Michaela Kühn


Flexibility 4.0: Everything is connected - people, things, technologies

At Digital X, Deutsche Telekom presents the megatrend Connected Business. Maximilian Ahrens, responsible for T Digital at Deutsche Telekom, explains what's behind it.

Portrait photo of Maximilian Ahrens with logo of Digital X.

Maximilian Ahrens, Senior Vice President T Digital. © Deutsche Telekom

Mr. Ahrens, imagine you had to explain Connected Business on the plain and simple. Impossible?

Maximilian Ahrens: No, not at all. The principle is as simple as it is compelling. Connected Business means, above all, that everything in everyday business communicates with each other: Departments, people and machines. Ideally, this happens in real time. Because in the modern business world, the flow of information never stops. We can therefore think of Connected Business as a continuation of the Internet of Things (IoT). In the future, we will not only connect machines with each other, but also different technologies and systems. And software-defined systems will be combined with artificial intelligence (AI), for example. This will enable companies to work more economically and flexibly. Many things then run faster as a result of this automation. For example, when a company equips the shelves in its warehouses with sensors. Thanks to contactless data exchange with RFID and AI, its intelligent warehouse system can independently control logistics processes in advance. 

Okay, principle understood. But why is this a megatrend? 

Maximilian Ahrens: Because companies today need to interact more efficiently with other companies, with platforms or ecosystems. They need leaner processes. And want to improve their relationships with customers and partners. It meets these needs - for example, with the automated exchange of data. Unfortunately, it also provides points of attack for cybercriminals. That's why we must always think of Connected Business in conjunction with the issue of security, in order to protect networked systems from unauthorized access. In other words, Connected Business also increases the demands placed on corporate networks.

Does this make networking a strategic tool? 

Maximilian Ahrens: Absolutely. Because connectivity must keep pace with every business development and make companies more flexible and robust in times of crisis. What am I thinking about? Employees are working on joint projects at different locations. Their cloud environment for this is public, private or a combination of both. Enterprises are bringing more and more devices onto the Internet of Things. At the same time, business is getting faster, and companies need to be able to respond to the changes promptly. For example, when they want to integrate new locations into their network. Another example is to introduce an additional set of rules for legally compliant behavior for all employees and to roll out the associated regulations. 

And what does that mean for enterprise networks themselves?

Maximilian Ahrens: Modern enterprise networks must be software-defined, i.e., their control must be decoupled from the hardware. This is the only way they can be quickly adapted to new requirements. That's why our customers are increasingly opting for SD-WAN. 

The choice of adequate security solutions for corporate networks, especially in times of home office and cloud use, is essential. Secure Access Service Edge, abbreviated SASE, is a concept and architecture strategy in the field of network security and architecture. It was developed to meet these requirements of the increasingly networked and digital business world. 

The Tank & Rast Group, the leading service provider on German highways, is already benefiting from this high-speed connectivity and is digitizing its business areas on this basis. Our customer uses the fiber optic connection for its digital checkout as well as merchandise management systems. Online orders via the terminals are now also moving at a faster pace.

Visit us at Digital X 2023.
Digital X will return to Cologne on September 20 and 21, 2023. With stages, marketplaces, brand houses and top-class speakers, Cologne's city center will once again become a world exhibition of digitalization in 2023. Megatrends of the future and digital solutions will be brought to life - in the areas of the future of work, digitization of companies, security and sustainability, among others. Digital X is Europe's largest cross-industry digitization initiative. Organized by Deutsche Telekom, it involves more than 300 national and international partners. For more details, visit

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