10 Years of T-Labs – 10 Years of Innovation

01/07/2014 - 10 Years of T-Labs – 10 Years of Innovation

Berlin, July 01, 2014

  • Research and innovation for Deutsche Telekom.
  • Working on the next-generation network.
  • More than 900 national and international patent applications.
  • Among the well-wishers: Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka, (German) Federal Minister of Education and Research, and Klaus Wowereit, Berlin's Governing Mayor.
Dr. Heinrich Arnold, Dr. Thomas Kiessling, Timotheus Höttges,
Klaus Wowereit, Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka,
Prof. Dr. Christian Thomsen, (f.l.t.r)

Mobile payments, social TV, in-flight Internet surfing, a world speed record for data transmission and much, much more ... Telekom Innovation Laboratories (T-Labs) has played a decisive role in the development of these innovations and of a wide range of Deutsche Telekom products. In the ten years since T-Labs was founded, as one of the first players in a nascent Berlin high-tech scene, it has made many significant contributions in the areas of applied research and innovation. T-Labs has also established numerous international locations that are modeled after its Berlin main location. In 2006, for example, it forged a cooperative arrangement with Israel's Ben-Gurion University. In 2009, T-Labs established a location in Silicon Valley that has since given Deutsche Telekom direct access to the world's largest start-up and technology community.

"T-Labs plays a key role for us, since it is Deutsche Telekom's central research and development unit", explains Tim Höttges, Deutsche Telekom's CEO. "The Labs are like sensors. They help us to recognize – and understand – the changes taking place in the world. The people at T-Labs are visionary innovators and thinkers, and we need them today more than ever."

T-Labs translates innovations – including innovations coming from within the company and from elsewhere – into forms that the Group and its customers can use in productive ways. For example, T-Labs cooperated with the Mozilla Foundation to develop key components of the Firefox OS mobile operating system. Other T-Labs innovations include a prototype of the digital wallet and a virtual set-top box that moves functionalities of the media receiver for Entertain, Deutsche Telekom's TV product, into the cloud. Deutsche Telekom's initiatives in the areas of the "connected car" and the "connected home" (Qivicon) also began at T-Labs.

T-Labs' development successes are reflected in a wealth of patent applications. Since its inception, T-Labs has applied for patents for over 900 national and international inventions. Currently, T-Labs has a hand in one out of every two patents Deutsche Telekom applies for.

Public-private partnerships with a brilliant future.

T-Labs' work, and its cooperation with universities, such as a public-private partnership (PPP) with TU Berlin university, at its main location in Berlin, are widely acclaimed.
"The products that emerge from T-Labs highlight the real potential inherent in close cooperation between science and industry. T-Labs' basic approach, in which it develops innovations and then rapidly integrates them within its parent group's operations, is an exemplary and forward-looking one," notes Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka, Germany's Minister of Education and Research. "And T-Labs is helping in a very important way to strengthen European sovereignty in cyberspace."
Significantly, the PPP concept has been enshrined, as a "best practice," in the German government's current coalition agreement. It has also served as a guideline for the Research Campus initiative of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

The network of the future

One of T-Labs' main focuses is on the network of the future. As part of this effort, it is helping to develop Software-Defined Networks (SDN), a key technology that relies extensively on virtualization and automation and that will make Deutsche Telekom's network more efficient and flexible. SDN will allow customers, for example, to book and begin using services within seconds, to enjoy mobile access to services in their home networks and to forget about ever having to configure devices themselves.
T-Labs has already begun implementing pertinent prototypes in test environments, such as test environments for SDN-based home networks. In addition, Deutsche Telekom is implementing SDN-related developments on a pilot basis in Croatia, and it is planning an SDN-based "Steckerleiste", a "power strip", where partners simply plug in their services. This approach will enable the company to quickly integrate, and offer, partners' products within its network.
The network's evolution has been a key focus for T-Labs for some time now. Within this framework, T-Labs created the basis for equipping ICE trains with wireless LAN. And it set a world's record for data transmission: in 2012, T-Labs moved data at a rate of 512 Gbps via a single wavelength channel in an optical fiber.


Telekom Innovation Laboratories has locations in Berlin, Bonn, Darmstadt, Beersheba and Tel Aviv (Israel) and Mountain View (U.S.). Its various locations bring together some 500 technical experts, scientists – representing over 25 different countries – and young entrepreneurs. Via associated institutes, T-Labs has ties with the TU Berlin and Ben-Gurion universities. In addition, T-Labs maintain a network of startups and have spun off numerous successful joint venture companies.

About Deutsche Telekom
Deutsche Telekom is one of the world’s leading integrated telecommunications companies with over 142 million mobile customers, 31 million fixed-network lines and over 17 million broadband lines (as of December 31, 2013). The Group provides fixed-network, mobile communications, Internet and IPTV products and services for consumers, and ICT solutions for business and corporate customers. Deutsche Telekom is present in around 50 countries and has approximately 229,000 employees worldwide. The Group generated revenue of 60.1 billion euros in the 2013 financial year - over half of it outside Germany.

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