Barrier-free products & services.
State-of-the-art communications devices are important tools in our everyday lives. To make it easier for people with age-related or physical limitations to use new media, we develop products and services that meet their needs and continuously work to further improve user friendliness. Throughout the Group, Telekom also offers various subsidized rates to provide low-income customers and people with disabilities with cost-efficient phone and data rate plans. In line with our CR strategy, we want to give as many people as possible the chance to participate in the information society and to use the opportunities it offers.
Telekom addresses the needs of older people in particular with numerous innovative products and services. We are continually expanding our range of products in this area. In 2012, for example, we introduced the Sinus A 806 cordless phone with a particularly large display and keys that is compatible with hearing aids. We launched two innovative emergency call services to the market as well:
We introduced our smart home emergency call solution at German Senior Citizens' Day in Hamburg in May 2012. The solution comes with software that uses sensors to recognize an emergency situation caused by the person falling and automatically contacts the emergency call center. The center can talk to the person via hands-free equipment while a graphically modified image provides them with a picture of the situation. Deutsche Telekom also launched a mobile emergency call service to market in 2012 in collaboration with the German Red Cross and Swiss watchmaker, Limmex. The solution is comprised of a wristwatch with an integrated cell-phone function that allows the wearer to call up to ten stored emergency numbers one after the other.
Another project focuses on improving home care for severely ill patients. A network comprised of palliative practitioners, hospital physicians and nursing staff etc. in the German Lahn-Dill district will soon be able to monitor patient care electronically. This will help them improve care and avoid unnecessary hospital admissions. The actual benefit of this offer is currently being scientifically evaluated within the scope of a dissertation.
SmartSenior—Smart living for seniors.
Being able to live in their own home for as long as possible is a concern for a growing number of older people, and Telekom's central research and innovation area, Telekom Innovation Laboratories, is developing SmartSenior solutions to help make this a reality within the scope of a joint project. Under the coordination of Telekom Innovation Laboratories, 28 partners from the world of research and industry are looking into how smart living environments can help seniors within the scope of the research project, which is being sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research. The project focuses on solutions for increased security and comfort both at home and on the go. SmartSenior relies on an integrated overall concept with standardized, intuitive user interfaces that intelligently connects different technologies, from television and smartphone to home electronics and cars. In addition to developing cooperative and integrated business models, Telekom Innovation Laboratories is focusing on developing an innovative home gateway that provides access to previously separate, age-appropriate assistance systems for a healthy, independent life (AAL services) via one standardized gateway and makes those services easier to use for older people. A field test was launched in early May 2012 in around 30 apartments in Potsdam. The largest German AAL project laid the foundation for products and services designed specifically for older people that can now be advanced for a broad market launch. The project can serve as a role model for joint projects in other areas as well.
Deutsche Telekom works to create equal opportunity in telecommunications under the motto "Connect the unconnected". That includes our services for people with hearing impairments. We set up a hotline especially for this target group in 2003 that is becoming increasingly popular. Users can send inquiries to trained employees via e-mail. The employee either answers the question directly or lets the person know how to contact them via video telephony or webcam. Up to 60 people currently call the hotline every day to ask about special rates for the deaf or about special media receivers for television programs with subtitles. The hotline in Bremen is run by two deaf Telekom employees. They are available at the Telekom Shop in the Bremen Weserpark center once a month as well. In addition, in the Telekom shops in Landsberg am Lech and Munich, advisory services for deaf customers are provided every Wednesday and Thursday respectively. We are planning to expand this offer to other cities as well.
Slovak Telekom now offers a Nokia C5 mobile phone equipped with a special application for the blind and visually impaired for the price of a standard phone. This app talks to customers to guide them through the menu and magnifies the screen. The company also sells a landline phone with a larger display, an enlarged keypad, larger buttons and a function that increases the voice and ring tone volume—again for the price of a standard phone.
Makedonski Telekom has introduced a social tariff model for vulnerable people on welfare. For example, social welfare beneficiaries who only need voice services can now obtain a free prepaid fixed phone line. Moreover, both T-Home and T-Mobile in Macedonia have special offers for elderly people and individuals with special needs.
In Montenegro Deutsche Telekom's subsidiary, Crnogorski Telekom, also offers a special discount for disadvantaged people (25 percent for mobile Internet users and 20 percent for ADSL). Over 300 customers made use of the discount during the reporting period.