When I used to think about innovation and Israel, cyber security was the first thing that came to mind. However, I've learned that the small country with some eight and a half million people has much more to offer when it comes to innovative solutions and products. And I'm always impressed by the frankness and creativity of the Israelis, and the way they always get up again and push forward when things may have been less than successful.
Through my employer, Telekom, I've been following the 'innovations made in Israel' since a long time.
Deutsche Telekom's activities in Israel began with a cooperative initiative involving Telekom Innovation Laboratories in Berlin and Ben Gurion University (BGU) in Beer Sheba in 2006. The project was focused on research in the areas of cyber security and big data.
Israel is much more than just cyber security. That's certainly why Apple opened its first research center outside the USA in Tel Aviv. With more than 6,000 start-ups, Israel is ranked No. 2 worldwide – just behind Silicon Valley – when it comes to innovation and start-up businesses.
These start-ups are driving developments in many areas, such as big data, health, autonomous driving, robotics, and artificial intelligence. If you are looking for innovative ideas, or want to know about the very latest technology developments, Israel is the place to be.
And that's why Israel has so many visitors wanting to gain insights in person and on the spot! Deutsche Telekom colleagues are always welcome guests in Israel.
President Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany traveled to Israel in May of this year to meet not only government officials, but also the country's "regular citizens". Our colleague Amit Keren, the Managing Director of Telekom in Israel, had the honor to join an informal meeting with the president to talk about start-ups, NBIoT (NarrowBand IoT) and the differences between Germany and Israel. He was the sole corporate representative in the group.
In October Brigitte Zypries, Germany's Federal Minister for Economics and Energy, also visited Israel. "In terms of the digital transformation of our economy, Israeli start-ups have technological innovations that can really support many enterprises in Germany, for instance in the area of IT security," says Zypries.
She is shown here at the Crowd Working Spaces in Tel Aviv. Our colleague Amit Keren also was invited as a guest to this event:
Of course, in addition to political figures, a lot of Deutsche Telekom colleagues are interested in developments taking place in Israel. For example, Telekom CEO Tim Höttges and his top executives visited the country during the summer. Their mission: to learn about Israel, its culture and the mind-set of its people. "Here you can experience openness, decisiveness, entrepreneurship and action. All of this is a perfect match for the culture we want to promote at Deutsche Telekom: being innovative, trying things out and making them a reality, to be an outstanding leader, to ensure the success of our business, while also being happy and satisfied on a personal level," says Tim Höttges about the purpose of his visit.
I have the pleasure of traveling to Israel with journalists and showing them why Deutsche Telekom is so committed to business here and what makes Israel so special. People here are friendly and open – they really want to accomplish something. This is a unique mix which never ceases to fascinate and inspire me.
In addition to these mostly cultural aspects, Deutsche Telekom is also interested in finding products for its customers. Here are some examples:
- Through a partnership with Check Point, the world's largest provider of security solutions, consumers and business customers can safeguard their mobile devices. And solutions from CyberX and Radiflow help business customers protect their infrastructures.
- A start-up known as RadGreen has developed a system that constantly measures more than 17 air pollutants while also monitoring radiation and noise in the surrounding environment. This solution is part of the "City of the future" demo exhibit at the Telekom Design Gallery in Bonn; OTE, the Deutsche Telekom subsidiary in Greece, has deployed the solution in the city of Patras.
- Vayyar is one of the winning companies in the global Go Ignite Program, a joint initiative launched by Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica and Singtel, to support start-ups in the IoT sector. Vayyar has developed 3D image sensors. Originally intended for the detection of breast cancer, these sensors are also suited for smart home solutions, food safety monitoring applications and in-wall imaging (creation of a 3D image of whatever is behind a wall and cannot be seen directly).
These innovative projects will undoubted be followed by many more in the future. I'm looking forward to them!