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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 the Deut­sche 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.

Deut­sche Tele­kom is a mem­ber of the IDS Laun­ching Coali­ti­on.

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