An Apple founder, a boxing world champion and three international pop stars in Cologne - just some of the highlights on offer to visitors during Digital2018.
In the end, the 16,000 square meters of exhibition space was probably not big enough, because Digital2018 sold out long in advance. More than 7,000 visitors gathered in Cologne, where last week the most important digital event of the year took place – hosted by Deutsche Telekom, which invited partners such as Huawei, Microsoft, Samsung, SAP and the German Association for Small and Medium-sized Businesses (BVMW) to Digital2018.
FAMOUS GUESTS, FROM WOZNIAK TO KLITSCHKO
However, the trade visitors were offered much more than just a forum for networking. The program was a much bigger affair. "Digitalization is the greatest gift for growth and prosperity:" this was the proposition with which Telekom CEO Tim Höttges opened the two-day event. Over those two days, there were more than 80 lectures by renowned speakers, who each passed the mic in quick succession on one of the four stages. Among them were famous digital pioneers such as Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Microsoft’s chief legal officer, Brad Smith, and Vladimir Klitschko, boxing world champion and managing director of the Klitschko Management Group (KMG).
"GERMAN SMES READY FOR DIGITALIZATION"
The focal point of most of the presentations was the enormous bandwidth and huge potential that digitalization opens up for new products, services and business models – for customers and companies alike. "What I advise SMEs to do when it comes to the issue of digitalization: Start small, but start," said Hagen Rickmann, Director Business, Telekom Deutschland GmbH. "German SMEs are ready for digitalization. There are already many digital pioneers today."
Telekom’s partner, enfore, is one example: The company has set itself the goal of providing small entrepreneurs with the same technical opportunities that in the past only large companies have been able to afford: "Local commerce can not only survive, but also further develop thanks to digitalization," said enfore founder and CEO Marco Börries at Digital2018.
NARROWBAND IOT: THE BICYCLE CALLS FOR HELP
During Digital2018, Thomas Ullmann, chief technology officer of the start-up IoT Venture, showed what the digital development of analog products can look like: Together with his team, he has developed a system based on narrowband IoT that networks bicycles with each other. In this way, owners can find their bike again if it has been stolen. Or the bike automatically calls for help to come to its current position if it detects a fall. "I think we have a technology here that can change the Internet of Things," Ullmann said during his speech.
“TO ME, ALL PEOPLE ARE ORANGE”
Another highlight of the trade fair: the world’s first legally-recognized cyborg, Neil Harbisson. "I don't use technology – I am technology," said the color-blind artist during his presentation. He has an implant on his head that translates colors into sounds. In this way, although he still can’t see them, he can hear them. "In my world, there is no white or black skin. In my world, all people sound orange." The British-born artist is planning another implant for his head: a kind of crown that will be transplanted under the skin to enable him to sense the exact time.
2019: NEXT DIGITAL TRADE FAIR ALREADY PLANNED
The Black Eyed Peas provided a fitting finale to Digital2018 with a two-hour concert as part of the Telekom Street Gig series. The thousands of visitors danced to songs from the band’s new studio album "Masters of the Sun" until late into the night.
Those who would like to be attend next year, can already mark the date in their calendars: Deutsche Telekom will hold its next digital trade fair on October 29 and 30, 2019. However, potential visitors should try to get hold of one of the coveted tickets soon – there will be an early-bird discount until December 31 for those who decide quickly.
IoT Marketing Communication Manager
Pamela Buchwald has been part of the Telekom cosmos since 2016 and is very familiar with the Internet of Things. From general IoT trends to industry know-how and connected mobility, the blog highlights exciting topics related to connected things.