Innovations can be produced 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 further built on our activities in the prior year to evolve our innovation priorities in close coordination with the operating segments.
- Connectivity: We are developing 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 television, and value-added applications such as child protection functions, home security, predictive maintenance, and troubleshooting. This new router generation is based on a globally scalable reference system (Reference Design Kit, RDK), which we are constantly fine-tuning together with other leading telecommunications providers. Rollout began in Austria and Poland in the reporting year, and we aim to bring the new router generation to all markets in Europe by 2024. A core element of connectivity management is the home-network check software feature, which is available both in service apps in Germany such as MeinMagenta and via the TV interface, and which provides for new, context-based customer interaction to optimize service and troubleshoot problems in home networks.
- Smart home: We continue to cloudify and refine our smart home offerings, with the aim of making the ecosystem future-proof. A key component of this is the cloud-native MagentaZuhause app, which has been available to download as a full version since February 2022. Users can connect all of their smart home devices with the app and enable personalized use by each member of the household, as well as access and administer services including Wi-Fi.
- Service orchestration in the connected home: We want to improve the customer experience at home by ensuring the easy, seamless, uniform, uncomplicated interaction of all Deutsche Telekom’s services and devices, and by enabling services from selected partners. To link up our different services we are relying on the HomeOS orchestration platform we have developed in-house. The MagentaZuhause app is the first customer touchpoint to use the HomeOS platform. It combines TV, smart home, router management, and MagentaCloud functions, with more features being added regularly. The goal is to continue integrating these functions into the MagentaTV menu ever more seamlessly. MagentaZuhause was available in over 4 million German households as of the end of 2022.
- Magenta Voice: 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. To achieve this, we are constantly evolving our voice platform, winning over new partners, and integrating voice control into additional products and services such as television and the MeinMagenta and MagentaZuhause (SmartHome) apps, with the aim of offering our customers a comprehensive convergent application space. Ongoing functionality enhancements have resulted in rising customer usage and satisfaction levels. In parallel, we continue to work towards realizing B2B solutions, such as a scheduling assistant for business customers.
- AI One Conversation: By integrating artificial intelligence, we will ensure that our products and services remain competitive into the future. The focus of our activities in the reporting year continued to be on scaling up our AI-based Frag Magenta digital assistants for chat and telephone. The aim of these digital assistants is to further personalize all customer interactions across all points of contact. In November 2022, German computer magazine Computer Bild and market statistics company Statista named our Frag Magenta chatbot the best German chatbot for 2022. We also continue 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.
- Network differentiation: In this innovation program, we are working on developments to disaggregate, cloudify, and automate our network production making increased use of data and artificial intelligence. This new approach aims to both improve the customer experience considerably and increase flexibility and scalability, while simultaneously lowering costs. We will achieve this with software solutions for automated error detection, analysis, and correction based on machine learning, among other solutions. Together with other leading network operators as part of the O-RAN Alliance, we are working towards defining a global standard for an open, intelligent, virtualized, and interoperable radio access network. At the i14y lab in Berlin, which is operated by a consortium of leading European telcos within the open space hosted by Deutsche Telekom, start-ups, suppliers, operators, and system integrators test and validate the integration of new, disaggregated components to safeguard the interoperability of individual components and modules in a growing ecosystem. This enables us to further expand our multi-vendor strategy to increasingly reduce our dependence on individual vendors and thus safeguard our technology leadership. The innovative approach to network production unlocks new opportunities to directly monetize the network, for instance, via network application programming interfaces (APIs). To this end, under the umbrella of the Linux Foundation and the GSMA, Deutsche Telekom collaborated with other network operators, leading manufacturers, cloud providers, and app developers to launch CAMARA – the Telco Global API Alliance initiative in February 2022. CAMARA’s goal is to identify the needs of the developer community and, on this basis, to specify and implement open, globally standardized APIs to enable simple, uniform, codable access to network functionalities across all telecommunication providers.
- Standalone 5G: Up to now, Deutsche Telekom has used 5G non-standalone (5G NSA) in which the existing 4G core network continues to provide the technical backbone. The 5G radio access network is now being integrated with the new 5G core network to create 5G standalone (5G SA). This core network is the source of crucial innovations and benefits, because it removes the need for terminal devices to connect to the 4G and 5G networks in parallel. The 5G core network is based on a cloud platform with virtualized core network functions, which will enable new applications such as network slicing. Network slices are discrete logical networks with individual, application-specific characteristics such as bandwidth, latency, or security, which are created on the same shared physical infrastructure. They allow applications always to be provided with the appropriate (virtual) network. Network slices could therefore be used, for example, for applications where bandwidth and latency are critical, such as augmented/virtual reality; for communication among authorities where security is critical; or for secure, high-availability applications for business customers. For instance, in collaboration with BMW Group, Valeo, Ericsson, and Qualcomm Technologies, we presented a world-first demonstration of automated driving applications supported by network slicing with controlled network features for Quality of Service (QoS). In trials, the partners explored how network slicing with different QoS features supports automotive use case scenarios.
- Data & analytics: This is an innovation area in which we are driving the implementation of Group-wide principles and tools for data processing and analytics. Our uniform data model will enhance and accelerate our data analysis and enable us to easily transpose successful applications to new markets and countries using cloud-based deployment architecture. As the privacy and integrity of our customers’ data is our top priority, customer and network data remain with the respective national companies . We have also set in motion a comprehensive data transformation program based partially on a cloud architecture and the principle of data democratization.
- Sustainable Telco: Our newest innovation area is devoted to making the telecommunications industry more sustainable. With a view to safeguarding long-term access to affordable green energy, our main focus is on energy efficiency and energy resilience. This includes location-based usage of regenerative energy with dynamic energy storage management for load balancing, as well as AI-powered, load-dependent energy-saving mechanisms. In the reporting year, we successfully delivered the proof of concept required for energy efficiency management in the mobile network of one of our national companies, and in several other national companies have begun piloting the implementation of partially self-sufficient energy supply. We also put the first model sites with photovoltaic systems, wind power, and in some cases, fuel cell technology into operation.