between data analysis, forecast and consumer behavior through tracked reactions of customers in the stores and getting in-store notifications via smartphone as an option for retailers. Technologies like face scan or language analyzing can flash the appropriate individual advertising while walking through a store.

Afterwards Jesse Baker introduced the Provenance Project, which claims a radical transparency of product supply chains. Digital and mobile shops can work with a higher transparency of supply chains, so that the customer can track processes back to the producer.  Detailed information about the production can be included into e-commerce with the goal for an open shopping experience and generally to open up data.

Brad Templeton, Singularity University
Brad Templeton, Singularity University
Another insightful presentation was held by Brad Templeton about the vision to provide a faster delivery for online shops and also to consider sustainable ideas for reducing returns. An immediate and cheap delivery can be possible with robocars, a concept of artificial intelligence to change retail.



Highlights of day two

Peter Hinnsen, Author
Peter Hinnsen, Author
The second day has been opened at the dome stage by the author Peter Hinssen, who reflects on the general need for companies to develop within the new opportunities. “We have become addicted to the network” and companies want to survive in the fast digital stream. He states “Markets have turned into networks. Companies will have to become networks as well.” Furthermore, he underlines “Don’t wait until you are retro chic. You have to learn to experiment. This is the new normal.” Also Kai Schwabedal, Chief Commercial Officer of E-Plus, adds to consider that the digital brand self-actualizes and takes over.

In the afternoon-block with the subject of new user interfaces, Anders Bo Petersen from The Eye Tribe confers about new techniques of eye-tracking running in the background of our computer. Advertising can be personalized and it’s the fastest possibility of following a link.

Thomas de Maizière
Thomas de Maizière
Thomas de Maizière, Germany's Federal Minister of the Interior, closed the session with the statement "The digital development should be seen as opportunity. The internet isn't owned by the government, it's a public space. To get back the trust into our digital infrastructure is not only a task of politics, it's a question for all of us."

What comes after online is hence an important question for the fashion industry. After focusing on online shops, next steps like getting mobile and interactive, personalized on-/offline advertising and providing a more transparent shopping experience to the consumer shouldn’t be ignored, certainly under the aspect of rethinking the effects of more transparent data.  All in all, the congress revealed that the future lies in opening up new opportunities with digital innovations and to embrace the New Normal.