The Euro­pean Com­mis­si­on laid down a stra­te­gic pathway to leverage data in the best pos­si­ble way for the sake of the Euro­pean citi­zens and the Digi­tal Sin­gle Mar­ket. The Data Stra­te­gy and the White Paper on Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence are the first pil­lars of the new digi­tal stra­te­gy of the Com­mis­si­on.

This Euro­pean Data Stra­te­gy crea­tes the visi­on of a Euro­pean data space which adhe­res to rules that are direct­ly deri­ved from fun­da­men­tal Euro­pean values. It envi­sa­ges the "flow of data wit­hin the EU and across sec­tors" and is based on the FAIR princi­ples when it comes to the access, manage­ment, and use of data. "The EU will beco­me an attrac­ti­ve, secu­re and dyna­mic data eco­no­my by set­ting clear and fair rules on access and re-use of data, inves­ting in next genera­ti­on stan­dards, tools and infra­st­ruc­tures to store and pro­cess data, joi­ning for­ces in Euro­pean cloud capa­ci­ty, poo­ling Euro­pean data in key sec­tors, with EU-wide com­mon and inter­ope­ra­ble data spaces and giving users rights, tools and skills to stay in full con­trol of their data."

In a Lin­kedIn arti­cle and a Finan­cial Times inter­view in Janu­a­ry 2020 EU Com­mis­sio­ner Thier­ry Bre­ton exp­lai­ned the ambi­ti­on of the Data Stra­te­gy as key ele­ment of Europe's digi­tal future:

"My goal is to pre­pa­re our­sel­ves so the data pro­du­ced by Euro­peans will be used for Euro­peans, and with our Euro­pean values."

EU Com­mis­sio­ner Thier­ry Bre­ton

As the Euro­pean Data Stra­te­gy is more a stra­te­gic out­look and an announ­ce­ment defi­ning the frame­work for future acti­vi­ties of the Euro­pean Com­mis­si­on than a tech­no­lo­gi­cal sta­te of the art descrip­ti­on it remains rather vague in its natu­re. Nevertheless it men­ti­ons nine key domains in which data spaces should be crea­ted. It descri­bes the avai­la­bi­li­ty of lar­ge pools of data, an infra­st­ruc­tu­re to use and exchan­ge data as well as appro­pria­te gover­nan­ce mecha­nisms as key.

Using Data Sharing in the Best Way

This frame­work and the con­cept of data spaces is based on the ground­work done by the IDSA and its 110+ mem­bers from indus­try and rese­arch. Among them com­pa­nies like ATOS, Deut­sche Tele­kom, Engi­nee­ring, thys­sen­krupp and Volks­wa­gen, as well as rese­arch orga­ni­sa­ti­ons like Fraun­ho­fer, TNO and VTT. IDSA aims at open, fede­r­a­ted data eco­sys­tems and mar­ket­pla­ces ensu­ring data sov­er­eig­n­ty for the creator of the data.

The Big Data Value Asso­cia­ti­on BDVA was among the first asso­cia­ti­ons to anno­ta­te this data spaces approach and framed several requi­re­ments and recom­men­da­ti­ons for the future deve­lo­p­ment (Big Data Value Asso­cia­ti­on, 2019).

The spe­ci­fi­ca­ti­on of IDSA forms the basis for data mar­ket­pla­ces and data plat­forms based on Euro­pean values, i.e. data pri­va­cy and secu­ri­ty, equal oppor­tu­nities through a fede­r­a­ted design, and ensu­ring data sov­er­eig­n­ty for the creator of the data and trust among par­ti­ci­pants. It forms the stra­te­gic link bet­ween the crea­ti­on of data in the inter­net of things on the one hand and the use of this data in machi­ne lear­ning (ML) and arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence (AI) algo­rith­ms on the other.

"If data is the source of future com­pe­ti­ti­ve advan­ta­ge, we should be able to con­trol who is doing what for which pur­po­se with our data. This is what the IDS archi­tec­tu­re sup­ports. It is based on a peer-to-peer data sharing approach and does not requi­re any cen­tral data sto­rage. From the ear­ly days of the initia­ti­ve, com­pa­nies were eager to make sure they are not for­ced to dump their data into a cen­tral data lake of which nobo­dy knows who is fishing in it."

Prof. Dr. Boris Otto, Vice-Chair­man of the Board IDSA and Mana­ging Direc­tor Fraun­ho­fer ISST

Common design principles for data spaces

IDS is not a blank sheet but a vivid and strong initia­ti­ve which alrea­dy pro­ved that it is rea­dy to take respon­si­bi­li­ty for imple­men­ting the Euro­pean Data Stra­te­gy and hel­ping to crea­te the Euro­pean Data Space. IDSA is offe­ring the fol­lowing:

  1. Con­tri­bu­te know­ledge and tech­no­lo­gy to the envi­sa­ged high impact pro­ject on Euro­pean data spaces;
  2. Pro­vi­de data infra­st­ruc­tu­re ser­vices to the ope­ra­ti­ons of the nine Euro­pean data spaces through its sup­port orga­niz­a­ti­on;
  3. Pro­vi­de advi­so­ry, know­ledge and exper­ti­se to the Euro­pean Data Act;
  4. Pro­vi­de a com­mu­ni­ty of prac­ti­ce and a net­work of hubs and col­la­bo­ra­ti­ons to sup­port know­ledge sharing and build up of requi­red skills in the data eco­no­my across Euro­pe and bey­ond Euro­pean bor­ders.

