Where does innovation come from? Everywhere. That is why it is important to ensure we pursue our innovation activities at an intragroup level and that they are aligned with our strategy. Our interconnected innovation areas provide a holistic, Group-wide framework for this. In the reporting year, we continued to hone our innovation priorities in close coordination with the operating segments, building on our activities in 2019:
- Connectivity: We are working to ready our router operating system for the digital future – with enhanced cloud-based connectivity management and service quality, a superior customer experience and standardized operation via app, PC, or TV, and value-added applications, such as child protection functions, home security, predictive maintenance, and troubleshooting. This new router generation is based on a scalable global reference system (Reference Design Kit, RDK), which we are constantly fine-tuning together with other leading telecommunications providers. In 2020, we launched initial applications and prototypes in Germany, Hungary, Croatia, and Greece. We will be starting a comprehensive pilot with the latest router generation in early 2021.
- MagentaGaming: We readied our cloud-based gaming offering for the market, launching it at Gamescom in August 2020. In an effort to become the best entertainment aggregator in our markets, we are continuously evolving the offering’s functions and features, expanding the available content, integrating payment and customer loyalty systems, and developing mobile gaming applications.
- Smart Home: We began cloudifying our smart-home offerings in the previous year, with the aim of making the ecosystem future-proof. We achieved a substantial increase in customer satisfaction, in part by making the activation process a lot simpler. The 2020 financial year saw the integration of Smart Home into Telekom Deutschland’s new broadband service, which entailed the changeover to hardware-based applications and in-app service activation via Telekom ID to increase user numbers.
- Home Orchestration: We want to improve the customer experience at home by ensuring the easy, seamless, and uniform interaction of all Deutsche Telekom’s services and devices, and by enabling the services of selected partners. We continue pushing forward with this integration and orchestration of the home network, TV, smart speakers, smart-home applications, and entertainment services. Initial applications, e.g., Wi-Fi Sharing, have already gone live.
- Magenta Voice: In summer 2020, we launched the first mini speaker on the German market. This compact speaker version was honored with the German Design Award. What is more, multiple individual designs make it truly customizable. With smart voice control (also known as voicification), we want to further enhance the way our customers experience our services, and to simplify interaction with technology and devices. In addition, we are constantly evolving the voice platform, winning over new partners, and integrating further voice-controlled Telekom services (e.g., TV, Smart Home). Ongoing functionality enhancements have resulted in rising customer satisfaction levels. In parallel, we are pushing forward with B2B solutions.
- 5G: With 5G, we are creating the basis for the digital world of tomorrow, especially when it comes to real-time communication. This next-generation technology is the key to innovative applications for virtual reality and extended reality (XR), connected and autonomous driving, robotics, and Industry 4.0. In 2020, we defended our position as innovation leader for the 5G core network by launching dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS), a new antenna technology that for the first time enables the parallel use of LTE and 5G in the same frequency band. DSS has been key to successfully expediting the 5G build-out and thus contributed in a major way to accomplishing our current level of network coverage reaching two thirds of the population in Germany.
- Campus Networks: Campus networks for corporate customers are one of the core applications for 5G technology. Campus networks integrate dedicated mobile connectivity with edge computing and integrated digital applications from the fields of production, automation, and logistics, enhancing companies’ options to automate their production, and achieve stability and flexibility. We continued expanding our campus portfolio in 2020 and, at the end of the year, successfully completed pilot projects for a 5G campus at the University Hospital Bonn and a “private-only” campus for corporate customers with their own spectrum. The 5G NR NSA product, Campus L, has been ready for rollout since December 2020, while the Campus M version was launched in summer 2020.
- Network Differentiation: In this innovation program, we are developing software solutions for the automated analysis and operation of network infrastructure based on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. In addition, a multi-vendor strategy serves to strengthen autonomy and enables us to maintain our innovation leadership. This approach to network production is based on cloud and software technologies that will significantly enhance the customer experience and improve both flexibility and scalability. At the same time, it lowers production costs and opens up new monetization options. The Open Test & Integration Center (OTIC) was opened in Berlin. Here, start-ups, suppliers, operators, and systems integrators can test out how new components interact with mobile networks. The goal is to create a vendor-independent RAN that also interacts quickly and easily with other networks. This is the vision being pursued by the network operators and suppliers that have joined forces in the O-RAN Alliance.
- AI Enterprise: By integrating artificial intelligence, we will ensure that our products and services remain competitive into the future. The focus of our activities in 2020 was on scaling up the chatbots already based on AI in order to further personalize customer interactions across all points of contact. German computer magazine Computer Bild named our “Frag Magenta” chatbot the best chatbot by a German telecommunications provider (issue 24/2020). We also continued to personalize our marketing and sales activities so as to be able to offer our customers tailored solutions that are based on our previous interactions with them.
- Big Data: This is an innovation area in which we are driving the implementation of Group-wide principles for data processing and analytics. Our uniform data model will enhance our data analyses and enable us to easily transpose successful analyses to new markets. As our top priority is the privacy and integrity of our customers’ data, customer and network data remain with the relevant national companies. Applications have been implemented at five national companies and have already resulted in significant efficiency gains.
- Sustainable Telco: Our latest innovation area is devoted to making telecommunications providers more sustainable. Currently, the main focus is on energy-optimized network production and the resource-efficient design of products and services. The reporting year saw successful prototypes and tests for AI-based, smart energy management in the mobile network and for decentralized renewable energy production.
Covers the entire virtuality spectrum: augmented reality, virtual reality, mixed reality, and simulated reality, as well as potential future developments.
- AR – augmented reality. The computer-generated enhancement of the real world with perceptual information. The information can address all the human senses. However, augmented reality often only encompasses the visual representation of information, i.e., the augmenting of images or videos with additional computer-generated information or virtual objects using overlaying/superimposition.
- VR – virtual reality. A simulated experience of the real world and its physical characteristics in real time in a computer-generated, interactive virtual environment. Unlike AR, which focuses on enhancing the real world with visual representations of additional data, VR fully immerses the user in a virtual world.