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:
- Contribute knowledge and technology to the envisaged high impact project on European data spaces;
- Provide data infrastructure services to the operations of the nine European data spaces through its support organization;
- Provide advisory, knowledge and expertise to the European Data Act;
- 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:
- 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;
- 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;
- Supporting adoption and deployment through funding of application projects and investment in competitive data sovereignty service providers in Europe;
- Supporting IDS-based standardization – e.g. on European level at CEN and international level at ISO – and IDS use in public tenders;
- 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. http://www.bdva.eu/sites/default/files/BDVA%20DataSharingSpace%20PositionPaper_April2019_V1.pdf
European Union, 2020. Communication: A European strategy for data, https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/communication-european-strategy-data-19feb2020_en.pdf
European Union, 2020. Factsheet: the European data strategy, https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/fs_20_283
International Data Spaces Association, 2019. Reference Architecture Model. Version 3.0. https://www.internationaldataspaces.org/ids-reference-architecture-model/
International Data Spaces Association, 2020. Implementing the European Strategy on Data. Role of the International Data Spaces (IDS). IDSA Position Paper. https://www.internationaldataspaces.org/publications/position-paper-european-data-strategy-role-of-ids
Jarke, M., Otto, B., & Ram, S., 2019. Data sovereignty and data space ecosystems. Business & information systems engineering, 61(5), 549–550. doi:10.1007/s12599-019–00614‑2
World Economic Forum, 2020. Share to Gain: Unlocking Data Value in Manufacturing. White Paper. https://www.internationaldataspaces.org/world-economic-forum-report-share-to-gain/