“We won’t stop until everyone is connected” – strengthening the network of our society is etched deep into Deutsche Telekom’s sense of purpose. Connecting doesn’t just foster closeness and human interaction; The secure sharing of data between companies in “industry clouds” makes the economy stronger and more resilient.
Unexpected shocks can expose fragility – systemic vulnerabilities we didn’t know existed. Discussions on strategic autonomy and more robust supply-chains had already been sparked by geopolitical uncertainty. But it was the pandemic which finally brought matters to a head. Faced with social-distancing rules, organizations quickly needed to adapt their supply chains and operations to the new reality. In short, they needed to become more resistant to shocks – more resilient.
This sudden litmus test demonstrated how the cloud can reenforce firms’ economic resilience. Companies running operations in the cloud could instantly implement remote-access solutions for their staff. Employees working from the safety of their homes were able to access company servers as normal. Office functions could continue largely uninterrupted.
Leveraging the data of a whole industry
Organizations are moving on from last year’s shocks, but serious challenges persist. A global container-shipping crisis and soaring energy prices mean resilience remains a priority. Firms see potential to bolster their resilience by leveraging data from across industry, but sharing data in this way requires a high level of trust. This is where industry clouds come in – sector-specific technical and regulatory frameworks for handling data. By achieving a high level of standardization and transparency, firms are enabled to share their data securely, between companies and along the supply chain. This offers up a range of possibilities.
Product development and prototyping can mean high up-front expenses for firms. This leaves them highly exposed to the risk of failure. With large amounts of data input from different players within an industry, companies can create sophisticated, realistic Digital Twins – digital representations of a factory or production process. This development “sandbox” allows firms the freedom to develop and reiterate their ideas in the digital world – ecologically and at a fraction of the cost.
Industry cloud solutions can also protect against factory downtime. By sharing standardized data from sensors across entire production networks, firms can carry out predictive maintenance and best assess when machines need engineers’ attention. And by sharing data about production abnormalities in real time, data access along an entire supply chain can quickly identify causes and prevent errors before they occur. Time in which production comes to a halt represents lost income. Firms can make themselves resilient against these outages.
Data sharing along entire supply chains can also protect firms against risks when it comes to recalls. This is an issue which can cause great financial and reputational damage to manufacturers, not least in the automotive industry. If dealerships and repair workshops are integrated into information chains, alongside manufacturers and parts suppliers, customers can be informed about service and repair measures before faults even occur.
An automotive cloud
Deutsche Telekom is a founding member of Catena-X – an open ecosystem of partners from across the automotive industry. The network stands for boosting innovation through open, continuous data exchange. It therefore offers members a trustworthy and secure infrastructure to connect their data, assets, business processes and applications. This is designed to boost trust and therefore collaboration – allowing businesses to generate the full value from their data and protect themselves from shocks.
Catena-X is one of the first “data-spaces” to be designed according to Gaia-X standards. Creating a European framework for data means setting standards for data according to European values, reducing technological dependencies and establishing European data sovereignty. And this provides a resilience of its own – controlling data value-chains means making business and society more resilient to geopolitical upheaval.