Digitizing Industry

The German Connection

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    European mobile providers are pushing to establish their technology as the global standard, over the U.S. rivals.

  • Facts


    • The internet of things could generate up to €23 billion ($24.3 billion) by 2020 in Germany alone, according to consultancy McKinsey.
    • Narrowband IoT, or Internet of Things, is a new wireless technology that can transmit data even through thick walls and over long distances.
    • The technology was developed by German mobile providers that are now pushing to spread it globally.
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76980597CC streetlights and technology
In future, streetlights can be connected to the internet and automatically report when they need to be repaired. Source: Creative Commons

Soccer games have long posed logistical challenges in ball-crazy Germany, and a new wireless technology could solve some of these.

One example is rubbish. Each time Berlin’s soccer club Hertha BSC club plays at home, for example, the trash cans at the main station are overflowing. The moment the trains with the rival team’s fans arrive in Berlin, the bins fill up fast. But nobody knows how fast, and the time staff spend checking whether or not the each bin is full and when to empty it is wasted.

Now, new wireless technology will measure trash levels and bounce that information back to railway station service personnel via ultrasound sensors. It’s thanks to narrowband Internet of Things, or narrowband IoT, that gives the batteries in sensors a longer lifetime and enables data transmission even through thick walls and across long distances.

“The technology will seriously advance the country’s digitization,” Hannes Ametsreiter, chief executive of Vodafone Germany, told Handelsblatt.

By 2020, studies say 50 billion gadgets will be connected to the internet. That opens new revenue channels and allows businesses to become more efficient. The internet of things could generate revenues of €23 billion ($24.3 billion) by 2020 in Germany alone, according to a McKinsey report in 2016.

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