Deutsche Telekom has landed its first business-friendly generative AI (GenAI) customer in the form of renewable energy specialist UKA Group.

Nick Wood

March 7, 2024

3 Min Read

Based in Meissen, UKA builds on-shore wind and solar farms, and boasts operations across Europe, North America and Chile. Last May, it won a deal to install 20 wind turbines at the Mercedes test track in Papenburg, northern Germany. With a maximum capacity of 120 megawatts, it should be sufficient to cover 20 percent of Mercedes' annual domestic electricity requirements.

UKA has availed itself of DT's 'Business GPT' solution, a hosted GenAI application that has access to internal company documents. Browser based and accessible via the company's intranet, all being well it should enable speedier document retrieval, presumably leading to a boost in productivity.

Importantly for a company like UKA, it is multilingual, so international employees will also be able to use it.

Further down the line, UKA hopes to use APIs to plug Business GPT directly into company applications, potentially resulting in some innovative new use cases.

"Business GPT makes us absolute pioneers. With this tool, we enable our employees worldwide to test use cases for AI language models in a secure environment and use them profitably. That's what I call real innovation," said Christian Schmidt, head of IT and digital at UKA.

One of the risks associated with GenAI applications like ChatGPT is that employees might unwittingly disseminate sensitive corporate data by including it in their AI prompts.

Addressing this risk has its own acronym – AI trust, risk and security management (TriSM) – and was identified by Gartner last year as an important factor that will have a bearing on GenAI uptake.

DT has tried to address this risk, designing Business GPT initially for internal use and with exacting requirements for data security and sovereignty, and hosting it on its own cloud infrastructure.

"Compliance and security – that's what our customers expect from us. It's in our DNA," said Klaus Werner, managing director for business customers at Deutsche Telekom. "Business GPT combines Telekom's reliability with the latest in natural language processing and all the innovation that comes with it."

DT isn't the only telco to launch a GenAI solution this week.

Vodafone's youth-focused sub-brand Voxi has launched a trial version of a customer service chatbot. It claims to be capable of human-like interaction and managing more sophisticated customer requests.

Vodafone claims to be the first telco in the UK to develop and deploy a large language model (LLM) for this purpose. Right now it is only available to a small number of Voxi customers, but a full rollout is planned soon.

"By using the power of generative AI, we are not only helping to enhance customer support but are reinforcing Voxi's commitment to innovation, and delivering on our ambition to offer the best customer experience in the market," said Scott Currie, head of Voxi by Vodafone.

To lend weight to its announcement, Vodafone pointed to some research by Accenture which claims that 98 percent of UK executives believe GenAI will be transformative to their company and industry, and that 81 percent of organisations plan to increase their 2024 spending on data and AI.

Indeed, if 2023 was the year of AI hype, 2024 is shaping up to be the year of AI implementation.

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About the Author(s)

Nick Wood

Nick is a freelancer who has covered the global telecoms industry for more than 15 years. Areas of expertise include operator strategies; M&As; and emerging technologies, among others. As a freelancer, Nick has contributed news and features for many well-known industry publications. Before that, he wrote daily news and regular features as deputy editor of Total Telecom. He has a first-class honours degree in journalism from the University of Westminster.

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