please rotate your device
Status 2022

Internet applications didn’t exist yet

Hans Martin Adler, a programmer from the early days, reminisces about the beginnings of digitalization and the pre-internet era.

Go to interview


Show more Show less

The entire world in a state of emergency

Virus pandemics, long-running conflicts, economic turmoil, natural disasters and the like all remind us that no one is immune to crises. Some crises arise suddenly and unexpectedly, while others, such as climate change, develop over time. We humans have always sought to prepare for possible emergencies and to make life “crisis proof” – are we now, in the digital age, better prepared for such events than generations before us were?

Always informed

50 years ago, it was already possible to read a newspaper in the morning, watch TV news in the evening, and listen to the radio during the rest of the day. But there was no internet. Today, the internet gives us access to a vast range of news sources 24/7. Breaking news spreads like wildfire on social media and we have apps that warn us immediately of any disaster.

However, all kinds of storytellers are also active online, peddling their fairy­tales, distorting facts, and dishing up brazen lies – sometimes so skillfully that their deception becomes difficult to spot.

School at the kitchen table

50 years ago, month-long school closures would have meant month-long breaks in learning for most children. Today, teachers can teach and tutor their students online. Parents helping their children with their schoolwork can bone up online for that if they need to. And they can do so free of any constraints of place or time – and in tune with their own individual schedules and pace.

For online learning to be successful, however, children need the right equipment, a quiet environ­ment at home that is conducive to learning, and parents who can provide the necessary help. Children who don’t have an environ­ment of this kind run the risk of falling behind

Still up and running

Just a click away

50 years ago, when people needed new shoes, they had to go to a shoe store. And if the shoe store was closed, they couldn’t get any new shoes. Nowadays, virtually all products – including clothing, furniture, and food – can be ordered online for home delivery, and internet business is booming.

But what would happen if a disaster made our roads impassable? We can do without a pair of new shoes or even toilet paper, but we can survive only four days without water and only a maximum of three weeks without food. For a long time, many people had no need to stockpile supplies, but that is now changing again.

Shop local

People who like to have bustling downtown areas to stroll through should start thinking more carefully about what companies they order from online. This is something that consumers are becoming more aware of. In a survey conducted in Germany by the Bitkom digital association in 2020, three-quarters of all respondents indicated that, when shopping online, they are now increasingly seeking to support retailers located within their own regions.

Organizing help

When lakes and rivers flood, and entire communities are cut off from the outside world, responders need to act fast. During the major floods of 2021 in central Europe, volunteer helpers turned out in droves and worked tirelessly. They used social networks to organize themselves and provided support incredibly fast.

In a crisis, people need reliable information. Unfortunately, even in such extreme situations, some people try to mislead helpers by deliberately providing false information online.

Slowing climate change

Play a little

Sports and recreation are good for us, and they can help calm our fears and anxieties – both in general and during a crisis. Streaming services now offer an endless variety of entertainment, and e-readers can hold entire libraries of books. Thanks to online fitness trainers, your living room can double as a gym. You can also go online to visit museums and to watch theater performances and concerts.

MagentaMusik 360

Closeness in spite of distance

50 years ago, when you wanted to talk to friends and loved ones who happened to be someplace else, you called them on the phone. If you wanted to see them, you had to go to where they were. Today, video­confe­ren­cing apps on our smartphones and other devices keep us in constant visual touch with family and friends – even across large distances. We can cultivate friendships across entire continents, even with people we have never met in person. And when people get separated by wars or natural disasters, smartphones give them a way – often, the only way – to stay connected. Not surpris­ingly, people who are fleeing from trouble guard their smartphones as their most prized possessions.

There are so many kinds of personal closeness that the internet cannot replace. Online, you can’t hug people, share the euphoria at a concert, move on a crowded dance floor, cuddle with someone during a movie, comfort an anxious person, dry someone’s tears, or hold a dying person’s hand ...

We help wherever we can

We at Deutsche Telekom want everyone to be able to take part, even in a crisis – that is our promise and that is what we are committed to.

Stable network

Over the past few years, we have invested billions in our network expansion, and we continue to expand and upgrade our network. These investments have paid off – during the COVID-19 pandemic, for example – keeping our networks running reliably despite high levels of usage.

Ready at all times

© divirod App to warn against floods

We’re there for our employees

Cut off from the outside world

Having network access can be critically important during a crisis. In Germany alone, some 6,000 Deutsche Telekom service engineers make service visits to customers whenever necessary.

When the COVID-19 pandemic start­ed in 2020, we provided over 80,000 employees in Germany and 180,000 around the world with solutions for working from home – all within just a few days. Thanks to our compre­hen­sive hygiene concept, our service technicians were well protected – even during the pan­demic – as they connected services, laid cables, and erected cell towers. Up till the end of March 2022, we offered our staff in Germany the oppor­tunity to get vaccinated against corona­virus. And in 2021, employees in Romania were given a day off to get their COVID‑19 jabs.

In emergency situations, our Group Situation Center’s hotline is available 24/7 to answer any questions our employees in Germany might have. The Situation Center addresses all security-relevant incidents, and it coor­di­nates and monitors measures in response to acute threats. The national companies world­wide maintain similar points of contact for their staff.

Staying secure online

Targeting home offices

Protecting the climate protects against crises

Tim Höttges, Deutsche Telekom CEO “Whether individuals or companies, we all have a responsibility toward our environment.” Tim Höttges, Deutsche Telekom CEO

For over 50 years now, we have known that human-caused greenhouse emis­sions can threaten the world’s climate. Although news media have given this issue a great deal of atten­tion, a great many people are still doing – nothing. And yet each of us can help protect the climate. For example, we can commu­ni­cate online to organize lending and borrowing of household tools, such as power drills and lawn mowers. When people lend and borrow products, instead of owning them, fewer products need to be produced. That con­serves valuable raw materials and reduces CO₂ emis­sions from production and transport.

On the other hand, the internet also uses energy. According to a study by a think tank called “The Shift Project” from 2019, if it were a country, it would rank sixth internationally in terms of energy consumption. Consequently, network technology needs to be ener­gy efficient, and it needs to be pow­ered by climate-neutral renewable energies. We at Deutsche Telekom have set clear goals in this area. Al­ready, our customers are surfing on Deutsche Telekom’s green network – and that applies across the entire Group.

App to warn against floods

Extreme weather is becoming increasingly common, with serious consequences for people and the environment. It causes flooding, storms, and rising sea levels. Data and information are required to issue flood warnings in good time. Conventional methods for measuring water levels are often manual and can be inaccurate. They are also costly, require a great deal of maintenance, are susceptible to environ­men­tal influences, and produce measurements that are unreliable. In collaboration with divirod, Deutsche Telekom offers a digital solution for evaluating water-related data This fully automated solution monitors water levels in reservoirs and rivers. It also issues warnings in the event of high tides or accumulations of snow and ice on roofs and roads. It provides the responsible authorities with real-time data around the clock.