In 2020, global broadband usage increased by 38 percent - a trend that has been ongoing for decades and was amplified by the public health measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. With everyday life temporarily confined to the home, needs for education, entertainment and social contact have been increasingly met online. The growing use of streaming services, digital educational materials, and video chat applications is a reflection of this. Furthermore, the shift in the everyday work to digital spheres also means a lasting change in the operational processes for many: Meetings, seminars and conferences do not necessarily have to take place in an analogue setting anymore.
Even in industrialized countries, the rollout of digital infrastructure is still lagging behind the ever-increasing demands for broadband capacity. This results in deteriorating connection quality and even total outages in overloaded mobile networks.
To harness the potential of the information society fully, the Fraunhofer Heinrich-Hertz-Institut focuses its R&D activities on the key components of multimedia services. The advancement of image, video, voice and sound processing provides the basis for the significant improvement of a wide range of digital services in public and private spaces, from home office and schooling over video streaming and chats to interaction with IoT devices.
Designing information and communications infrastructure in a meaningful way requires fundamental solutions to the challenge of rethinking and sustainably ensuring the transformation to a fair and equal-opportunity information society.
The Fraunhofer Heinrich-Hertz-Institut sees itself as being in a position of responsibility concerning this subject.