Research is a great asset for an industrial nation such as Germany. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research invests some 79 billion euros in education, research and science every year.
Materna maintains close ties with various research and development partners and regularly participates in international research projects. University of Dortmund is a long-standing cooperation partner and provides the scientific foundation.
The focus is on core topics that are fundamentally important for Materna, such as IT management, cloud, big data, device networking and M2M communication, so that research results can ultimately be incorporated into one’s own products and services. We build know-how on technologies and application domains, test the latest technological trends with regard to the development of new business fields and, for example, also develop software prototypes which we test in the underlying application domains (proofs of concept).
Materna has its own research department. Under the guidance of experienced employees, we also train junior IT staff in targeted research projects. As a result, Materna continuously introduces a good two dozen computer science students to attractive topics. Upon completion of their studies, the students join our specialist departments to enable knowledge transfer and exchange of experience.
Our current research projects
Data sovereignty through GAIA-X
IT services are hardly possible anymore without cloud services. To make it easier to comply with European data protection and security standards, GAIA-X was launched: A European cloud architecture tailored to the needs of companies and public authorities in the EU. Materna is involved in several projects.
In the "GAIA-X 4 Future Mobility" initiative, Materna is a sub-project leader in two projects (GAIA-X 4 ROMS and GAIA-X 4 moveID) and is developing concepts for controlling autonomous vehicle fleets for passenger and freight transport. Together with numerous partners from government, business and research, Materna will develop a data room for the secure exchange of mobility data to manage automated and connected vehicles. This initiative was launched by the German Gaia-X Hub, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection. Over the next three years, the consortium of the nationwide research project will develop concrete use cases to reduce high traffic congestion and thus improve the climate footprint.
Within the framework of the Materna projects, use cases of the basic technology from GAIA-X will be demonstrated and proven. GAIA-X creates the technical basis for data exchange. The first GAIA-X Federation Services (REST-based) are available. Materna, for example, is developing connectors for data exchange in the various data spaces. The open source technology Eclipse is used to build data spaces.
More about GAIA-X
GAIA-X 4 ROMS
GAIA-X 4 ROMS
In the GAIA-X 4 ROMS (Remote Operation Management Services) project, solutions for the (remote) control of autonomous vehicle fleets in passenger and freight transport are being developed. By harnessing mobility data from a wide variety of sources for AI solutions, autonomous buses and trains in public transport, mobile packing stations and other innovative mobility solutions can be realized in the future. Fleet operators such as transport companies as well as providers of data-driven services and vehicle components can benefit from the project. Project manager Marco Kremer describes Materna's contribution: "Using modern cloud and blockchain technologies, we are generating a federated data space and connecting providers and users via interfaces in such a way that they can exchange data with each other in a self-determined manner - this is an essential foundation of connected mobility. We look forward to working with our project partners on this groundbreaking project."
GAIA-X 4 ROMS is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection and funded by the EU.
GAIA-X 4 moveID
GAIA-X 4 moveID
The GAIA-X 4 moveID project outline, which Materna played a key role in developing, serves sovereign identity management. With the help of self-determined identities, vehicles can be integrated into decentralized traffic systems and traffic flows dynamically adapted to local traffic restrictions, such as traffic-calmed zones or various environmental zones. All "GAIA-X 4 Future Mobility" projects will benefit from the results produced in this project.
GAIA-X 4 moveID is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection and funded by the EU.
Digital twin of the forest
Materna started another research project in May 2023. It is about the "Data Space for Sustainability Monitoring of the Forest and Timber Industry: IT for Sustainable, Climate-Positive Wood Value Creation (CO2For-IT)". Together with several project partners, the "Forest Data Space" is being developed, prototypically realized and practically tested in order to implement sustainable and climate-positive wood value creation in the forestry and timber industry. Until now, the more than 120,000 forestry stakeholders have worked in analog or only partially digital form. The research project aims to connect the actors in a standardized, secure and trustworthy manner and thus create new incentives for digital, sovereign participation. The technical basis of the "Forest Data Space" will be GAIA-X. The project will run until April 2026.
Joint project Daisy
Developing AI ecosystems to improve the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness.
