Digitization can give rural areas a future

Supply operations in rural areas

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We present the most important facts, figures and data on our »Supply operations in rural areas« research field in our image film.

Rural areas can regain their attractiveness through the possibilities that digitization offers. But why are these measures urgently needed? The impact on rural areas of increasing urbanization in conjunction with demographic change has been massive: public and private services as well as technical and social infrastructure are gradually disappearing because they are no longer worthwhile. Supply in rural areas is getting progressively worse: this concerns access both to everyday goods as well as to facilities for culture, sports or leisure and thus to an area that greatly increases quality of life. The consequences for rural areas are serious and much discussed: a shortage of skilled workers, low wages, increased commuting and a limited supply of care, training and qualification opportunities, which in turn leads young, well-educated people to emigrate – a downward spiral.

Restoring appeal: Our vision for reviving rural areas

But how can the value of rural areas be regained? Through new concepts that build on the possibilities offered by digitization to maintain crucial local services. With digital support, stakeholders can be connected with each other more easily and in some cases grouped by topic in completely new ways; in various areas of life, this would make old business models and services profitable again or let completely new ones emerge: e.g. in local supply, mobility, health, care or training. This is turning rural areas into pioneers of sustainable living and supply concepts.


Making supply operations in rural areas sustainable


Digital concepts that are designed to function sustainably not only solve existing problems for citizens and companies, they also have the future in mind. There is clearly a need for the corresponding technological infrastructure and platform – but without the right applications and business models, there can be no hope of success. In addition to technical expertise, then, this calls for knowledge of rural structures, awareness of local challenges and needs as well as the skills to develop digital business models.

We combine technical know-how in designing digital platforms and developing apps with scientific methods for market analysis, user integration and business model development. In order to improve supply operations in rural areas, we focus on the areas of local supply, mobility through public transport and education and training.

How we are digitizing rural areas  

Digitization can give rural areas a future – provided their specific framework conditions are sufficiently taken into account. That is why we analyze needs, involve citizens and use this information to develop data-driven business models and the necessary technologies. Specifically, we use the following methods:
  • Market analysis and user integration: We analyze users’ local challenges and needs using proven methods such as demand analyses, citizen surveys, secondary data analyses or qualitative interviews.
  • Business model development: Based on market and user analyses as well as the technological possibilities, we develop new data-driven services and business models and test them for their feasibility and economic viability.
  • Technology development: We develop the necessary technologies, platforms and apps and integrate them into technical solutions.

Find out more about Fraunhofer SCS


Success and added value thanks to data

Sustained success in a changing world: this is the vision of Fraunhofer SCS.


Scientific expertise in the reference process

The methodological expertise developed in our fields of research is informed by our specially developed Reference Process for Digital Transformation. Read about what this initiative means to us, and how we can use our expertise to comprehensively support companies.