In the broadest sense, the platform economy could be described as Internet-based business models, namely digital marketplaces that bring providers and customers together. Transaction costs are low, and prices and quality are transparent. So far, the term describes nothing new, so why do we find it repeatedly in the media in recent months, especially in association with logistics?

One reason is the so-called network effect. The more players there are on a platform, the more compelling it becomes. Another reason is the evolution of the term. The more offers and services are linked on a platform, the simpler the business process becomes. Logistics companies of all sizes have the opportunity to fully automate their business operations – from ordering to billing to transport. The platform economy of the future is therefore characterized by a variety and coexistence of different logistics and industrial B2B platforms. In this case, we are talking about the Silicon Economy – an open source software and hardware environment for the autonomous, artificial intelligence-driven logistics of tomorrow. Via smart contracts and blockchaintechnology, data is securely shared and payment processes are triggered automatically. In this context, the Silicon Economy offers the infrastructure of the new Platform Economy, virtually the logistics operating system with the highest data protection requirements.

In the next five years, according to latest forecasts, the most successful business models in logistics will come from the Platform Economy. However, it is important not to think of Amazon as a trading platform, but to think in a more comprehensive and networked way. The forthcoming decentralized and open Platform Economy in Germany and Europe will create a counter-design to monopolistic platforms. Business processes along a supply chain will be digitized and automated. People, companies, autonomous vehicles and IoT devices (IoT: Internet of Things) interact with each other. The individual platform players are forced to cooperate with each other, even if they are partly in competition.