Ingo Hofacker


The digitizer – logistics industry leads the way

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By Ingo Hofacker, responsible for the Internet of Things business at Deutsche Telekom.

Ingo Hofacker

Ingo Hofacker

Better resource management, optimized processes, enhanced customer experiences and minimized costs: transport and logistics is far ahead of other industries and large parts of production when it comes to digitization.

The transportation and logistics industry benefits from digitization and is driving it forward. With the help of new digital technologies, the comparatively labor-intensive industry can coordinate its considerable organizational effort much more efficiently and improve customer and partner contacts. Digital technologies help to further develop business models and thus open up new customers and markets.

But the logistics sector faces many challenges: Worldwide, 30 percent of all deliveries arrive later than originally planned. In 2010, goods worth around 850 billion euros had to be destroyed due to an interrupted cold chain. It is usually known where and when a shipment was loaded and where it should be located. Unknown is why and where a delivery is delayed. Such data is often missing. However, it is precisely this information that would allow to react in real time. 

Strong with partners

No company can win the digitization race alone, which is why we at Deutsche Telekom combine our strengths with those of our partners: to offer our customers the most attractive solutions and services. We have developed a new solution with SAP – specifically for logistics – that works with IoT devices from Deutsche Telekom's partner Roambee. It not only monitors the positions of vehicle and trailer fleets, but also the movements and conditions of individual containers and packages of goods. All data – vibrations, temperatures and humidity – can be integrated into SAP applications and systems. „Logistics excellence will happen when enterprises connect digitally so that they can make reality perfect. This is where the combination of Deutsche Telekom and SAP makes complete sense!” says Nils Herzberg, SVP Global Head – Strategic Partnerships SAP. 

Another example is our cooperation with Fraunhofer Institute: Loss and delay are two of the biggest challenges for the logistics sector. Freight theft costs companies billions of euros every year. Together with Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics and the European Pallet Association (EPAL), we have developed a new generation of standardized pallets. In the future, companies will be able to control freight transport by water, rail and road even more effectively with an intelligent pallet.

The pallets have a low-cost, smart tracker. In Europe alone, for example, EPAL has more than 500 million pallets in circulation. During delivery, the tracker sends data on the location of the pallet. Goods can thus be located precisely. In the event of defined deviations in the transport flow, such as vibrations, the module can also trigger tracking of the pallet.

“We hold all the technology in our hands to make the Internet of Things come true,” says Michael ten Hompel, Managing Director of Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics in Dortmund. “However, it is not a question of having these technologies available but making them manageable and affordable. The symbiosis of research and practice in our Telekom Open IoT Lab is currently writing a success story with the low-cost tracker. We can put intelligence into load carriers for just a few euros. The pallet of the future can tell whether it is being moved. It knows exactly what is standing on it and will send out an alert if something is wrong. This changes everything and opens up completely new services and business models for logistics." 

All data at a glance

With a cross-industry marketplace for secure data exchange, the Data Intelligence Hub, we enable our customers to make better decisions in the event of a supply chain delay or interruption. Today, there are often multiple data silos side by side, making it difficult to accurately predict estimated time of arrival and improve logistics planning. With the Data Intelligence Hub, there is now a neutral, open and secure data market where logistics service providers can exchange their data anonymously. They can also find analysis applications here, for example for predicting an estimated time of arrival.

As a leading European network operator, we support our customers with a broad portfolio when it comes to digitizing their processes. Information and communication technologies are key components of digital transformation: In the networked universe of the Internet of Things, machines, devices and sensors can unfold their full potential thanks to optimal connectivity, cloud computing, big data and security and offer solutions for airports and freight ports, passenger traffic, rail and road freight traffic and the rapidly growing parcel services.

Take a look at Deutsche Telekom's IoT solutions for logistics at the 35th International Supply Chain Conference of the Bundesvereinigung Logistik (BVL) from October 17 to 19, 2018 in Berlin. You will find us in room Bellevue, booth B/05.

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Internet of Things

The Internet of things becomes part of our everyday life.