DIGILOGIC, a three-year Horizon 2020 project launched in January 2021 with funding support from the European Commission (EC), is a pioneering initiative aimed at boosting cooperation and long-term, sustainable partnerships between European and African Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs), paving the way for innovators, startups, and SMEs to jointly develop smart logistics solutions in close cooperation with industries and investors.
The DIGILOGIC project is deployed by a consortium comprising three DIHs in Europe – Digital Hub Logistics Dortmund (Germany), VTT (Finland) and Friuli Innovazione (Italy); two DIHs in Africa – MEST (Ghana) and BongoHive (Zambia); the system change facilitator Endeva (Germany) and an SME, Prototipi (Nigeria).
Together, these partners will foster the adoption of emerging technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, Augmented and Virtual Reality, Machine Learning, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Smart Devices, Internet of Things (IoT) and Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) for smart logistics solutions, through the deployment of a dynamic and impactful knowledge transfer process and a targeted implementation programme across Europe and Africa.
An eLearning platform focused on smart logistics will be launched this June and in early 2022 we will also launch a Challenges for innovators, based on real needs emerged from corporate and logistics players.
Digital Innovation Hubs
Digital Innovation Hubs are the organisations that DIGILOGIC will use to foster the adoption of emerging technologies for innovative solutions, products and services. They create the conditions for – and subsequently nurture, support and promote – innovation, especially by SMEs, young innovators, startups and mid-caps.
DIHs provide access to technology-testing, skills development, financing advice, knowledge sharing, collaborative projects, brokerage, market intelligence and networking opportunities. It is worth noticing that the EC is facilitating the creation of networks of DIHs which can share nodes/technologies platforms, as well as hard and soft competencies to cope effectively with the EU’s digital transformation across all aspects of the economy.
In Africa, there is an increased commitment to coordinate efforts across ecosystems that has led to the establishment of several regional and continental networks of hubs: a recent report by Briter Bridges and the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator Programme maps over 600 tech hubs on the continent, joining forces in around 15 networks.
DIGILOGIC acts as an ecosystem of ecosystems, mapping the existing players, leveraging on DIHs’ competencies and network and analysing the levers of change which should be addressed to exploit innovation, facilitate collaboration and ultimately create market and uptake opportunities for innovators, SMEs and start-ups in smart logistics from both continents.
DIGILOGIC Smart Logistics Technology Radar
DIGILOGIC partners see the horizontally connecting logistics industry at the converging point of interest and priorities for digital innovation for social and business development; a crucial node for Europe’s and Africa’s sustainable prosperity. The logistics sector is facing a plethora of challenges, both from competitors as well as disruptors.
It is therefore a sector that cannot afford to not keep innovating, to secure a free and independent logistics industry. Logistics is much more than transport and linking horizontally various elements of today’s economies. Thus, logistics and global supply chain management secure manufacturing, trade and by this the competitiveness of economies.
The innovation uptake by applying ICT and other digital technologies to logistics will have a knock-on
effect of benefiting other industries (from agriculture to manufacturing, from local trade to e-commerce, from health care to mining) and will provide substantial support to both macro- (e.g. large-scale freight movements by air, sea and land, added-value services like warehousing, assembling among others) and micro-/ small-businesses growth in areas such as “last-mile” deliveries.
Moreover, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is showing the essential role played by logistics in sustaining the functioning of our societies and delivering vaccines, and emergency supplies, while revealing the fragile nodes of global supply chains. Technology is helping our societies to remain connected at the time of social distancing and e-commerce stepped in significantly in our daily lives.
Now, more than ever, data, knowledge and competencies sharing are the combustible for innovation and recovery:
“There is no time to lose and nobody can afford to be isolated”.
DIGILOGIC is working on a smart logistics technology radar, including the latest technical developments and industry needs, with a deep dive into specific European and African challenges and available solutions, to guide the mentoring and go-to-market learning programme.
DIGILOGIC go-to-market focus eLearning
In June 2021, DIGILOGIC will launch an interactive eLearning platform with on-demand and live business, design thinking and smart logistics ICT modules. The eLearning platform will be free of charge and accessible at any time with on-demand and live webinars, documentation, dedicated thematic course, exercises and assignments to enable learners to follow their learning path as per their needs, motivation and time availability.
Through the same platform, smart logistics experts will offer group and individual mentoring to innovators. Last but not least, the DIGILOGIC eLearning platform will also represent the place for peer-to-peer learning, where innovators can network and find the right partners to develop their proposals to DIGILOGIC’s so-called Challenges.
DIGILOGIC Challenges for European and African innovators
In May 2022, DIGILOGIC will launch opportunities for innovators in Europe and Africa to solve four challenges related to the improvement of logistics on both continents. DIGILOGIC will define the topics of the four challenges, based on the real needs and pain points of SMEs, industries, and local governments. There will be opportunities to solve challenges ranging from logistics needs arising from ports to distribution centres, from transport organisations or local governments, solving bottlenecks at cross-border processes or last-mile delivery, at the warehousing stage or distribution level.
Applicants will be invited to propose effective emerging technologies solutions (such as IoT, AR/VR, AI, blockchain, etc.), effective deployment, demonstrate a combination of ICT and business skills and show the successful cooperation of innovators from Europe and Africa. The selected proposals (up to 12) will be offered a one-year mentoring and coaching programme which will kick off with a three-day Bootcamp in Europe and continue with ongoing virtual and physical mentoring and access to technology infrastructures made available by each DIH.
The best projects will be part of DIGILOGIC’s final Demo Day, co-located with a major innovation event in Europe or Africa.