Cloud data: an opportunity for sustainable logistics On the 18th of September it was held in Lipsia the final conference of the Logical project in the framework of the 9th Sustainable logistics Forum of Central Germany. The Province of Bologna is partner of this project that aims at improving the sustainable competitiveness of businesses and Industrial Areas through the reduction of transaction costs and the promotion of a more sustainable transport system. Even if MER and Logical seem to be focused on different issues, both projects share the core idea that sustainability and competitiveness are no alternative to each other but can be stra-tegically combined. The MER project emphasizes the role of sustainable industrial areas and of territorial green marketing. On the other hand, within the Logical project, the key-tool for this enhancement is expected to be Cloud computing, in other words the set of technologies allowing the use of hardware and software resources located remotely as if they were installed on your device. Thanks to cloud tools organizations will potentially be able to reach a more efficient and more sustainable logistics management. Some recent investigations on the use of advanced technologies in Italian enterprises have shown a decline in the use of ITC but, on the other hand, they have highlighted an increase in the investments in the cloud and therefore a greater awareness with regard to the need for technological innovation in the direction of cost optimization. The interoperability of logistics enterprises has also become a critical and strategic factor for the competitiveness of logistics centers in Central Europe that work according to the just-in-time logic and that have to take into account the increase in fuel prices and, consequently, of the costs of transport. The use of different standards in the management of software systems represents an obstacle especially for the cooperation between small and medium logistics enterprises. The latest technological developments of cloud computing have demonstrated the potential to over-come interoperability problems between the different actors of the logistics networks. In addition, multi-cloud technology facilitates transnational collaboration, for example, allowing the aggregation of goods using more sustainable transport systems such as rail transport. Another element to be increasingly taken into account is sustainable and environmental impact that are becoming more and more important in the development of services and in economic strategies. A more sustainable logistics management is an added value and a driver for local development. The LOGICAL project, funded by the Territorial Cooperation Programme CENTRAL EUROPE, began in 2011 and it will end this year. LOGICAL is promoted by 6 of the leading logistics hub in Central Europe: Airport Leipzig (DE), Interporto Bologna (IT), the Port of Koper (SI), logistics centers Záhony (HU), Krakow (PL) and Lovosice (CZ). The partnership is also supported by a research institute and two universities with great ability to offer innovative solutions for the logistics industry. The partnership is then completed by some development agencies. The platform developed within the LOGICAL project offers several cloud services in support of small and medium enterprises belonging to the logistics sector. The platform is based on a cloud file system based on OwnCloud® and it provides services for the different specific business functions (logistics, warehouse management, logistics equipment), a search func-tion of logistics services such as transportation and storage, the use of software in ASP and SaaS modalities and the integration between platforms for the management of the external supply chain. The server for data storage is located at the University of Leipzig and all cloud services use secure HTTPS connections. The test phase of the functionality of the central cloud platform has been successfully completed in recent weeks. About 200 businesses have already registered and stored their data about services, premis-es and resources. Most of these businesses operate in the logistics. As explained above, the project Logical shares with the Mer project the emphasis put on the connection between competitiveness and sustainability. In fact the optimization of transports thanks to the new opportunities provided by cloud-computing is enriched by the contribution to a more sustainable logistics management. Furthermore this assumption can be extend also to industrial areas that are the main fields of intervention of MER project and, as a consequence, to the whole territory. In fact to enforce the attractiveness and sustainability of the economic fabric of a territory means to enhance the local intangible capital as well.
The partners of the LOGICA project
More info at: http://www.project-logical.eu