However, one of the major challenges for the digitalization of logistics is the communication between and among the various technology and software solutions, the communication between the client/sender, the transport service provider and the recipient. The major market players still rely on their own developments. The difficulty therefore lies in defining interfaces and setting standards in a way that the different systems and solutions are compatible and understand each other. So far, it has been difficult to convince large corporations in particular to break away from their own solutions and rely on both, common platforms and standards.
Today, the trend towards digital platforms offers an opportunity to break up the system because technology opens up many new possibilities. The medium-sized transport companies want to move away from a monopolistic and centralized approach here. They prefer decentralized approaches. Sovereignty over one’s own data plays an important role here: every company wants to retain control over its system and its data.
When establishing such decentralized approaches, it must be ensured that generally applicable standards and conditions are adhered to so that the systems do not become independent and the legal certainty from the analogue world is maintained. For this purpose, all players must be given the chance to participate without competitive disadvantages. At the same time, the supervisory authorities must be involved in order to be able to monitor compliance with existing regulations. And last, but not least: one has to think throughout Europe!
There is willingness for networking
Open-source solutions, as they play an essential role in the »Silicon Economy« project, are not yet widespread in the industry or have not yet established themselves. The term »Silicon Economy« is of course very abstract: many people have little idea of what it means. Nevertheless, companies are generally very open to digital solutions that can be used to expand, change or adapt their business model. The companies also have a great interest in cooperating with each other, networking and exchanging ideas. After all, the contractual relationships from which their orders are derived have usually grown over a long time and are regionally delimited. Concerns that cooperation among and with each other will have a bad effect on business are rather low. On the contrary: they are seen as an opportunity. There is a strong willingness for networking – not least a success of the associations that promote this idea.
If one wants to make the »Silicon Economy« the principle of tomorrow’s platform economy, if one wants to establish a decentralized ecosystem based on open source solutions throughout the industry, it is particularly small and medium-sized enterprises with an average of about twenty vehicles that must be addressed in the road haulage sector. To this end, the solutions of digital platforms and the associated added values must be made specific and tangible for SMEs.
It is particularly important to address not only the technical solution, but also the legal challenges: For companies, legal certainty is always a central issue, because in the end, especially for SMEs, their own existence very quickly depends on the existence of contracts concluded and orders taken on. Digital platforms absolutely require a legally secure environment.