Innovation priorities

Where does innovation come from? Everywhere. That is why it is important to ensure our innovation activities take place at an intra-Group level and are aligned strategically. Our four interrelated innovation areas – products for consumers and business customers, network/infrastructure, and processes/service – provide a consistent framework that can be applied across the Group. In addition, for our innovations to be successful we must focus on just a handful of areas – but we have to choose the right ones. In the reporting year we have further developed our innovation priorities in close coordination with the operating segments.

Innovation priorities in 2018

Innovation priorities in 2018 (graphic)
  • Home: In the connected home our customers experience the convergence of the next generation. To further improve the customer experience, we are enhancing the voicification of our services – integrating local partners for smart speakers and much more. The aim is to make the lives of customers easier at home and on the go by enabling a seamless, consistent, and convenient interplay of all Deutsche Telekom services, partner services, and devices.
  • Telekom connectivity: By seamlessly managing the different access technologies from Wi-Fi through and combining them with modern data analytics and machine learning processes, we create a unique connectivity experience. Our customers should be able to use their digital services and content anytime, anywhere – simply, securely, and in top quality.
  • Digital processes: By integrating artificial intelligence we will ensure that our products and services remain competitive in the future. Artificial intelligence turns, for instance, voice control, which simply compares entered words against a list of keywords, into a smart assistant. By integrating artificial intelligence into customer service, we free up capacity to focus on further improving customer care.
  • Smart city: Deutsche Telekom aims to be a trustworthy, reliable, and long-term partner for municipalities on the road to digitalization. The aim is to deliver future-proof connections and IT solutions for the benefit of residents and visitors, thus helping meet the environmental and economic challenges.
  • 5G: With 5G, we are creating the basis for the real-time communication of the future. Wireless broadband technology, for example, is key to innovative applications in the virtual and immersive internet of the future with self-driving cars, robotics, Industry 4.0, and ever-more realistic virtual reality.

In the reporting year, we already presented several promising product and service innovations as part of our innovation priorities:

When it comes to connectivity, we presented new home networking products for an even better customer experience at IFA 2018. The Speedport Pro was made available, which bundles the required bandwidth with up to 1,000 Mbit/s in the fixed network and for mobile communications, turning it into our new flagship in the German market. The inner workings of the router are manufactured from recycled plastic and we use environmentally friendly recyclable PaperFoam packaging. SDG 12 Speed Home WiFi is our new mesh Wi-Fi solution. With up to five other devices it enables a comprehensive Wi-Fi network to be set up with the very latest mesh technology. The devices improve Wi-Fi reception by communicating with each other. The wireless connection in the mesh network transmits even Ultra HD movies perfectly. The Speedport Smart 3 is now also available with the mesh update. As a new service, we are offering the revamped DSL Help app that enables our customers to analyze and improve their home network themselves. This is just one of the ways in which we ensure customers benefit from the best connectivity and the best customer experience.

In the reporting year, initial pilot projects were launched in our national companies for the simultaneous use of LTE and Wi-Fi network technologies (bonding). Behind this solution lies a combination of LTE and Wi-Fi, paving the way for high bandwidths and speeds beyond LTE (up to 100 Mbit/s) in real-world usage scenarios. We are also working on a pilot in Germany to develop “zero-touch” connectivity, i.e., connectivity management is activated as soon as the device is started up, which improves connectivity for our customers outside of the Connect smartphone app – take the wide range of screenless consumer hardware available, for example.

To make our customer service even more customer-friendly and efficient, voice control functions along with chatbots including artificial intelligence are being tested within our “Digital processes” innovation topic. The use of chatbots makes the customer service more effective and more efficient: They are available around the clock, complete routine work without any waiting time for the customer, and provide our service agents with more time to deal with complex issues. They cannot and should not replace human agents when it comes to our customers’ complex issues. Our chatbot Tinka at T-Mobile Austria came out on top in a study on chatbots in DAX 30 and MDAX enterprises. The study looked at aspects including the conversational behavior and usability of twelve chatbots. With a resolution rate of just under 70 percent, Tinka was chosen as the winner. We are also using chatbots in Germany. Our Digital Service Assistant is now built into our website and integrated into the My Magenta app where it already covers a host of use cases – with others set to follow.

With the “Smart city” innovation topic, Deutsche Telekom is driving forward the intelligent design of urban areas, enabling municipalities to save energy and money with intelligent lighting concepts, efficient waste management, smart parking solutions, and air quality monitoring, while also improving the quality of life of local residents. In the reporting year we set up a new initiative jointly with the German Association of Towns and Municipalities (Deutscher Städte- und Gemeindebund): the Digital Cities & Regions executive program. The partners develop smart, tailor-made solutions with the aim of promoting digitalization in cities and communities. SDG 11

As part of our 5G innovation topic, we are laying the groundwork for the digital world of tomorrow. In the reporting year, we presented, for example, the T-Systems’ solution for augmented-reality maintenance. Maintenance employees wearing special glasses receive information about the machinery they are working on, including guidelines about how to ideally complete the repair. For example, a warehouse worker can see where a specific spare part is stored on a shelf, or a mechanic can see helpful information on their smart glasses that can help them repair a particular component. The first pilot projects got underway in 2018 – testimony to the high level of interest expressed by our business customers. We also pressed ahead with the 5G prototyping initiative in the reporting year, launched by our tech incubator, hub:raum. Collaboration with selected start-ups has already begun. The 5G prototyping initiative gives start-ups from all across Europe the opportunity to come into contact with the brand-new technology and infrastructure of Deutsche Telekom to foster the development of ideas and new applications. SDG 9

New communications standard, which offers data rates in the gigabit range, converges fixed-network and mobile communications, and supports the Internet of Things – rollout starting 2020.
LTE - Long Term Evolution
New generation of 4G mobile communications technology using, for example, wireless spectrum on the 800 MHz band freed up by the digitization of television. Powerful TV frequencies enable large areas to be covered with far fewer radio masts. LTE supports speeds of over 100 Mbit/s downstream and 50 Mbit/s upstream, and facilitates new services for cell phones, smartphones, and tablets.
A coupling element that connects two or more sub-networks. Routers can also extend the boundaries of a network, monitor data traffic, and block any faulty data packets.
IOT - Internet of Things
The IoT enables the intelligent networking of things like sensors, devices, machines, vehicles, etc., with the aim of automating applications and decision-making processes. Deutsche Telekom’s IoT portfolio ranges from SIM cards and flexible data rate plans to IoT platforms in the cloud and complete solutions from a single source.
New communications standard, which offers data rates in the gigabit range, converges fixed-network and mobile communications, and supports the Internet of Things – rollout starting 2020.