Deutsche Telekom and the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics (Fraunhofer IML), based in Dortmund, have founded the "Telekom Open IoT Labs". At the new facility, up to six scientists from Fraunhofer IML, and three IoT experts from Deutsche Telekom, will work together to develop and test Internet of Things (IoT) solutions and bring them to market maturity. The collaboration is aimed at optimizing processes in the manufacturing, logistics and aviation sectors. The Labs will be open to other companies interested in collaborating with Deutsche Telekom and Fraunhofer to develop application-specific IoT prototypes. Telekom Open IoT Labs will thus add an industrial-IoT component to Deutsche Telekom's existing network of R&D facilities.
Prototypes for holistic IoT solutions
In a first step, the two partners will work jointly with interested companies to identify requirements for IoT solutions. They will then design and create relevant applications, developing and producing hardware, software and connectivity prototypes. Efforts will be concentrated on producing solutions that can later be launched for mass-market use. In work carried out to date in cooperation with Würth Industrie Service, for example, a prototype of a service button for the area of C-parts management was developed. This service button will optimize the reordering process for "C parts" such as screws, nuts and washers by applying narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) technology.
Paving the way with NB-IoT
Initially, the Deutsche Telekom / Fraunhofer team plans to concentrate on solutions based on NB-IoT radio technology. That technology is eminently suited for IoT applications in logistics, for example. The logistics sector has been digitalizing especially rapidly, because its companies have numerous business processes for which IoT solutions can provide significant added value in the short term. Logistics companies are using digital technologies to enhance transparency in their supply chains, as well as precision and efficiency in control of ship, rail and truck transports, and of their internal material flows.
Deutsche Telekom is already offering NB-IoT commercially throughout all of Germany. The Group also has a complete-coverage NB-IoT network in place in the Netherlands. In other European markets, such as Austria, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, Deutsche Telekom is expanding the existing coverage to additional cities.