Mental illnesses such as depression are estimated to cost at least 22 billion euros in the healthcare system in Germany alone. Compared to other diseases, however, the range of treatments available remains inadequate. The aim of DAIsy is to research innovative therapy systems to improve diagnostic, interactive and individual approaches for patients. On the one hand, an outpatient therapy procedure is to be developed in which neuronal responses to standardized test environments are recorded via a multimodal neurofeedback system supported by innovative AI-based algorithms and presented to the patient as feedback. In addition, a virtual therapy assistant will be developed for continuous everyday support that collects data on the user's behavior and recognizes individual behavioral and mood patterns through the application of AI-based methods and derives appropriate action strategies. In addition, the virtual therapy assistant will provide various therapy elements - proven in classical psychotherapy - digitally processed and AI-assisted. Materna is the coordinator of the ITEA project, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The project will run until the end of 2025.
Our finished research projects
Research Project I2PANEMA
More digitalization for the port industry
More and more industries are turning to digital technologies to make existing processes more efficient or develop new business models. Innovative technologies also offer new optimization potential for sea and inland ports. However, digitization in ports is still in its infancy: although a lot of data is already being collected from operational processes, there is still great potential in the use of this data to achieve efficiency gains. The responsible managers are faced with the challenge of identifying the individually suitable solution approaches from the large number of offerings already available. The international research project I2PANEMA has created reference architectures for this purpose and shown how, for example, data analyses can be used to improve existing processes, particularly in conjunction with the Internet of Things. A reference architecture was developed for rolling out industrial IoT applications in ports. I2PANEMA stands for Intelligent, IoT-based Port Artefacts Communication, Administration and Maintenance.
Data creates insights
Technologies such as the Internet of Things generate large amounts of data that can be used, for example, to control systems or optimize processes. Complementary data analyses create the basis for implementing new data-based services and assistance functions in the port environment. The project has shown how companies can use this data to implement innovative measures for traffic control, reduce emissions or optimize energy efficiency. In addition, I2PANEMA wanted to help integrate existing and often heterogeneous IT systems. After all, it is only through optimized data exchange that it is possible to efficiently drive digitization in the port environment.
Furthermore, concrete scenarios were designed within the framework of I2PANEMA, which vividly demonstrate the benefits to be gained from digitalization. The projects included, for example, applications in the areas of noise reduction, traffic management, energy consumption, emissions monitoring and location determination, such as:
- Connection of the "digital logbook" in the port office for further data collection, e.g. for predictive maintenance.
- Active noise control
- Parking management and sequencing of trucks in the port
- Routing and sequencing of trucks in the port
- Optimization of the loading of cars in the port
- Supporting the control of ships with underwater drones in the port
- Reduction of fine dust pollution in the port
A number of ports, IT and logistics companies, and research institutions from several European countries participated in I2PANEMA as part of the EUREKA cluster program ITEA. The consortium leaders were the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics and Materna, both based in Dortmund. Materna's experts bring field-proven expertise around digitalization and experience with the Internet of Things to the project. The project was completed at the end of 2022. The funding of around 5 million euros in the German sub-project was covered by the participating companies' own resources and by funding from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
The cross-border cooperation was also intended to help make the participating German sea and inland ports active partners in the formation of a future, international smart port network. In this way, the companies could optimize existing logistics chains, shorten freight transit times and at the same time reduce emissions in freight transport.
Augmented reality for shipping
Innovative applications for augmented reality in inland ports and seaports
The digitalization of the working world does not stop at inland ports and seaports. InnoPortAR therefore investigated the extent to which the use of augmented reality (AR) can support work processes in inland and seaports. Use cases were investigated in various test environments. In augmented reality, reality is enriched by computer-generated information. Materna was involved in the project with its know-how in the field of augmented reality. InnoPortAR stands for "Innovative fields of application for augmented reality in inland and seaports".
The research partners investigated content-related and technical questions on the practical use of AR in the port environment. These include content-related aspects, such as what limits arise in the displayed content due to the available field of view and how much information can be meaningfully displayed without overwhelming employees. Neural networks were used to recognize objects in the viewer's field of vision. But the focus was also on technical questions about the conditions in the port environment or the behavior of the data glasses in different lighting and weather situations.
The main research questions were related to cognitive ergonomics and information presentation, the fields of application of the data glasses and input possibilities in the field of port technology as well as machine learning.
The use of AR can help to optimize handling and stuffing processes in the port environment and reduce the workload of employees through coordinated human-technology interaction. Overall, the project supported the introduction of innovative technologies into the port environment and ensured greater IT use within logistics chains. The use of AR not only makes jobs more attractive, but also enables German ports to take on a pioneering role in Europe, thereby further strengthening their key function for the German economy. Use cases included, for example, the maintenance and servicing of handling equipment and port infrastructure, the identification of loading units during handling, cargo securing during loading in containers, and support for interface control in the trimodal terminal.
