Economy of Things


Which technologies enable an Economy of Things? How are they applied accordingly?

Study on the Machine Economy focuses on decentralized technologies

24.09.2020 | Technology

To implement data-driven business models and increase efficiency in production plants, machines are increasingly networked with each other and with overarching systems.
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Next Big Thing AG, an innovation center for founders, start-ups, medium-sized companies, corporations and investors have jointly published a trend study on “Machine Economy from a Company's Perspective” with corporate consultants IMP Consulting. Part of the study includes secure and decentralized transaction documentation between intelligent machines. The team of the “Economy of Things” (EoT) strategic advance engineering project at Bosch Research is also working on this approach and was thus able to contribute valuable findings to the study. The focus is on distributed ledger technology as a decentralized approach in which data is not managed by a single, centralized authority. Instead, all participants in the network have access rights. New data sets can be added by any participant, and the updating process is transparent for all parties. DLT is also considered to be particularly secure.

The benefits of multi-party computation in an “Economy of Things”

17.09.2020 | Technology

One potential scenario would be electric cars negotiating the price of the electricity at the charging point themselves. Vehicles send encrypted bids to the charging station. A calculation of these bids using secure multi-party computation (MPC) determines the winner without any single party having knowledge of the actual individual bids. The outcome of the auction (which should be publicly viewable) is anchored in a DLT system, and the parties to the auction – the electric vehicles – discover whether they have won or not.

Handling information in business negotiations and transactions on digital platforms is a particularly delicate task, as it involves specific and sensitive customer- and business-related data. Businesses frequently therefore turn to a third-party platform operator, who acts as a trusted central authority to regulate affairs. The platform operator promises to treat this business-critical information with the appropriate level of care as a central authority in the digital value-creation process. However, people are no longer the only participants in commercial processes on the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT-capable devices that can act autonomously, conduct business negotiations and complete transactions independently are inserting themselves into new forms of bartering. This is giving rise to wide-ranging digital markets where commercial processes are not limited to two participants and can instead involve many different parties. “If a single third party were the only central authority with market influence, it would open itself to the danger of corruption, manipulation and censorship, which could damage the system as a whole,” explains Denis Kramer, expert for multi-party computation in the “Economy of Things” (EoT) strategic advance engineering project at Bosch Research. He and the EoT team are therefore researching the decentralized approach of secure multi-party computation (MPC) in conjunction with distributed ledger technology (DLT). While both approaches are already used in other fields, they are new in the IoT context.

Master data and certificate management with self-sovereign identity

30.07.2020 | Technology

The self-sovereign identity principle ensures greater data quality and sovereignty in master data and certificate management.

The team behind the “Economy of Things” strategic advance engineering project at Bosch Research is developing innovative concepts and software solutions for digital master data and certificate management that boost data quality and sovereignty. This includes using the principle of self-sovereign identity (SSI), which enables digital identities to be managed independently without relying on a central identity provider.

Trustworthy computing for more data sovereignty

23.07.2020 | Technology

specs team
Research on trustworthy computing aims to achieve data sovereignty in a networked world.

Bosch has imposed high ethical standards for the handling of sensitive customer data. At the heart of this approach is the principle of data sovereignty – making sure people stay in control of their data. Through its research on trustworthy computing, Bosch aims to underpin its guiding principles with the use of appropriate technologies. The team behind the strategic advance engineering project Economy of Things (EoT) is supporting this approach through, on the one hand, distributed ledger technologies (DLT). These can be used to improve trust in digital offerings by ensuring the exchange of values between economic units no longer takes place via centralized platforms but instead on the basis of a localized and distributed protocol. On the other hand, the cryptographic processes in trustworthy computing, such as secure multi-party computation, are also part of the EoT project.

New open source project “Direct State Transfer” aims to make DLT applications scalable

26.11.2019 | Technology

overview state channels
How state channels function

Prototypical DLT applications already exist, but the technical requirements for sustainable business models are still missing, for example when it comes to scalability: Scalability is one of the great challenges with DLT, because ideally tens of thousands of transactions per second have to be processed in real time. This is very memory and energy intensive. The team of the strategic advance engineering project “Economy of Things” has set up the open source project “Direct State Transfer” (DST) as a solution to implement the so-called second-layer protocol “Perun”.


Nik Scharmann

Nik Scharmann

Project Director "Economy of Things"

Nik Scharmann has been leading Bosch’s research activities in the field of the Economy of Things since 2017.

Christian Heise

Christian Heise

Deputy Project Director "Economy of Things"

Since 2018 Christian Heise has been working as Deputy Project Director in the Economy of Things project on the topics of energy and mobility.