A festival of technology: Daimler at the TOA 2019

Summer, sun, and fun in Berlin are exactly the right ingredients for an exciting open-air festival. But if you’re expecting to read a detailed report of the sets played by various bands… sorry, I’ll have to disappoint you.

This festival has been tailored more for us geeks, and I’m using that term in a very positive sense. After all, I consider myself part of this group, and I mainly define my “geekdom” through my passionate interest in new technologies.Once in a while, we need an event for this purpose — so why not a festival?

And that’s what the Tech Open Air, or TOA 2019 in Berlin is: a festival organized by and for fans of startups and new trends, featuring interesting talks and lots and lots of networking. This is the eighth TOA to be held in the Funkhaus Berlin overlooking the Spree River. The organizers are once again demonstrating how well the event has positioned itself in terms of its basic concept.

We’re excited by the fact that this year for the second time, Daimler is one of the TOA’s main partners. And this year Daimler is presenting the Urbania installation in cooperation with T-Systems. I’m very happy about that. Everyone’s talking about 5G, and my colleagues from Bonn and I consider T-Systems an exciting infrastructure and network partner for Daimler at the TOA. I think 5G is the perfect complement for the topics we focus on.

And that brings me to the topics of the TOA. So put on your helmets, buckle up, and get ready for a tour of the latest buzzwords:

Urban mobility, digital mobility solutions, and autonomous services are the cornerstones of our two-day presentation at the TOA. The presentation is framed by various stands and mainly takes place on a central stage that features exciting tech talks and keynote speeches on each day. Incidentally, it includes a live hacking event! (I experienced it myself on the first day of the event, and I really loved it.)

On the face of it, this sounds like a typical tech event, doesn’t it? Here a few speakers, there a few trends, and over there some booths that can present the trends directly.

That almost describes the TOA. But in my mind the TOA is so much more, especially as a place for connecting with people. Before I start my almost religious pep talk, I have to explain that I’m talking about meetings with potential new colleagues, because thousands of them are running around at the TOA! And I’m sorry to say that we can’t attract them simply by mentioning the name of Daimler. They want to see what direction this company is headed in, and they’re especially interested in seeing how we’ve transformed ourselves and what we want to accomplish in the future!

Just do it! Prototype for solar system for charging the EQC

This means that we also have to show them projects that can present us, the colleagues from Daimler, in ways that convey this message: Here at Daimler things are happening, we’re changing, and we’re working together on a variety of projects!

In this regard I especially like the “shine ’n’ charge” project, which connects our vehicles with solar panels on the roofs of smart homes. It’s all good, especially if we can use it in the future with the new Mercedes-Benz EQC and in effect recharge it for free. But what I think is even more remarkable is the fact that it took only six weeks to develop the initial idea into the first prototype of the related app.

We talk so often about agile working and the fact that we have to become even faster — with this project we’re demonstrating that to a group of potential employees. In my opinion, we’re making an important statement: Just do it!

We’re also presenting tires: CLA, EQC and eCitaro

Of course we can’t make our presentation without showing any vehicles, and I think we’ve really found the right mix. Right at the stand we’ve set up a CLA, with a ported variant of the SuperTuxKart running on its MBUX system. Our Digital Minister Dorothee Bär tested this system personally and found it good.

These are my personal highlights in the area in front of the halls, at least in terms of their “hardware”: a Mercedes-Benz EQC in the 1886 edition, and behind it a brand-new eCitaro and our colleagues from Trucks & Buses. The fully electric eCitaro is already driving on Berlin’s streets right now.

EQC 400 4MATIC: Stromverbrauch kombiniert: 20,8-19,7 kWh/100 km; CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 0 g/km.*

The TOA is important for Daimler!

I think I’ve already explained how important this event is for us. It enables us to present Daimler to the tech scene and its community — people who may not yet know exactly what fundamental changes are taking place in our sector and how wide our range of jobs for designers and IT experts really is. In Berlin we don’t have to go looking for them — they find us, and that’s incredibly important.

When I think of what the Digital Life team has once again accomplished here this year, and the commitment and enthusiasm with which my colleagues are working here and representing this Group, honestly… it warms my heart.

And that makes it all the more important that we’re also represented at events of this kind in the future. I repeat, in terms of relevance our choice of the TOA has been spot-on!

* Stromverbrauch und Reichweite wurden auf der Grundlage der VO 692/2008/EG ermittelt. Stromverbrauch und Reichweite sind abhängig von der Fahrzeugkonfiguration. Weitere Informationen zum offiziellen Kraftstoffverbrauch und den offiziellen spezifischen CO2-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen können dem „Leitfaden über den Kraftstoffverbrauch, die CO₂-Emissionen und den Stromverbrauch“ entnommen werden, der an allen Verkaufsstellen und bei der Deutschen Automobil Treuhand GmbH unter www.dat.de unentgeltlich erhältlich ist.

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Sascha Pallenberg is responsible for digital transformation in corporate communications. The former tech blogger prepares content at the interface between the automotive and IT industries for Daimler online media. He is also the founder of Mobile Geeks.