The consortium for the research project included the following partners: Duisburger Hafen (overall coordinator), Materna SE and Materna TMT GmbH, the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics, and the Fraunhofer Center for Maritime Logistics and Services CML. Other project partners were Haeger & Schmidt Logistics GmbH, Eurogate Technical Services GmbH and Container Terminal Dortmund GmbH. The German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure funded InnoPortAR.
The project has been completed since fall 2021.
MobiDS - Mobility Data Space
Linking municipal, regional and national data platforms
In the coming years, mobility will increasingly adapt to the individual needs of travelers, for example through new on-demand mobility offers and autonomous vehicles in private and public transport. These new offerings will be based on real-time data about traffic, travelers' needs, and the availability of services. The secure and sovereign provision as well as the protected utilization of this data in distributed systems will be decisive success factors for the mobility of tomorrow.
MobiDS initiated the development of the Mobility Data Space, which was to be established as a mobility data ecosystem with the inclusion of the Mobility Data Marketplace (MDM) of the Federal Highway Research Institute (BASt) and other municipal traffic data platforms. New municipal traffic data and nationwide mobility data were to be tapped and made available for secure and sovereign processing on the platforms, which were expanded to include data space concepts for this purpose. The municipal platforms were to be linked to the MDM in order to provide and utilize regional data on a national level as well.
In the project, the MDM and other municipal platforms were further developed to support data-based services. To this end, they were expanded to include a secure and protected execution environment for services or data apps in which mobility data can be provided and refined while guaranteeing data sovereignty. In this way, more sensitive mobility data such as floating car data (FCD) became usable for the first time. The MDM and the municipal platforms were linked to form a decentralized Data Space, thereby forming a federated mobility data ecosystem. Building on this, contributions to pollution reduction, traffic liquefaction, and multimodal commuter notification were made in complex real-time use cases.
Materna was involved at the request of the Federal Highway Research Institute, as Materna operates the MDM. Materna has expertise in MobilityDataSpace (architecture and use cases).
The project has been completed since May 2022.
- Application of the "International Data Spaces" reference architecture model to mobility data.
- Development of domain-specific ontologies and an extended IDS information model.
- Exploration and development of distributed organizational and business models
- Roadmap for MDS-compliant further development of the MDM.
Intelligent Truck Parking
Designing and testing a data platform
Trucks lined up alongside motorways and other major roads pose an increasingly serious problem. The unabated growth in volume of HGVs was already identified some time ago as a potential safety hazard on German roads, and it had been hoped that more strictly regulated driving times would help to improve safety. However, one consequence of these regulations has been a concentration of trucks at petrol stations, lay-bys and carparks, where a lack of space means that many vehicles end up parked illegally and dangerously.
The Intelligent Truck Parking (ITP) research project attempts to tackle this congestion problem. It is funded by the Federal Ministry of Traffic and Digital Infrastructure and Materna is a member of the project consortium.
The project’s principal aim is to develop and implement a data platform that will enable companies and their drivers to plan and schedule routes and rest breaks efficiently. Constantly updated data on the capacity of all lorry park facilities forms the basis for satnav and logistics systems, which source their information either directly or indirectly from exchange platforms like the MDM (Mobility Data Marketplace). This information allows drivers to plan proactively for rest breaks and goes some way to dealing with the increase in heavy goods traffic.
As system integrator, Materna is also in charge of the technical project management. We are also developing the majority of software components. The project is due to be completed in autumn 2020.
Heart research in the Medolution project
For persons suffering from cardiac insufficiency, physicians are increasingly implanting so-called left ventricular support systems, also known as artificial hearts. Often the artificial heart even becomes a permanent solution, because not enough real donor hearts are available. These patients then need medical supervision for their entire life.
However, telemonitoring, which can be used for monitoring purposes, is still in its infancy. The three-year, publicly funded research project Medolution aims to remedy this situation and make everyday life easier for patients who have to live with such an artificial heart. In addition to various industrial partners, Schüchtermann-Schiller Clinic from Bad Rothenfelde and the Hannover Medical School are important project partners
The Materna experts support the research project launched in fall 2015 with their expertise in the areas of cloud-based processing of big (medical sensor) data and the automated networking and control of medical devices.
More about the Medolution research project
Information concept for crises and disasters
Providing coordinated assistance in crisis situations is a very demanding task for all parties involved. Authorities and organizations with security tasks must make their decisions dynamically on the basis of a large amount of information.
Funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the K3 project is developing a suitable information and communication concept.
As a basis, the real-time information must be appropriately analyzed, evaluated and prioritized. Social media is important in crisis situations and must be meaningfully integrated into a modern communication concept.
