As a universal technical infrastructure for the exchange of any data, the International Data Spaces do not have any direct technical reference to the application field of logistics and supply chain management. In fact, this is neither their mission nor their function and it is therefore not what is important to the Silicon Economy project. The Silicon Economy has rather set itself the task of using the International Data Spaces in a way that industry-specific applications become possible in the data space. Indeed, in logistics and supply chain management, it is all about implementing new business models and contract and payment concepts, the integration of new technical possibilities (mainly from the areas of communication and artificial intelligence) and the specific use of developments for new joint and cross-company processes and services by means of the International Data Spaces. Using the International Data Spaces, the Silicon Economy does not focus on the data itself or the exchange of this data. While data spaces are mostly perceived by companies and organizations as serving the provision of data, the Silicon Economy always associates them with the deployment of specific services.
Services instead of data: The Silicon Economy’s view on IDS
The Silicon Economy’s approach to leveraging the International Data Spaces is as intelligent and innovative as its idea of a platform economy. In both cases, the process is not actually driven by individual companies but by a community. This will emerge in holistic open source solutions supported by a community instead of – as in the past – individual, proprietary and therefore isolated solutions that so far have not been able to significantly advance digitalization in logistics in its entirety. Logistics companies – whether they are logistics service providers or logistics IT companies, corporations, SMEs or start-ups – now have the opportunity in the Silicon Economy to help shape logistics data spaces. Many have been using it already. The emerging community will guarantee and ensure that no company is excluded from using the digital infrastructure in logistics – be it the open source components of the Silicon Economy or the International Data Spaces.
Logistics will use many data (sub)spaces in parallel
It is this community that is not only bringing a new spirit and commitment to the use of International Data Spaces, but also initiating a paradigm shift in how to build and use them. Just as the Silicon Economy relies on a distributed system, the data space for logistics and supply chain management will be an environment with many sub-areas. Each company will use a subspace or its specific application that only its partners – employees, customers, suppliers – can access. Of course, comprehensive communication and links between these subspaces are expedient and possible at any time.
The number of companies in some of these subspaces could be very small, for example, when it concerns an application for breaks management; in others, however, there might be ten, 20 or 100 companies when it comes to a service for optimizing fresh logistics in air freight or a service for reducing the planning and organizational effort in the field of C-parts management involving many participants. However, as all services and the appropriate platforms that make them available are built on the same basis – i.e., the open source components of the Silicon Economy – companies can easily integrate new partners in their data subspace.
The data space for logistics and supply chain management which is still abstract today will constantly increase by means of these parallel subspaces on the basis of specific applications. The data generated there will remain with the companies themselves. Nevertheless, the companies can also access data from other data spaces in the International Data Spaces of course, e.g., public and/or paid data in the Mobility data space.
Software construction kit offers International Data Spaces access to logistics companies
The connection to the International Data Spaces is, in fact, made via a Data Space connector. A newly developed software toolbox is already available in the Silicon Economy that enables logistics companies to integrate such a data space connector quickly and easily in their IT landscape.