NIMBLE

An open source based infrastructure for B2B platforms that can be customised for regional and sector-specific applications. Small or large enterprises can join, define supply chains and can synchronise their production logistics.

Playing an active role in the global economic system will be one of the future challenges for European small to medium enterprises. Even today, it is hard for smaller companies to be sufficiently visible in the WWW. Many firms have no option other than joining the big platforms like eBay or Amazon and they have to pay a significant portion of their margins to remain visible via these platforms, or to place advertisements that are tailored to customer segments. The NIMBLE project is developing an open source infrastructure for a B2B platform that can be customised by providers. It will be possible to specialise the platform to suit regional markets or to suit specific sectors of industry and commerce. By using the platform, small to medium enterprises can define supply chains and can even synchronise their production logistics in order to optimise their production schedules.

The business model envisaged for platform providers is that approximately 1000 – 2000 connected enterprises would make a platform economically viable. Different business models can be supported, e.g. a region may run a platform as not-for-profit infrastructure in order to attract entrepreneurs to the region.

Salzburg Research leads the NIMBLE consortium and its 16 further partners. IBM will be contributing Cloud-Solutions and Internet-of-Things infrastructure. Whirlpool Italy is one of the four industrial user organisations of NIMBLE and they will use the platform to bring third-party service technicians into their virtual enterprise. Three further use cases will come from house building, furniture manufacturing and the textile sector.

The scientific and technical challenges of the project are security and privacy of business data, the extensibility of the platform and at the same time, ensuring interoperability across the different, federated NIMBLE-platforms.

The project start is October 2016 with a duration of 36 months. The objective is to bootstrap a federation of commercially viable NIMBLE-based platforms that will then justify the project’s acronym: a collaborative Network for Industry, Manufacturing, Business and Logistics in Europe.