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A commentary: The existential question - in with the new?

A commentary: The existential question - in with the new?

Deutsche Telekom & OTTO in the digital (r)evolution

The masters and winners of digitalisation are the Facebooks, the Googles and so on. In other words, all those still relatively new American companies from Silicon Valley. That’s what a lot of people believe. But not me.

There’s no doubt that these companies are enormously successful and have developed remarkably. But does this necessarily mean the die is cast and the game is up?

Again, this question receives a decisive ‘No’ from me. I believe that even we, a long-established company with a history going back more than ten years, have a good chance of holding our own against the competition. Why do I believe this? Because we not only offer our customers a good product, but also stand for good old-fashioned values such as trust and security.

In my view, these values are the key to how companies such as Telekom, OTTO and others can survive in the digital (r)evolution. Customers appreciate knowing, for example, that somebody is handling their data carefully, or that the purposes for which their data is used are presented transparently. These are plus points that should not be underestimated.

What’s more, these days we are not nearly as outdated as many people might think. Did you know, for example, that we are conducting research into smart textiles, such as smart doormats? These recognise who is entering or leaving the house and, depending on the answer, switches the WiFi on or off. It can also display information if so desired, an example of which might be ‘Jonas has just come home from school’. The intelligent reading armchair works in much the same way. When I sit down to read my good old-fashioned book, the light switches on automatically.

The expert on every aspect of Smart Homes - OTTO’s very own Jörg Heinemann

Granted, this particular idea is still a dream for the future. But many other options for boosting the connectivity of your home are already available. The word of the moment is Smart Home. In a Smart Home, security is taken care of by technology, roller shutters can be raised or lowered automatically and the heating and lighting can be controlled remotely.

The fundamental idea behind all this is connectivity. With our industrial companies, mid-sized sector and research environment here in Germany, we have access to excellent opportunities as far as connectivity is concerned.

What am I thinking of here? There is, for example, the collaboration between T-Systems and the lift and escalator manufacturer Kone. Sensors in the lifts detect faults at an early stage and report them. As a result, the maintenance team can repair the lift in a targeted manner with the correct replacement part already to hand before a serious incident occurs.

Just as useful is the app which displays the nearest available parking space, and through which I can also pay immediately. It is called ‘Park and Joy’, is already operational in Hamburg and will soon be introduced in Bonn, Moers, Dortmund, Duisburg and Darmstadt.

Here’s what I think - digitalisation is everywhere. The basic requirement for it to function properly is networks. Ultimately they must be able to cope with ever increasing bandwidths, because otherwise nothing will work at all. As you can see, this evolution is still far from finished. The digital future has only just begun.

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