BONN, Germany – T-Labs, Deutsche Telekom's research and development unit, and T-Mobile U.S. (NASDAQ: TMUS) have teamed-up to launch T-Challenge, a worldwide competition for startups, developers, researchers and designers to submit innovative research and solutions for using 5G networks and extended reality (XR) technology to transform retail. T-Challenge is designed to fuel new innovations in how consumers shop, using immersive XR experiences in stores, at home and on the go.
Today, AR is already having a major impact on brands and how purchasing decisions are made as consumers seek a more personalized and engaged experience. According to a recent Consumer Augmented Reality report by Deloitte Digital and Snap Inc., companies with branded AR experiences are 41% more likely to be considered by consumers. Nearly 3 in 4 consumers say they're willing to pay more for a product that promises the transparency that AR can provide. And 56% of consumers agree AR gives them more confidence about product quality with over half indicating they want to use AR technology to assess products, allowing for a risk free "try before you buy" experience.
"Our Ultra Capacity 5G network is the perfect platform for extended reality experiences that can better connect us to products and information," said Neville Ray, President of Technology at T-Mobile U.S. "Retail is an area that's ripe for disruption and we see a tremendous opportunity to engage consumers in new ways. Shopping inside virtual stores from the comfort of your own home and exploring products in 3D are just the start of where the industry is going, and I can't wait to experience what comes next."
T-Challenge includes a Solution Development category for applicants to submit new viable XR products, and a Concept and Design Creation category for applicants to submit tangible concepts or designs of future prototype XR experiences. This June, up to 20 finalists will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Bonn, where they will present their solutions to top leaders at Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile U.S. Six winners of the T-Challenge will split 600,000 euros, or over half a million U.S. dollars, in prize money. Winners will also have the opportunity for their solutions to be featured in T-Mobile and Deutsche Telekom retail stores in Europe and the U.S.
"We want to use XR and our leading 5G networks to enhance and create new customer experiences with practical and human-centric applications, and thus, inspire and convince. For this reason, we encourage creative minds to apply to our T-Challenge and help shape the future with their ideas. The best solutions will win great prizes and be tested and deployed in our shops. I'm looking forward to exciting ideas and even more exciting XR experiences," said Claudia Nemat, Member of the Board of Management for Technology and Innovation at Telekom.
With its 5G networks as the foundation, T-Mobile U.S. and Deutsche Telekom are fueling innovation and building the 5G ecosystem with a number of initiatives. Both collaborate with universities and standards bodies to support 5G research and development. T-Mobile U.S. also operates the award-winning T-Mobile Accelerator, the T-Mobile Ventures investment fund and it is a co-founder of the 5G Open Innovation Lab. Deutsche Telekom operates the Co:Creation Lab in Germany, and supports startups with the hubraum tech incubator in Berlin, Krakow and Tel Aviv.