Klaus vom Hofe


Two 5G premieres and lots of innovations

Deutsche Telekom Board Member Claudia Nemat provided examples of new human-centered technology at the Telekom Tech Grounds. From a simpler Internet of Things to video meetings where customers watch TV together with their loved ones far away.

Excitement at the virtual Telekom Tech Grounds. Claudia Nemat, Board member for Technology & Innovation, had two 5G premieres in her quiver: one global and one European. The world premiere is about so-called "slicing" in the network. "Slicing" in the network? What sounds very technical at first will be a great experience for tomorrow's customers: They can add whatever they need in terms of availability, data throughput or low latency. And they are guaranteed to get it - provided by the respective "slice" in the Deutsche Telekom network. For online gaming fans, for example, this means fast responses, no jerks, and plenty of excitement and fun. 

Premiere number 2: O-RAN-Town in Neubrandenburg is switched on. An important milestone on the way to future-oriented network design and the corresponding production. What is O-RAN or Open RAN? In brief: RAN (Radio Access Network) is the access network - simplified: the antenna sites in the mobile communications network. Until now, Deutsche Telekom received the hardware and software for this "as a package" from a few manufacturers. Everything had to come from a single source. That's not very flexible, and it's also expensive. Now the telecommunications industry, and Deutsche Telekom in the lead, is separating hardware and software: a clear path for inexpensive standard hardware and open interfaces, so that software solutions for network operation can be used by various partners.

"O-RAN Town" will now provide 4G and 5G services based on Open RAN at up to 25 locations. Like an orchestra, all partners are playing together, rehearsing, researching and gaining experience with the new approach. This includes Europe's first integration of so-called Massive MIMO radio units (mMIMO, MIMO = multiple input, multiple output): not one, but numerous small antennas per transmission unit, or "5G in all its glory," as Claudia Nemat described it. 

What else is new? Claudia Nemat introduced the four themed worlds of the event, following the motto: "Explore human-centered technology".

1. Innovations for business customers: Delivering practical solutions

Campus networks provide industry with what they need for their production: guaranteed low network delay, highest availability and security. What's new is that other industries, such as healthcare, are increasingly benefiting from this. The University Hospital in Bonn, for example. And: business customers wanted both 5G and Wifi 6, as Nemat explained. Telekom is now integrating both. 

And the Internet of Things (IoT) is also being simplified. Due to a lack of standardized interfaces, it was previously complex for companies to embed IoT devices for themselves. Telekom is now creating momentum with its partners 1NCE and AWS. With their "Zero-Touch Service," everything is simple, fast, automated.

Nemat highlighted the Corona Warn App, which Deutsche Telekom developed with SAP in just a few months. According to the RKI, it has been downloaded 28 million times so far. 475,000 positive tests were entered and millions of warnings were issued. The app has successfully broken as many chains of infection as all the public health departments in Germany combined. 

Another Deutsche Telekom innovation for the healthcare sector: the Enterprise Protection System. This is a small security device that can be worn. Deutsche Telekom developed it together with KINEXON, the University of Augsburg, the RKI and Fraunhofer. It is suitable for environments where Bluetooth, as used by the Corona warning app, does not work or is not allowed to be used. The device transmits encounters as soon as it is back in its charging station. A pilot with it is currently running at the professional ice hockey league and the city of Mönchengladbach. 

2. Innovations for the home - intuitive operation

According to Nemat, customers want the same good connection everywhere online, in the office, on the road and at home. But things often look different at home: The WLAN is not working properly, and the network experience is not optimal. This is often due to unsuitable devices, incorrectly selected router locations or interfering radio signals from the neighborhood. This is where a new Router Operating System (OS) comes in. This will provide Telekom with connectivity data in real time. Connections can thus be improved, even automatically and predictively. Router OS supports automatic device setup. The same applies to switching to free channels to avoid interference with neighboring WLAN networks. New services can also be rolled out quickly. According to Claudia Nemat, 75 percent of customers in Europe should benefit from this by 2024.

Another innovation for the home: Home OS. "Our cloud-based solution connects different services and devices like glue," said Claudia Nemat. This will enable many seamless, intuitive applications in the future: for example, the QR code for the guest WLAN on the TV set. In addition, incoming calls will be displayed there. Furthermore, there are automatic notifications on the cell phone when family members come home. Nemat demonstrated an innovation called "Magenta Together" with her colleague on the Board of Management, Dominique Leroy. They chatted via video on their TVs and then enjoyed a performance by jazz musician Daniel Hall together - "co-watching" at its best.

3. In the spotlight: technology innovations

Important news besides the premieres: Telekom is making progress with the automation of its networks. Example: a new software-based approach in the cloud on the so-called "NIMS platform" for voice services. The advantages: Three months instead of 18 from idea to deployment of new functions. Two days instead of 90 to roll out new software updates across the network. Bug fixes within one day. The fully automated voice platform, which already has one million customers, is an impressive example of how this works. Nemat added that Deutsche Telekom also wants to shape the 6G evolution. The next communications standard will

  • connect all people and things, everywhere.
  • further underpin data privacy, trust and security.
  • be C02-neutral.

4. Toward CO2 neutrality and a circular economy.

Deutsche Telekom's emissions are to be climate-neutral by 2025, and the entire value chain by 2040 at the latest. To achieve the latter, the company is anchoring higher-priority emissions targets in contracts with partners. At the same time, the "streaming appetite" of us humans and devices connected in the network is increasing. This needs to be balanced, as the bottom line energy consumption should remain the same. "Our goal is therefore; to double the energy efficiency of the networks by 2024," says Nemat. Shutting down old systems should contribute to this, as should intelligently controlled mobile radio stations and solar and wind energy generation directly at the sites. In addition, waste avoidance and recycling would come into play.

 "Our technology has a positive effect"

According to Nemat, the networks are the basis of all Deutsche Telekom innovations. At the Telekom Tech Grounds, several thousand participants listened to the CEO's commitment to human-centered technology and her stance for a world worth living in tomorrow. Crises showed what role technology plays for us. For example, to stay connected with our loved ones at a distance. Or to pave the way to a climate-neutral future, for example through video conferencing instead of travel, the connected home, and smart power grids that kept energy consumption in check. "Our technology has a positive effect - I'm convinced of that," says Nemat.

You can access the Magenta Key Note and other Telekom Tech Grounds sessions in English here (registration required).