The showroom "Smart Life Lab", inaugurated in 2006 by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy and Prof. Sahin Albayrak (Chairman of the Innovation Center Connected Living e. V.), is the first IoT-based sample apartment in Europe within the scope of the research project "SerCHo" (ServiceCentricHome). Since then, innovative solutions for the Digital Connected Life are tested in a real living environment. Interested parties from economy, research and politics thus have the opportunity to experience the Connected Life in the future.
After a presentation of Connected Living's planned activities in 2017, there was a showroom guided tour with the presentation of integrated, connected end devices and solutions as well as the underlying IT infrastructure, which was developed in the Connected Living network. Dr. Deglow was impressed by the possibility of cross-system and cross-industry connectivity, which becomes reality in the "Smart Life Lab" and the future projects of the network: "The aim of comdirect is a smart financial guide, whose offers are seamlessly integrated into the everyday life of people. The technologies shown in the showroom offer exciting approaches for this."
As a highlight of the visit, the participants tested successfully the comdirect application for the intelligent loudspeaker Amazon Echo, which is now available on the market. According to the statement "Alexa, open comdirect", users can be informed in real-time about stock prices, exchange rates of the euro or indices and commodity prices. Alexa is the cloud-based digital voice service of the Amazon Echo. Users have the opportunity to communicate with Alexa via voice commands, for example, to play music, to query information, messages and sports results, or to control connected devices in the living environment. For more specific queries and services third parties such as comdirect provide additional "skills". In the financial sector, this new communication interface to the customer has created unprecedented opportunities for banks. As the first German financial institution, which has been part of the cross-industry Innovation Network Connected Living since 2015, comdirect has recognized this opportunity and positioned itself early as an innovation driver with its Alexa application. Dr. Deglow brings the advantages to the point and explains how to proceed in future: "Voice services are becoming more intelligent and support the user in many areas of life. With the comdirect skill for Alexa, it is now possible to comfortably check stock prices at any time – a simple voice command is sufficient. In the future, we will continuously improve and develop the skill."
With its skill for the intelligent loudspeaker, comdirect bank has taken up the Smart Home as an application area of digitally connected banking solutions and thus extended its service excellently.
The visit to the Berlin showroom "Smart Life Lab" and the demonstration of the skill were concluded with an impulse speech "Banking of Things" as well as the exchange and discussion on support possibilities for comdirect bank through Connected Living. Dr. Deglow discussed with representatives of the Connected Living office further future scenarios and application examples concerning voice control in banking, as well as new approaches for banks towards Smart Home and Connected Life. Prof. Sahin Albayrak, is convinced that "[...] comdirect is on the right track with its strategy. Banks that want to be successful in the age of digitalization must proactively advance with innovative and value-adding solutions for their customers. I am pleased that we were able to test the comdirect Alexa-Skill together in our "Smart Life Lab" and to embed voice control as a promising user interface in our intelligent living environment. Now, on the basis of the existing activities, further interfaces and application scenarios for innovative, digital banking services will be developed with which the bank becomes an everyday and helpful life-support for consumers." Dr. Deglow adds: "For this, the working groups in the network offer interesting approaches. The topics "Connected Data" and "Smart Offices", i. e. the use of smart technologies in the working environment have aroused our interest. We are certainly going to occupy even more intense in the near future with this topics."
The Innovation Center Connected Living has been supporting the establishment of cross-industry partnerships for the development of solutions for Smart Home and IoT for more than eight years. In Germany's largest open-innovation platform for the Connected Life of the future, well-known member institutions work together on the development of customer-centric services and intuitively usable technologies for the safer, energy-efficient, age-appropriate and comfortable life and housing of the future. On September 4th, Connected Living celebrates the 10th anniversary of its showroom. At the same time, the guests will experience numerous use cases for the Smart Home sector, including the intelligent loudspeaker Echo.
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