René Obermann – What’s beyond digital?

“Smart connectivity matters.” (Obermann at NEXT Berlin 2012)

Nicholas Negroponte stated way back in 1998 that, in a post-digital era, “being digital will be noticed only by its absence, not its presence”. He was probably ahead of his time, but at NEXT Berlin 2012 René Obermann, CEO of Deutsche Telekom, established that today the transition between digital and post-digital is complete or at least will be in the near future. People are not concerned anymore about how they are connected. Being digital is no longer sexy. In his keynote speech Obermann explained why this paradigm shift represents a threat and a great opportunity at the same time.

The telecommunication market changed fundamentally making it necessary, especially for big players in the industry like Deutsche Telekom, to adapt to the new situation. In Obermanns opinion, the potential for innovation lies in the smart combination of existing services in order to fulfill changed customer needs.

NEXT Berlin conference offers the opportunity “to start a deeper dialogue and to better cooperate,” Obermann said – essential factors in a post-digital era. In order to adjust to the paradigm change, Deutsche Telekom started a process of opening and launched the incubator hub:raum. Supporting entrepreneurs and giving them access to DT’s online advertising channels and distribution system will facilitate innovation and smooth the way into the post-digital era.

In his talk, Obermann also ventured a glimpse into the future: When being digital is no longer sexy, quality of the user experience will be important. Simplicity plays an important role in this context and will be, in addition to security, the next big thing.