Can we integrate iota

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Mr. Köther, what was the starting point for the project?

The next generation of industrial automation, Industry 4.0, is getting closer and closer. In all industrial sectors, machines are becoming increasingly intelligent and networked. These devices use algorithms to enable optimized decisions and goal-oriented behavior. In tomorrow's world, they can be viewed as autonomous, independent economic actors. They work together on the basis of market economy principles and trade resources and services with one another.
To make this autonomous future possible, a common global, fail-safe communication and infrastructure is required. A digital layer of trust is the prerequisite for new business models and for the successful implementation of the visions of Industry 4.0.

What is behind the project and why is the industrial marketplace so revolutionary?

The recently launched industrial marketplace combined

  • the distributed ledger technology,
  • unchangeable audit logs,
  • standardized, machine-readable language,
  • an integrated decentralized identity system
  • and offers a trustworthy and secure infrastructure for data and value transfer.

The industrial marketplace is open-source, is based on the specifications and guidelines of the Industrie 4.0 platform and enables the uncomplicated integration of company information systems into the overall network.


The participants in the Industry Marketplace can assume one of two roles: the role of the service requester or the service provider. The service requester searches for specific data or services, such as loading, transport, drilling, etc., that are offered by a service provider. The service requester distributes an invitation to tender in which a service or the requested data are specified. The service providers receive the tender and can generate responses.
The invitation to tender and the offers contain a technical and commercial description of the service to be agreed, which is written using the machine-interpretable vocabulary of the I4.0 language. A commercial description of a service can include, for example, the price, time, quality and place of provision of a service.


Requester (requester) and provider (provider) receive a unique, forgery-proof identity and can cooperate directly with each other. A requester automatically writes out a contract, the content of which is determined by machine-readable characteristics: For example, the purchase of a certain amount of copper, the quality criteria of which are defined by eCl @ ss characteristics. Other examples are the automated inspection of a wind turbine by an autonomous drone. Or an appointment between an autonomous vehicle and the cheapest charging station or workshop. Special details that can be machine-interpreted in the form of features (e.g. delivery period, fulfillment of certain standards, guarantee period) are then the subject of the negotiation. This makes the interaction pattern suitable for use in value chains. All actions are automatically recorded in an unchangeable audit log in order to meet regulatory, legal and accounting requirements.


The integration of the IOTA technology as a digital layer of trust means that the user does not incur any costs. Communication is possible worldwide, which is necessary for digital services and in the area of ​​smart cities. Payment is made directly between the two parties involved, securely and, above all, free of charge through the use of the IOTA token as an electronic currency. This also enables new business models on a micro-transaction basis, which would not be economically viable with fees.
The use cases of the IOTA industry marketplace are not limited to production. The concept can easily be used in all industries in which automated contracts offer advantages, such as smart cities, smart energy, mobility and connected vehicles.

What do industrial companies get out of it?

The industrial marketplace is a manufacturer and industry-neutral platform. It allows a direct exchange of information, negotiations and automated payment processes between machines. The marketplace is open, easily accessible, fail-safe and tamper-proof.
By ensuring the authenticity and trustworthiness of interacting parties, it provides the necessary functionalities to ensure the interaction and automation of I4.0 and Internet-of-things (IoT), regardless of whether they are autonomous physical or digital goods and services.
My recommendation to the readers: check out whether this is relevant to your own business model or strategy. In the next step, we would like to expand the initial consortium to include further partnerships across the entire value chain and subject the marketplace to practical tests under production-related conditions (test beds). The priorities for further development are defined and implemented together with partners. There is already great interest from industrial companies. In the telecommunications market, for example, there are several billion losses per year due to a lack of capacity and billing transparency in the roaming area. The use of the marketplace helps to close this gap.

What role do the administration shell specifications play on which the Industry 4.0 platform is working?

The Industry Marketplace is based on the specifications and guidelines of the Industry 4.0 platform and enables the uncomplicated integration of administration shells into the overall network.
In order to ensure extensive interoperability, the specifications of the administration shell, the developed semantics for automated machine-to-machine communication and the use of existing industry standards are required.
The interaction between administration shells takes place according to the tendering process in accordance with the VDI / VDE 2193-2 guideline. The overarching goals of the Industry 4.0 platform are to create neutral and common standards for communication and services across company and industry boundaries. This complements perfectly with IOTA, the decentralized, highly scalable and quantum-resistant communication technology for secure data storage, exchange and automated payment processes between machines.
The Marketplace Platform is being developed in direct cooperation with Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg, Helmut Schmidt University Hamburg and eCl @ ss. Neoception (a subsidiary of Pepperl & Fuchs specializing in IoT) and WeWash have already implemented the first scenarios.

How did you come up with the idea of ​​developing such a marketplace?

As part of the development of the language for I4.0 components, the necessity was recognized in GMA 7.20 (UAG "Ontology" of AG1 of the Platform Industry 4.0): machine communication of the administration shell via a decentralized identity system, as well as an underlying trustworthy and secure infrastructure for data and value transfer is essential. After a detailed requirements workshop, we formed a virtual project team. Each organization had a sub-project that was implemented by the respective experts. OvGU concentrated on semantic language development, Helmut Schmidt University and IOTA on decentralized identity and IOTA's Tangle technology, eCl @ ss on standardized machine-readable features. Neoception and We-Wash carried out the further implementations and the first integrations into the IT backend. Thanks to the strong expertise of all project partners, we were able to successfully complete the first project phase as planned after just six months. The first presentation took place in September at the eCl @ ss congress. The entire project team is highly motivated and we look forward to the next steps together with old and new partners.


Project team:

  • Alaettin Dogan, HSU
  • Alexander Belyaev, OVGU
  • Alexey Sobolev, IOTA Foundation
  • Andreas Höpfner, eCl @ ss
  • Christian Block, eCl @ ss
  • Detlef Raguse, eCl @ ss
  • Holger Köther, IOTA Foundation
  • Jan Allenberg, WeWash
  • Jelle Millenaar, IOTA Foundation
  • Jörg Nagel, Neoception
  • Lisa Schneider, OVGU, IOTA Foundation
  • Prof. Dr. Alexander Fay, HSU
  • Prof. Dr. Christian Diedrich, OVGU
  • Rafael Ribeiro, Neoception
  • Thorsten Kroke, eCl @ ss

Interview co-author: Alexander Belyaev, OVGU