IoT4Industry – Summary

Programme: IKT der Zukunft (Exploratory Project)
Project Title: Secure, Privacy-preserving Agents for the Industrial Internet
Project Short Title: IoT4Industry


If manufacturing firms are to benefit from the emerging Industrial Internet, then they have to adapt their current automation infrastructure. While it is not clear at this stage which proto-cols and technologies will become mainstream for the Industrial Internet, it has become clear that security and privacy (e.g. concerning intellectual property and trade secrets) will feature strongly in any risk assessment concerning the adoption of practices using the Industrial In-ternet. We will explore the use of policy-enacting, multi-agent systems that securely manage machines and manufacturing cells and we will build a feasibility demonstrator based on open source tools and firmware. This will position us as sought-after partner in Horizon 2020 and will contribute at national level, to growing expertise in the enabling technologies for the In-dustrial Internet.


Problem and initial situation: Many manufacturing firms have already achieved high levels of automation and productivity. In other words, their company-wide productivity potentials are largely exploited. However, most manufacturers are highly specialised and their products are being supplied to many and diverse downstream manufacturers and integrators. While sup-ply chain management in certain sectors such as automotive are rather well understood and are typically supported by rigorously defined processes, there are many smaller value net-works where such rigorously defined supply chains do not offer any economies of scale. For these value networks, the potential lies in optimising dynamically, against volatile and fast-changing demand and supply situations. The challenge goes already beyond real-time as firms like Amazon move to concepts such as “anticipatory delivery”. What does this mean for the manufacturer? It means a trend towards producing highly individualised components at very short notice, but with a prospect of receiving “signals of buyer’s intent” earlier than be-fore, thanks to the possibilities afforded by the Internet. Getting such signals must then be complemented by the ability to change production plans at short notice, exploiting alternative production routes, and being able to negotiate changes in delivery dates across company boundaries, in real-time. This is where IoT4Industry makes its contribution.

Planned goals and approaches: IoT4Industry will prepare ourselves and other Austrian players for internationally recognised contributions to science and technology in the field of Industrial Internet, notably in Horizon 2020. The scientific goals of the project are as follows: (1) Can we conceptualise software agents that follow local privacy and security rules such that they can negotiate alternative production schedules in response to dynamically changing demand and supply situations? (2) Can we formulate their behaviour in line with the current state of the art in game theory? (3) Can we create a feasibility demonstrator for a multi-agent, cross-enterprise scenario where the agents autonomously manage machines and manufacturing cells with which they communicate via a mesh network of lower-level and higher-level sensors, attached to the manufacturing machines? IKT der Zukunft (Exploratory Project) IoT4Industry

Our approach will be in parallel, experimental and conceptual. A senior researcher and a senior developer will work in three interwoven work packages each, with a focus on scientific and technological challenges respectively. The conceptual work will be openly documented on the Web. This is to ensure that we comply with European open-access policies for public-ly funded research, i.e. that the findings can be re-used by others. Our own competitive ad-vantage will be that we are funded to gain the necessary practical research competence in this new field. Likewise, our feasibility demonstrator will make use of an open source IoT en-vironment and will be available for third party experimentation, over the Web.

Expected results and findings:

  1. Methodology for specifying multi-agent security and privacy policies for use in Industrial Internet applications, e.g. in dynamic supply chain management across company bound-aries;
  2. Feasibility demonstrator for a three-company scenario based on Contiki open source IoT infrastructure, JADE multi-agents platform and WADE multi-agent workflows.