Seizing the opportunities of digitalization in all dimensions at DB
DB intends to drive digitalization and actively shape the future of mobility and logistics
Digitalization has taken on many facets at DB, with new ones being added all the time. Electronic newspapers and sightseeing tips on the ICE Portal provide entertainment for passengers on long train journeys, complete with personalized travel information. TV series and movies will be available on the portal beginning this spring. Also beginning in Spring 2017, Flinkster carsharing customers will have access to both cars and electric scooters. Industrial customers already have the option of tracking freight transport services in real time, including information such as temperature fluctuations and vibration in containers. The first fully automated rail vehicles are being tested. Driverless shuttle buses are already offering scheduled service on the roads, and platoons of self-driving trucks will follow.
EUR 1 billion invested in digitalization by 2018
Deutsche Bahn is advancing digitalization in three areas: by offering customers new products and services, digitalizing operational and administrative processes, and developing new data-driven business models. To this end, DB alone will invest some EUR 1 billion in digitalization projects and will set aside an additional EUR 100 million in venture capital to provide targeted support for activities with start-ups and entrepreneurs between now and 2019.
Digitalization for more customer service
The purpose of digitalization projects that address the interface with customers is first and foremost to make access to mobility and logistics as straightforward and convenient as possible. The aim is to show all routes from A to B digitally to offer the right solution to every customer – commuters, business travelers and vacationers, as well as industrial customers needing to transport their freight. Instead of being informed only once, customers will receive dynamic information throughout their journey or along their products' entire transport route. This approach is crucial. In the future, these platforms will also include autonomous cars, buses and trucks.
Digitalization for more reliable and on time rail transport
One of the high-priority processes is predictive maintenance for rail operations. Switches, elevators and escalators at stations, locomotives, and freight cars are increasingly equipped with modern sensor technology, which allows potential problems to be detected at an early stage and resolved before they can disrupt operations. Digitalization improves trains' on-time rate and increases rail capacity. Innovative warehouse solutions and 3D printing play an important role in logistics. Even talent acquisition is going digital. Virtual reality glasses give applicants a 360° view of vocational training programs at Deutsche Bahn.
Taking advantage of the opportunities of digitalization
In the third area, the development of new data-driven business models, DB wants to enable better use of its treasure trove of data and take advantage of the opportunities made possible by digitalization beyond its core business. To this end, DB established Deutsche Bahn Digital Venture GmbH in November 2016. This company structure will make it possible to provide start-ups with stronger and faster support and simplify the acquisition of interests in companies. Deutsche Bahn also intends to encourage in-house entrepreneurship, or "intrapreneurship." In the future, employees could be given the chance to realize their own business ideas under ideal conditions.