Innovation Cluster

Relationship between the Fraunhofer Innovation Cluster “Cloud Computing for Logistics” and “EffizienzCluster LogistikRuhr”

Fraunhofer Innovation Cluster

The goal of the Fraunhofer Innovation Cluster "Cloud Computing for Logistics" is to develop cloud technology for logistics. Logistics is both a cost factor and a competitive factor for industry and trade. Customers demand fast, available, customized, and inexpensive logistics services. These demands require the vendors to have individualized IT systems that meet the needs of their logistics and warehouse processes. Cloud computing is the starting point for solving this problem because it offers IT support "from the plug". The virtualization of IT support means that logistics service providers can focus on their core business and, at the same time, small IT service providers are provided with the opportunity to provide services to a larger group of customers without having to make large investments in IT infrastructure.

The cluster has identified three areas of innovation for immediate development, all of which will have a large impact on the IT support of logistical business process, and their sequence corresponds to their development in the cluster:

  • Logistics by Design: Semantic models for logistics
  • Logistics as a Service: Engineering of logistics services in the cloud
  • Logistics as a Product: Marketplace for logistics services in the cloud

A key project was defined in the initial phase of the cluster for each of these areas of innovation. The development of technology in these projects was financed by the research and development contracts of industry partners, project funding from the state of NRW, and research funds from Fraunhofer.

The technological developments that were planned in the Innovation Cluster cumulated in a "Logistics Mall" as a central marketplace for everything from logistics IT functionality up to complete process chains, which can be offered as a product. The "Logistics Mall" resulted in the creation of the necessary requirements for making logistics IT services and logistics processes available as commodities in the cloud. This is true for the design of the processes as well as for their instantiation and execution. As a result, the Logistics Mall uses the One Stop Shop for logistics as the coordinating and controlling authority for executing logistics processes.

The Logistics Mall was developed in several steps and rolled out at several industry partners of the Innovation Cluster when it was finished. The first phase has been available since October 2010 and it provides a potential sales channel for the developments that emerge as part of the work of the EffizienzClusters LogistikRuhr .

EffizienzCluster LogistikRuhr – Winning Cluster in the Federal Ministry of Education and Research’s Leading-Edge Cluster Competition

The goal of the EffizienzCluster is to make it possible to have the individuality of tomorrow (in the sense of the individual supply of goods, mobility, and production) with 75% of the resources of today (in the ecological and economic sense). Innovations, skills development, and networking are needed to make this happen. Thirty-three joint projects in seven technical and socio-technical themes were carried out. The development of more than 100 products was planned as part of these projects. The majority of these products are logistics IT applications or logistics processes that, in theory, could be offered for use in a cloud environment. The "Service Design Studio" project, which was part of the Logistics as a Service topic, makes it possible to offer the applications developed in the joint projects as commercial products in a cloud environment such as the Logistics Mall. The project team developed and implemented a portal that adds integrated service-oriented cross-departmental functionality to already existing applications or services, which is viewed as fundamental for the "Future Internet". The available functionality includes real-time billing based on customizable, user-oriented billing models (instead of operator oriented) as well as customizable security concepts for authentication and authorization as an Inter-Cloud Service. There is also functionality for negotiating Service Level Agreements. The Service Design Studio acts as a bridge between the two clusters.

Reciprocal Effects of the Cluster

Efficiency Cluster LogistikRuhr

The services and applications developed as part of the Efficiency Cluster are sold on the "Logistics Mall", which was developed and implemented as part of the Fraunhofer Innovation Cluster.