“Digitization is like structural change for many sectors and companies", Prof. Dr. Boris Otto, head of the Industrial Data Space research project, emphasized at the first EU-Stakeholder Forum of the "Digitizing European Industry" initiative on January 31. The Managing Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Software and System Technology (ISST) welcomed 20 participants of the forum to a site visit Dortmund in the middle of the Ruhr Region that day. Whereas this former mining region has already redefined and restructured itself, Otto said in his welcome speech, this change is still imminent for many companies in these times of Industry 4.0: “Data sovereignty is one of the fundamental conditions companies need fulfil in order to master that challenge. Industrial Data Space intends to make that possible." How exactly that is supposed to work was demonstrated in presentations and discussions on the topic of “Industrial Data Space – A European Initiative on Data Sovereignty". For two hours, the audience got an overview of the current status and insights into the next milestones for the Industrial Data Space research project.
That included the first public presentation of the current draft of the reference architecture introduced by Dr. Steffen Lohmann (Fraunhofer IAIS). Dr.-Ing. Alireza Tavakoli (thyssenkrupp AG) presented another milestone with the first use case that has been successfully implemented in practice. thyssenkrupp has connected suppliers and trucks via Industrial Data Space to optimize and get better control over the supply chain and make times for loading and unloading more flexible. “That is of benefit for us as a company and for our customers as well", says Tavakoli.
Ulrich Ahle, responsible for Industry 4.0 at Atos and member of the board of the Industrial Data Space Association, illustrated examples for new business models on the basis of Industrial Data Space. Prof. Egbert-Jan Sol (TNO) and Oscar Lazaro (Innovalia) gave examples for international Industrial Data Space hub activities at the end of the site visit at Fraunhofer ISST.
The first Stakeholder Forum put on by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the European Commission was officially opened in the Grand Hall at Zollverein in Essen. After speeches by the State Secretary Matthias Machnig and Günther Oettinger, EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, different aspects of Industry 4.0 were discussed and national initiatives for the digitization of industry and Industry 4.0 were presented. The conference programme also included workshops on the topics of "Digital Innovation Hubs", "Digital Platforms for the industry of tomorrow" and "Regulatory challenges for digitizing industry". An exhibition area where the Industrial Data Space Association was also present offered more information about national and European initiatives and introduced successful examples for the use of digital technologies.