DT and Vodafone advance enterprise automation

Yanitsa Boyadzhieva
By Yanitsa Boyadzhieva

Feb 13, 2024

Source: Deutsche Telekom, Capra Robotics

Source: Deutsche Telekom, Capra Robotics

  • Major telcos are innovating to provide novel services to business customers
  • In two recent moves, Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom have focused on robotics for improved operational efficiencies
  • Automation is also seen as key to saving energy across various domains

In keeping with the telco trend to develop new and innovative services that meet the increasingly digital needs of enterprise users across multiple vertical sectors, Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom (DT) have unveiled how they are developing automated applications and processes that can help businesses to be more efficient and customer oriented.

Both companies began the week with separate announcements that highlight the potential of robotics. DT lauded the combination of a hybrid (mobile and satellite) internet of things (IoT) network and a precise positioning solution, developed by partner Swift Navigation, to manage and enable autonomous mobile robots developed by Capra Robotics, a Danish robot platforms provider.

Both offerings, according to the German operator, help to address the main challenges in the use of autonomous systems – namely seamless cellular coverage and precise positioning. It added that the IoT connectivity and precise positioning ensure that robots can be controlled “in real time and with minimal deviation from the intended position”.

Delving into the specifics of the robotics solutions from Capra Robotics, DT explained there is a wide range of application scenarios, for example, “modern helpers” that can clean cities, inspect the health of crops in agriculture and autonomously deliver parcels, reducing the carbon dioxide emissions produced by delivery trucks.

“The autonomous mobile robots take over repetitive tasks independently. This relieves the burden on qualified employees,” noted Dennis Nikles, CEO of Deutsche Telekom IoT. He added that the role of the operator is to provide “the essential elements for this: Global connectivity and precise positioning,” enabled by “unique service quality via our own infrastructure and selected partnerships.”

DT also pointed to its work with satellite player Intelsat and non-terrestrial network provider Skylo to help supplement traditional IoT connections, such as NB-IoT, LTE-M, 4G and 5G with satellite connectivity. It noted that its partnership with Swift Navigation helps it offer a cloud solution for position calculation with an accuracy of up to four centimetres.

Meanwhile, Vodafone Business demonstrated a virtual assistant, powered by generative AI (GenAI), that can improve the accommodation check-in experience in the hospitality sector. 

Showcasing the solution at the annual tourism event FiturTechY, Vodafone  partnered with tech company Eviden to present a virtual receptionist that can interact with hotel guests and quickly provide them with useful information, reducing queuing times and improving customer satisfaction.

“Using artificial intelligence, the assistant can communicate naturally with guests in multiple languages and provide enriched answers through intelligent virtual support. For example, the assistant is able to recognise the guest’s intention and can work out whether they are just looking for information or whether they want the assistant to act on their behalf,” the company explained in a press release announcing the offering.

The virtual assistant is also capable of interacting with hotel IT systems and third-party applications for activities, such as making reservations at a restaurant or booking tickets – an option that is only available after obtaining the guest’s permission.

In another demo, Vodafone’s business arm demonstrated a solution called REM Data, which can monitor and analyse physical spaces. This can be used by managers of venues, such as hotel restaurants and swimming pools, to obtain information about the number of people staying in a certain area, to find out whether capacity has been exceeded, and to ascertain the duration of visits and the number of customers waiting to be served.

The telco also partnered with energy equipment and solutions specialists EcoMT to showcase its TechYRoom, a cloud-based software solution that can streamline the routine tasks of hotel maintenance technicians, receptionists and cleaning staff. Bringing voice control, GenAI and IoT automation technologies together in a single tool enables employees to use voice commands for everyday tasks and manage energy efficiency.

- Yanitsa Boyadzhieva, Deputy Editor, TelecomTV

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