In doing so, the imple­men­ta­ti­on of the Euro­pean Data Stra­te­gy will bene­fit from an estab­lis­hed net­work of exper­ti­se, data spaces know­ledge embo­di­ed in a matu­re refe­rence archi­tec­tu­re model, and rea­dy to use soft­ware arte­facts. This will speed up »time to mar­ket« of the stra­te­gy imple­men­ta­ti­on. IDSA loo­ks back on five years of paving the way for a fair data eco­no­my in Euro­pe and glo­bal­ly and is rea­dy to go.

"Let's build data spaces. But plea­se: make life easy by using com­mon design princi­ples. IDS is a very good star­ting point – let‘s dis­cuss and learn."

Lars Nagel, CEO Inter­na­tio­nal Data Spaces Asso­cia­ti­on

To build Euro­pean Data Spaces com­mon design princi­ples are nee­ded, for which IDS is a very good fun­da­ment. The list of requi­red mea­su­res inclu­des the fol­lowing:

  1. Making the IDS Refe­rence Archi­tec­tu­re Model (IDS RAM) a blue­print for the Euro­pean Data Space in order to speed up its imple­men­ta­ti­on in nine stra­te­gic are­as;
  2. Lever­aging the IDSA assets such as its mem­ber com­mu­ni­ty and hub struc­tu­re to crea­te awa­reness for the rele­van­ce and urgen­cy of data sov­er­eig­n­ty and to dis­se­mi­na­te Euro­pean values for the data eco­no­my;
  3. Sup­por­ting adop­ti­on and deploy­ment through fun­ding of app­li­ca­ti­on pro­jects and invest­ment in com­pe­ti­ti­ve data sov­er­eig­n­ty ser­vice pro­vi­ders in Euro­pe;
  4. Sup­por­ting IDS-based stan­dar­di­z­a­ti­on – e.g. on Euro­pean level at CEN and inter­na­tio­nal level at ISO – and IDS use in public ten­ders;
  5. Pro­mo­ting an »Archi­tec­tu­re of Stan­dards« – inclu­ding for examp­le the IDS RAM – as pro­po­sed by the GAIA‑X initia­ti­ve as the com­pre­hen­si­ve tech­no­lo­gy stan­dard frame­work for cloud and data sov­er­eig­n­ty in Euro­pe.

IDSA is con­nec­ted to many rele­vant initia­ti­ves across the glo­be inclu­ding BDVA, FIWARE, the Indus­tri­al Inter­net Con­sor­ti­um IIC, the Indus­tri­al Value Chain Initia­ti­ve, and the Platt­form Indus­trie 4.0. IDSA and its mem­ber orga­niz­a­ti­ons par­ti­ci­pa­te in more than 20 rese­arch pro­jects, main­ly in the EU Hori­zon 2020 pro­gram and on natio­nal level. Among others MIDIH, BOOST4.0, TRUSTS, AMa­ble, DIH², MARKET4.0, AI4EU, QUALITY, Level-Up, OPEN DEI and InDaSpacePlus. Tech­no­lo­gies are con­ti­nuous­ly matu­ring and deploy­ed in indus­tri­al expe­ri­ments and many pro­duc­ti­ve envi­ron­ments like the IDS Use Cases and first com­mer­cial pro­ducts.


Big Data Value Asso­cia­ti­on, 2019. Towards a Euro­pean Data Sharing Space. Enab­ling data exchan­ge and unlo­cking AI poten­ti­al. BDVA Posi­ti­on Paper.

Euro­pean Uni­on, 2020. Com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on: A Euro­pean stra­te­gy for data,

Euro­pean Uni­on, 2020. Facts­heet: the Euro­pean data stra­te­gy,

Inter­na­tio­nal Data Spaces Asso­cia­ti­on, 2019. Refe­rence Archi­tec­tu­re Model. Ver­si­on 3.0.

Inter­na­tio­nal Data Spaces Asso­cia­ti­on, 2020. Imple­men­ting the Euro­pean Stra­te­gy on Data. Role of the Inter­na­tio­nal Data Spaces (IDS). IDSA Posi­ti­on Paper.

Jar­ke, M., Otto, B., & Ram, S., 2019. Data sov­er­eig­n­ty and data space eco­sys­tems. Busi­ness & infor­ma­ti­on sys­tems engi­nee­ring61(5), 549–550. doi:10.1007/s12599-019–00614‑2

Recom­men­ded rea­ding:

World Eco­no­mic Forum, 2020. Share to Gain: Unlo­cking Data Value in Manu­fac­tu­ring. White Paper.