Logistics proclaims the Silicon Economy

Breakthrough with digital platforms and artificial intelligence processes

Heading towards the Silicon Economy

Open structures rather than closed systems

The silicon economy is the data and platform economy where people, companies, autonomous vehicles and IoT devices interact with each other. The term “Silicon Economy” plays on its proximity to Silicon Valley, but in fact it stands for a paradigm shift:  the proprietary, i.e. manufacturer-bound, systems from Silicon Valley are being replaced by open, federal structures in the Silicon Economy. These ensure data sovereignty and create new, common standards for all. The most important innovation topics for realizing open and federal platforms are artificial intelligence (AI) processes, autonomous devices, smart contracting and distributed ledger technologies. All of these technologies are already available in Germany and have already been tested in industrial projects. Companies in the key business location of Germany thus have every opportunity to actively shape the new Silicon Economy in Europe and to prevail in the Silicon Economy as a whole.

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“However, it is both the goal and an opportunity of the century to create a complete environment for the new “Silicon Economy” and thus shape the future. Starting with logistics, this comprehensive vision could be successively transferred into products and business models.”

Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Michael ten Hompel

Immense potentials

It is no coincidence that it is logistics in particular that has proclaimed the coming of the Silicon Economy: logistics will be the first industry in which platforms, blockchains and artificial intelligence (AI) processes will prevail in huge numbers. This is because logistics can be completely algorithmized and because it is more highly standardized than any other industry. The potential for the use of artificial intelligence in logistics is therefore immense. AI will penetrate logistics in its entirety beyond the visible, from the single machine and the factory through to global value networks. Technology equipped with AI such as intelligent containers and pallets that negotiate autonomously, direct their way to the recipient and trigger payments by themselves, or swarms of autonomous vehicles in factories, are examples of how value chains will work in future.


Trust as a prerequisite

The digital infrastructure of the Silicon Economy is based on the automated negotiation, scheduling and control of goods flow. This infrastructure allows companies to trade their data without losing sovereignty. Trust in both the security of the data and the quality of the service “Made in Germany” is the prerequisite for companies to participate and become involved in the Silicon Economy.
The “Big Picture” for this implementation, including the necessary technologies, already exists: a complete data chain from data generation in the Internet of Things (“IoT Broker”) and the trading and booking of data (“Blockchain Broker”) through to the organization of (logistical) processes (“Logistics Broker”) with the all-encompassing secure data room (International Data Spaces IDS) and the platforms above it to realize the new digital business models.
This infrastructure not only makes it possible to achieve nationwide transparency in value creation networks, it also creates the necessary trust along complete supply chains - from raw material suppliers to end customers.


Platforms ensure “world champion” status

Logistics connects places and companies in global networks – starting with the physical flow of materials and goods and the exchange of data through to the financial flow in logistics management. In this context the following applies: logistics is the basis of world trade. Whoever controls the world's logistics chains controls the world's economy. Today, logistics is the third largest industry in Germany. Several German logistics companies are to be found among the top ten in the world. In addition, Germany is the “logistics world champion” (World Bank). But you don't stay world champion forever, you have to become world champion again and again.
In view of the high degree of standardization in logistics, it can be assumed that logistical AI will shortly negotiate the world's flows of goods and control, schedule and distribute them. In the B2C business, platforms such as Amazon, Uber and Alibaba have already succeeded as monopolists in taking over macroeconomic business and logistics processes. In the B2C segment Amazon has proven how a new business model can completely change and even dominate a market within a few years through the intelligent combination of logistics and IT. However, the market leadership among B2B logistics platforms is only just being decided. With its Silicon Economy concept, logistics can now stake its claim for the future.