Bremen, January 19, 2023 – The digital turnaround must bring about safeguarding freedom, shaping ability in the digital world as well as providing vital IT basic infrastructure. At the Univention Summit 2023 on 17 and 18 January, the focus was therefore on pioneering projects and components of an open and reliably available infrastructure, such as the identity management solutions from Univention, the sovereign administration workplace and the dPhoenixSuite from Dataport. Peter Ganten (Univention founder and CEO) presented the idea of an “Open New Deal”.
This would secure the long-term basis so that government, business and civil society could jointly create an open and controllable infrastructure for sustainable digitalization. Ganten drew parallels to the infrastructure consisting of transport, communication and energy networks that paved the way for the industrial revolution in the 19th century.
On January 17 and 18, more than 630 participants, both on-site and online, learned about IT trends, successful open source projects, and the possibilities of digitally sovereign IT infrastructures in numerous presentations, workshops and discussion rounds. Another crowd puller were the 31 partners in the accompanying trade exhibition, including well-known IT providers such as agorum, Open-Xchange, ownCloud, Bechtle, Dataport, OpenTalk and Apple.
Call for Open New Deal against Growing Dependencies of Individual Companies
In his keynote, Peter Ganten emphasized the importance of a digital turnaround in Germany and Europe, especially given a world political situation in which politics and the globalized economy are increasingly determined by the interests of states, companies, or even individuals such as Twitter buyer Elon Musk. The answer to this, Ganten demands, must be an Open New Deal. Unlike the current energy crisis, which was at least cushioned by gas storage facilities, this is not feasible in the case of cloud services. This makes it all the more important that an eco-system of all stakeholders is formed and a reliable IT infrastructure, available to all and based on clear rules, is established.
Even during industrialization 150 years ago, such a reliable infrastructure was the basis and engine for global prosperity and success. In contrast, Ganten rejected protectionist approaches. Global challenges could only be solved together based on openness, digital sovereignty and standards. According to Ganten, an important component of an open and at the same time integrated IT infrastructure is central identity management, which enables secure access to a wide range of IT services and resources – a topic on which Univention has been working intensively for years.
Panel on Standardized Interfaces for Specialist Applications
The panel discussion with Harald Joos (BMF), Andreas Reckert-Lodde (ZenDiS), Sirko Scheffler (DATABUND), Dr. Ralf Resch (VITAKO), Silke Tessmann-Storch (Dataport) and Peter Ganten (Univention) also dealt with digital independence. Under discussion was the need for open and standardized interfaces for the connection of specialized procedures to the new administrative cloud. The multi-cloud strategy envisaged by the German government could only become reality if interfaces were prescribed that enabled all providers to connect solutions. Otherwise, a quasi-standard based on proprietary platforms would lead to a hidden vendor lock-in.
Growth Continues for Univention in Terms of Revenue, Users and Employees
The growth figures of the Bremen-based open source manufacturer, announced by Peter Ganten, are proof of his company’s successful development. Unlike numerous international IT companies, Univention has recorded an average growth in turnover of over 35 percent in the last three years. The number of users of the Univention platform has also increased by over 30 percent and Univention’s workforce has grown and continues to grow.
Aiming to continue this growth, Univention is consistently expanding its platform Univention Corporate Server (UCS) and the solution UCS@school, which has been optimized for the education sector, into an open platform for broad use and the integration of other solutions. The focus is on the migration to Keycloak as an identity service provider, the operation of cloud infrastructures based on Kubernetes and the expansion of the roles and rights model for differentiated access to resources and services.
31 IT Vendors as Partners and Exhibitors at the Univention Summit
The Summit partners also expressed optimism about the development of an open and integrated open source solution stack as an alternative to closed platforms that previously dominated the market, and presented various initiatives of their own. For example, Andreas Gauger, CEO of Open-Xchange GmbH, introduced the new META API “OSATRA” (“One Single API To Read (them) All”) in his keynote. The Berlin-based company heinlein announced deeper integration with UCS for its OpenTalk video conferencing solution. And Dataport presented the latest version of the dPhoenixSuite at the summit, an open source alternative to Microsoft365, that is currently being tested in pilot operations for schools in Baden-Württemberg, among others.
Keynotes by State Councillor Dr. Martin Hagen (Bremen Finance), Dr. Julia Pohle (WZB) and Matthias Spielmann (AlgorithmWatch)
Dr. Martin Hagen, (State Councillor for Finance in Bremen) was impressed by the large number of attendees from all over Germany, Switzerland and Austria and presented Bremen’s plans for the deployment of sovereign IT solutions. Hagen emphasized how crucial it is for all federal states to work closely together on and jointly finance projects. This is the only way to create sustainable and financially viable solutions, he said.
Keynote speaker Dr. Julia Pohle from the Social Science Research Center Berlin addressed the issue of fragmentation of the Internet. The scientist underlined that global networks have always been plural, but that it is more important than ever to counteract centralization and isolation. Matthias Spielkamp of Algorithm Watch, the final keynote speaker of the Summit, demanded that the public sector advocates for transparency in algorithm-based decision-making of automated AI systems. Only then could the danger of discriminatory decisions be prevented.
On 18 January, the attendees met in 15 workshops and a bar camp for technicians to discuss various subjects in smaller groups and to network.
Find all information about the Univention Summit, the speakers and partners as well as the complete agenda at: www.univention-summit.com.
Univention, headquartered in Bremen, Germany, is the provider of the Open Source platform Univention Corporate Server (UCS) for digital identity management and application integration. Openness, scalability and usability serve to realize digital sovereignty, which ensures users have full control over their own data and identities. UCS, as an open integration platform with an identity management system, a web portal for easy access to applications and the Univention App Center, enables the seamless integration of third-party applications and services. With its own solutions and their integration into the Sovereign Cloud Stack (SCS) as well as into the dPhoenixSuite, Univention enables the modernization of the IT infrastructure of the public sector as well as that of companies.
The UCS@school solution, which is tailored to educational institutions, offers an optimized platform with central identity management for the simple provision of services from different providers such as learning management systems, email, cloud and office applications for schools, school boards, and states via their own school portals. UCS and UCS@school are used by numerous federal states, municipalities and districts, administrations and companies. For more information, visit https://www.univention.com.