A platform for secure and efficient cross-company data exchange
by Dr. Karsten Schweichhart
Data has turned into one of the most valuable resources in the world. To be shared across companies in order to improve products and services, data must be made available via electronic platforms such as theDeutsche Telekom’s Data Intelligence Hub (DIH). One of its central components is the DIH Data Broker – beside the IDS Connector and the Analytics Workbench. All DIH components are based on the IDS reference architecture.
DIH is an independent platform facilitating secure and efficient exchange of data between companies. It offers companies support in processing and analyzing unstructured data, as it helps transform the data into business relevant insights. DIH’s decentral reference architecture is provided by the International Data Spaces (IDS) initiative, ensuring data security and data sovereignty for each participating company. DIH thereby overcomes the biggest hurdle when it comes to making data available to be used by other companies: fear of data misuse and intellectual property rights violations.
DIH Data Broker as an interface between machines
The DIH also provides a neutral data broker. It organizes the flow of information on the platform in real time and using end-to-end encryption. This ensures that all transactions between a data provider and a data consumer take place between these two parties exclusively, and that each transaction is logged and documented for possible legal clarification afterwards. For each dataset made available to a data consumer, the data provider can define a data usage policy specifying what may be done with the data, who is allowed to see or use the data, and for how long. The data is not stored anywhere else, i.e. neither anywhere else outside the platform nor by any central entity on the platform.
The DIH Data Broker is already being used in multiple settings. In the manufacturing industry, for example, the DIH Data Broker is used in connection with ‘umati’ (universal machine technology interface). Umati is a standardized interface used in the domain of mechanical engineering, by which machines and entire production lines can be safely integrated with customer and user specific IT ecosystems. So far, the umati demonstrator connects over one hundred globally distributed machines of over seventy manufacturers with about the same number of data consumers using the data to feed their products and services. At the same time, the manufacturers use (i.e. evaluate) the machine data themselves to further improve their engineering and customer service expertise.
Smart data used by smart cities
Another domain in which the DIH Data Broker is used are smart cities. Together with the city of Barcelona, the German lighting manufacturer Osram uses the DIH Data Broker to make street lighting data available to certain user groups. The city of Bonn uses the DIH Data Broker to provide interested users access to its open-data.
With regard to overcoming the coronavirus crisis as quickly as possible, the DIH Data Broker is discussed as a possibility to make data generated by mobile phones anonymously available for being evaluated by government authorities on the basis of clearly defined data usage policies.