Machines and products are becoming increasingly intelligent. Cars can communicate with repair shops, containers with logistics service providers. The technologies that make these developments possible are bundled under the term Internet of Things, or IoT. By 2020 the number of connected machines and devices worldwide is expected to increase to 2.5 billion. IoT is an important area of growth for us.
IoT can help ideally coordinate the processes of various devices, vehicles and entire industrial facilities. This helps increase industrial productivity, ensure efficient logistics, reduce energy consumption, and conserve resources.
We also support the German federal government’s Industry 4.0 initiative through our involvement in IoT. The initiative’s objective is to maintain Germany’s competitive edge in the technology sector.
New wireless technology allows for innovative applications
Our networks are the basis for a number of IoT applications, as mobile network technology is the key transmission channel of every IoT connection. In this respect, the NarrowBand Internet of Things (NB-IoT) is gaining significance. As opposed to broadband applications, which enable transmission of large amounts of data, narrowband technology is specifically designed to reliably transfer very small data packages. Benefits of NB-IoT include its low energy requirements, extensive reach and low-cost device networking. NB-IoT is particularly suitable for use in logistics. When tracing transport containers, all that is needed is for the current position to be transferred once an hour. Only very small amounts of data need to be transferred in small data packages – and not necessarily in real time. NB-IoT is even used to protect biodiversity, in a technology that beekeepers can use to protect their bees.
We had a leading role in the development of a uniform NB IoT standard and are consistently driving its expansion: With available networks in ten countries, including nationwide network coverage in the Netherlands, Austria, Slovakia and the U.S., we are one of the leading mobile providers in the NB IoT environment.
Across Europe, we work with more than 500 business customers from various sectors who develop and sell devices and applications based on NB IoT (as of the end of 2018). These include applications for measuring energy consumption (smart metering), traffic solutions (e.g., parking apps or applications to monitor train traffic) and solutions for waste management.
EU project AEOLIX: A platform for more efficient and climate-friendly logistics chains
The goal of the EU project AEOLIX is to build a new ICT platform that networks numerous, previously isolated individual logistics systems across the EU. At the same time, practical services will be developed and tried out in 11 European test zones. T-Systems is participating in test zone 1: Intermodal Logistics in the Hamburg – Frankfurt Transportation Corridor. This zone will test a smartphone app that helps truck drivers drive in an ecologically responsible manner. Around 958,230 metric tons of CO2 could be spared in ongoing customer projects by analyzing driving profiles and ecodrive functions. The project will run until 2019.
AUTOPILOT – autonomous driving services for more efficiency
The goal of the EU project AUTOPILOT is to test autopilot services on the market. This also includes self-driving cars in short-distance traffic, self-parking cars and real-time car sharing. Such solutions are particularly efficient and environmentally friendly, resulting in an estimated 10 percent fewer CO2 emissions as compared to conventional driving practices. The project launched in 2017 will run until 2019. Thereafter the services will be incorporated into regular operations. T-Systems is the project partner of AUTOPILOT and supports analyses on the feasibility and market launch of the new services.
Connected Car: Preventing traffic jams with connected cars
T-Systems has been developing and operating Daimler’s Connected Car platform (Daimler vehicle backend) worldwide since 2013. The platform is the technical basis for the Live Traffic service, which provides drivers with real-time traffic information, thereby helping them avoid traffic jams. Live Traffic prevents about 30% of traffic jams per vehicle. This means that the approximately 7.5 million vehicles equipped with Live Traffic consumed about 9.3 million liters less fuel. This translates into CO2 savings of about 22,500 metric tons.
Roambee: “Bees” make the logistics chain transparent
Since the beginning of 2017 we have offered businesses a real-time solution for tracking and locating deliveries and assets and for monitoring the status of goods: Shipment & Asset Monitoring powered by Roambee. Our solution gives businesses – worldwide, regardless of transport route – answers to the most important questions about their goods: Where is the freight? What condition is it in? Will the delivery arrive on time? This is made possible by a “bee” included with the shipment. The device has sensors that record information such as temperature, humidity, light and movement and store the information in the cloud. The bee measures all information in real-time. A web portal gives users anytime access to a full overview including the device status, location and details on deliveries and assets.
T-Mobile Netherlands is working with Dutch app developer Itude Mobil to develop another product for the logistics sector – the “Babbler” cargo tracker. It looks like an ice hockey puck and is affixed to the inside of container doors. The device measures light, temperature, impacts, movement and magnetic fields and can be activated via an app on a smartphone. Every movement of the container is recorded. If anyone anywhere in the world removes the container door hinges, the transportation company will receive a notification. Deutsche Telekom is providing the required network for the application, which has to reach deep into the hold of container ships.
Intelligent building monitoring for improved indoor climate
Which room is being used when? Are the doors and windows closed at night? How is the air quality in the conference room? The new IoT complete solution, Building Monitoring & Analytics, offers answers to these questions. Room sensors log movements of people, the status of windows and doors, temperature, humidity, brightness and CO2 content. This information is encrypted and transmitted to Deutsche Telekom’s Connected Things Hub IoT platform where it is stored in compliance with data protection regulations. If certain threshold values are exceeded or problems detected, in-house technicians are notified and can take action. This helps lower costs for facility management and improve service.