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Klaus vom Hofe

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Measuring for what it’s worth

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5G as a motor for industry, for networked cars and games - a few of the highlights of the Mobile World Congress. My secret stars: sensors.

This "Low Cost Tracker" from Deutsche Telekom is currently still transmitting as a prototype.

This "Low Cost Tracker" from Deutsche Telekom is currently still transmitting as a prototype.

What will define the future network? Important features: It reacts very quickly because it has computing power for huge amounts of data exactly where they are needed - close to the customer and not in remote data centers. In addition, there is a particularly wide mobile data highway. And "Bam!” - new ideas come true. The smart traffic light control, depending on the traffic flow, as well as breathtaking Augmented Reality games with several players are just two of an infinite number of ideas for applications that then work in "real time". Just as reliably, the intelligent network transports regular messages from sensors deep in building basements from A to B. An all-rounder network.

Sensors, or anything that makes networking possible, are my secret stars at the fair. None of this would work without them. Experts expect billions of newly networked devices every year. On the Internet of Things for Logistics, for example.  

Josephin Ivana Karner and Lars Vorbeck

At the Mobile World Congress, Josephine Ioana Karner and Lars Vorbeck present Deutsche Telekom's portfolio for smart logistics.

At the fair I meet Josephine Ioana Karner und Lars Vorbeck, who show me their sensors for logistics. For example, for pallets: So-called low-cost trackers determine positions as well as movement, shock effects and temperature progression - depending on what a corporate customer wants. A waterproof sensor registers the shocks, position, tilt angle, acceleration and temperature. The pallet thus gives an automatic signal when something deviates, i.e. when it is shaken or gets warmer or colder. It automatically transmits its current data to a special portal. 

What can be measured is measured

In short: Not only is everything networked with each other. What can be measured is also measured. The small devices in the pallets, containers and receptacles will in future transfer billions of status data. In addition, they can localize themselves and communicate with each other. 

All this is no longer brand new. But at the Mobile World Congress, I can feel how it is asserting itself powerfully. Not only in the buzzwords at the stands - for example as a robot with which Infineon draws attention to the recognition of the surfaces of floors at its stand.

I remember following Twitter @TreeWatchFBW. It's a tree, a pine. It regularly informs me about its water balance. I'm not really interested in it. But the idea behind it is crazy for me - and gives an idea of what awaits us in the future.  

This ultimately leads me to the enormous amounts of data that the sensors collect. Data is the fuel for artificial intelligence applications - so a lot is waiting for us there, too. 

I hope that all this will always be in the right hands. It's encouraging to see that digital ethics are being discussed eagerly, for example in a round with our Chief Compliance Officer Manuela Mackert at the Deutsche Telekom booth. She demands that European companies work closely together for overarching ethical principles in the use of artificial intelligence. 

I am glad that this is already taking up a lot of space today.

 tracking module

The gold nuggets in the supply chain: a tracker that makes shipping pallets smart

Deutsche Telekom, the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics (Fraunhofer IML, for short) and the European Pallet Association (EPAL) have put the world’s first 500 intelligent pallets into real-life operation.

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