Convenience, security, efficiency: The Internet of Things (IoT) is accompanying people in their daily lives more and more. Smaller and smaller embedded computers measure, regulate, control, navigate, calculate, research, document, and communicate for us.
The market researchers at IDC estimate that in 2020 around 30 billion "things" worldwide – such as machines, cars, washing machines and fridges – will be connected via the Internet. In Germany alone, there will allegedly be six connected devices per inhabitant in 2017. Parallel to this development, a genuine explosion in data volumes is taking place: the data volume on the Internet doubles every two years. By 2020, mobile data traffic will be 150 times the size it was in 2010.
People need intelligent things...
A good example is vehicle electronics, which signal to the driver that he has to stop if the engine is overheating. However, an automated, permanent exchange of this data between "the things," such as vehicle and workshop, does not take place. The person has to become active and trigger the exchange of information. It is often too late for an adjustment to the system – the engine has already been damaged by the excessive heat.
The central issue is therefore the automated data exchange between devices without human involvement, but with the person's previous agreement. So-called machine-to-machine (M2M) communication helps real "things" to access information on their current physical condition (for example "engine too hot") via sensors and pass this message on in the network for further processing. As our example shows, permanent control of technical systems is not possible without constant exchange of data. If the human being has agreed the procedure in advance, he no longer has to trigger communication between the devices. Then everything runs automatically: The respective device sends its current data independently, i.e., at regular intervals or whenever required.
...and intelligent networks
But the Internet of Things includes more than just transporting this data on the Internet. It involves the consistent networking of as many things as possible with one another, and thus a lot of data that reveals its benefit for people's daily lives only through this intelligent connection. The networks not only have to be able to accept this great volume of information. They must at the same time ensure a high degree of data security and sensible handling of the data acquired. All this is not imaginable without powerful, smart networks.
…with high data protection standards
The digital world of things also requires security solutions, transparency, and high data protection standards, since data is constantly being recorded, stored, and exchanged between devices. Here the preservation of sovereignty over the personality or customer profile is a crucial matter for data protection, and anonymization and pseudonymization in data analysis are a basic prerequisite for the trustworthy handling of data.
...and partner for digitization
For Deutsche Telekom customers, the increasing digitization of daily life through smart networks and intelligent "devices" means an increase in convenience and performance. More and more companies are also recognizing the opportunities arising from networking and wish to drive their digital business models with partners. For the digitization and networking of all areas, Deutsche Telekom offers its customers clouds and tailor-made platforms in highly secure data centers, the appropriate infrastructure in line with German data protection standards. This is an optimal basis for intelligent networking, inter alia in the transport field, in telematics and fleet management, in monitoring, and with security services, in provision and logistics, with automatic vending machines and electronic payment systems, and in industrial production (Industry 4.0).
Digitization is a 'must'
The large companies have already positioned themselves in terms of staffing and finance to take advantage of the potential of digitization. Now small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are following their example: However, up to now only around 20 percent of SMEs have digitized their processes, though in five years this figure is expected to be 80 percent. For a long time now, the Internet of Things has no longer been the music of the future, and digitization of all production and business processes is an existential must for every company. According to a study by BITKOM and the Fraunhofer IAO, the key branches of German industry can expect an additional value creation potential of 78 billion euros through digitization by 2025. This corresponds to an average annual growth of 1.7 percent.
New business models
Experts consider that SMEs in particular will have good opportunities through digitization to increase their competitiveness and defend their position against their competitors. There is therefore no alternative to the digitization of the production processes. This is the only way that enables a look at the complete process and supply chain in real time and makes the customer structure more transparent. Thus digitization becomes a win-win situation. Customers enjoy a distinctly optimized service and companies gain attractive business models.