To begin an essay about this topic is a chal­len­ge in its­elf! This ques­ti­on seems to be a “digi­tal issue” which we might also ask in the con­text of the “digi­tal world”.

The issue: iden­ti­ty. This is quick­ly exp­lai­ned with an Inter­net search and a bit of copy and pas­te. Finis­hed! And again: digi­tal. Finis­hed!

What I find a lot more inte­res­ting is to ask what can I do with an iden­ti­ty! If you have an iden­ti­ty, you can authen­ti­ca­te yourself for a com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on part­ner: the recei­ving part­ner trusts this authen­ti­ca­ti­on and is also wil­ling to give infor­ma­ti­on if a fun­da­men­tal pre­mi­se is ful­fil­led: name­ly that he/she, i.e. the giver, aut­ho­ri­ses this as well.

What I find to be the most inte­res­ting thing is that this tri­ad of “iden­ti­ty, authen­ti­ca­ti­on und aut­ho­ri­sa­ti­on” is to be heard ever­y­whe­re. Howe­ver, it sud­den­ly beco­mes silent as soon as a cross-domain solu­ti­on is wan­ted.

Does a sen­sor in “Com­pa­ny A’s” domain eager­ly pro­vi­de infor­ma­ti­on to the moni­to­ring soft­ware in “Com­pa­ny B’s” domain? Is the moni­to­ring soft­ware allo­wed to do that, and if so, on what con­di­ti­ons? How did the soft­ware find the sen­sor any­way? Simp­le ques­ti­ons that ari­se with every dia­gram and chart the wil­ling rea­der attempts to ful­ly under­stand.

In the “Annu­al 2013/2014, digi­tal infra­st­ruc­tures, working group 2 of the natio­nal IT sum­mit (AG2)” on page 295, I dis­co­ve­r­ed that: “… for effi­ci­ent ope­ra­ti­ons a sui­ta­ble device iden­ti­ty manage­ment com­po­nent is requi­red, …” and that the­re is obvious­ly need for action.

At this year’s (2017) IoT World in Bar­ce­lo­na I gazed in awe at nume­rous inte­res­ting and pro­pi­tious solu­ti­ons! In the dis­cus­sions howe­ver I always got the same ans­wer: i.e. that the ques­ti­on of cross-domain “digi­tal iden­ti­ty” has still not got any­whe­re near to get­ting a reli­able ans­wer.

And visi­t­ing the working group 3 “Secu­ri­ty of net­wor­ked sys­tems“ at Plat­form Indus­try 4.0 (Ber­lin, Octo­ber 2017) demons­tra­ted that the “digi­tal iden­ti­ty” in a sub-working group i4.0/IDS will defi­ni­te­ly initia­te some dis­cus­sions.

If you replace the “device” quo­te in the annu­al with “con­nec­tor”, then we are get­ting as clo­se as pos­si­ble to Indus­tri­al Data Space and “digi­tal iden­ti­ty” beco­mes tan­gi­ble (and the tri­ad beco­mes audi­ble again): which IDS Con­su­mer Con­nec­tor is allo­wed to eli­cit data from this IDS Pro­vi­der Con­nec­tor? And if the Pro­vi­der Con­nec­tor imparts data – which data and on which basis does it for­mu­la­te the usa­ge con­trol which obli­ges the Con­su­mer Con­nec­tor to pro­ceed with the data in an aut­ho­ri­sed way?

In time the­re will be a first attempt which will be sui­ta­ble for kee­ping the “digi­tal iden­ti­ties” of the con­nec­tors par­ti­ci­pa­ting in a mul­ti-domain topo­lo­gy avail­ab­le in an “iden­ti­ty pro­vi­der” IDS Con­nec­tor.

Sub­se­quent­ly, nicos will be able to show­ca­se the first draft of an IDS Bro­ker that will give us an under­stan­ding of the tri­ad with a ser­vice: the aut­ho­ri­sa­ti­on ser­vice.

nicos AG has been a mem­ber of the Indus­tri­al Data Space Asso­cia­ti­on sin­ce the begin­ning of 2017. Jörg Lang­kau is dedi­ca­ted to the fur­ther deve­lo­p­ment of Indus­tri­al Data Space. On Twit­ter you can fol­low the mana­ging direc­tor of nicos Rese­arch & Deve­lo­p­ment GmbH at @LostinDataSpace.