To ensure this, Materna is developing a web portal together with other project partners. It will contain special portlets that extract information from social networks and process it visually and interactively in the shortest possible time, enabling quick and easy analysis. Users of the portal are thus provided with individually configurable user interfaces in web browsers.
Access authorizations are controlled by "Role Based Access Control" and enable dynamic role distribution per deployment. Materna Liferay is the portal software and Vaadin is used to implement the user interface.
Building as a Service
Intelligent building infrastructures in the building as a service project
Modern buildings are equipped with various sensors and actuators as part of building automation and building management systems (BMS systems), for example for air conditioning, lighting, ventilation, heating and security. Up to now there have been numerous individual solutions for the various areas of application of BMS, which are operated in parallel. Also, the standards in communication technology are still too diverse, so that sensors cannot communicate with each other and cannot exchange data.
In future, this will be possible via uniform standards and sensors. In the international research project Building as a Service (BaaS) Materna and project partners are developing a prototype of a software platform that can be used to control building control systems, for example for ventilation, heating, temperature and light in office complexes. Here Materna uses its know-how in the areas of IT service management as well as sensor integration and communication.
In March 2015, the BaaS project received the ARTEMIS-ITEA Co-Summit "Exhibition Award" in Berlin for a miniaturized model house, with the help of which the solutions developed in the project can be clearly illustrated. The research project will run until the end of 2016.
More about the Building as a Service research project
Cloud networking in the project EASI-CLOUDS
Cloud computing has become an integral part of IT. Nevertheless, there are still technical challenges, such as the lack of uniform service quality across all software levels of cloud structures. The services offered by the three layers of infrastructure, middleware and software are generally not coordinated, since the solutions used often come from different manufacturers. This prevents clouds from being networked together and is one reason why cloud computing is still not sufficiently accepted by end users and companies.
The European research project EASI-CLOUDS (Extendable Architecture and Service Infrastructure for Cloud-Aware Software) was located in this environment. In cooperation with the Charité Berlin, the project partners conducted research on neuroradiological diagnostics in order to be able to calculate and evaluate computationally-intensive MRI scans for brain diseases more quickly with the help of networked clouds. The underlying cloud architecture was realized with OpenStack. The research project aimed to develop an open cloud infrastructure that ensures and supports interoperability on all layers of cloud computing.
Materna developed a prototype for layer-spanning monitoring of cloud services in the project and was thus able to build up comprehensive knowledge for OpenStack technology. The EASI-CLOUDS project, which has since been completed, received the "Excellence Award for Business Impact" at the ARTEMIS-ITEA Co-Summit in Berlin in March 2015 – an award for particularly market-oriented research and development activities. The research project ran from December 2011 to August 2014.
More about EASI-CLOUDS
Development of SOA-enabled components in the OSAmI project
The aim of the OSAmI project (Open Source Ambient Intelligence) was to develop and test an SOA-enabled component platform that would also support the smallest devices and be made available as open source software.
The German subproject focused on the application area of health care. This should support interoperability, maintainability and reliability as well as the automated configuration and management of medical devices and service systems. The development of a demonstrator to support the ambulatory cardiological rehabilitation of heart patients showed the usability of the results. The telemedical project enabled heart patients to undergo cardiologically monitored endurance training at home, which was virtually monitored by doctors. Vital data such as ECG, pulse, blood pressure and oxygen saturation were monitored by the system and transmitted to the doctor in the clinic. The TU Dortmund University, Materna and the Schüchtermann Clinics in Bad Rothenfelde were involved in this sub-project.
The technical basis was the platform specified by the OSGi Alliance, on which applications and services can be executed in the sense of an SOA. It is combined with web services, especially DPWS / WS4D, to enable distributed, dynamically configurable, vendor-neutral and device-independent solutions.
The project ran from 2008 to 2011.
More about the OSAmI research project
Development of a service-based infrastructure in the Sirena project
Sirena (Service Infrastructure for Real Time Embedded Networked Applications) was a European research project aimed at developing a service-based infrastructure for real-time embedded network applications. The web service-based technology developed in the Sirena project is interesting for a wide range of applications - including building and industrial automation, automotive electronics and medical technology.
Materna's experience as a systems integrator ensured from the outset that both manageability and interoperability were taken into account when defining the framework. Infrastructure services have been designed and specified to provide basic management services and mechanisms, as well as administration functions to customize and manage the applications.
The project ran from 2003 to 2005 and was awarded the "ITEA Achievement Award" in 2006.