In an economic development characterized by distributed added valued networks, there is a business imperative for companies to share data today. Modern products and services arise from the interplay between several players. The focus here is on a complete data chain – from data generation in the Internet of Things to the organization of (logistics) processes. The essential features for this are being developed in the Silicon Economy with the aim of establishing a platform ecosystem. Data must be shared beyond company boundaries for the Silicon Economy concept to work. Therefore, the integration of an all-connecting secure data space is essential to the »Big Picture« of the Silicon Economy. Only a complete digital infrastructure enables comprehensive transparency in value creation networks and creates trust along complete supply chains – from raw material suppliers to end customers – perhaps the most important prerequisite for the participation of all companies.

Data is knowledge, knowledge is power

Any type of platform, whether B2C or B2B, centralizes the processing and distribution of data. Data is transferred to a single company. In Europe, we view data fundamentally as raw material for knowledge. Knowledge, however, is power. Therefore, it may not always be so good to put data in the hands of an individual. As a result, there can be concentration effects which seem to be monopolizing and may even inhibit innovation in the end. That’s why we have to succeed in creating data spaces in which the physical and digital world actually build a unit. That is exactly what the International Data Spaces and the Gaia-X initiative stand for.

In fact, digitization today is essentially a question of trust between companies, between network partners. We are all familiar with the private use of social networks and digital services such as navigation apps. We make our data available to the providers quite naturally and thus reveal a lot about ourselves. Today, this largely works in practice because we also receive something in return. However, we are now on the threshold of transferring this concept to industrial applications, and this raises new questions.  

The International Data Spaces (IDS), on which the International Data Spaces Association (IDSA) is working together with Fraunhofer, regulate the handling of data when it is used (data-in-use). By means of the IDS architecture, the terms and conditions of use for the data are also exchanged when data is exchanged across companies. This provides the terms and conditions for the data economy. However, the question of how to save the data was still unanswered until now. That will change with Gaia-X. Decentralized data spaces such as Gaia-X are technically more complex than just having one big pot for data storage at its center. But they are necessary to build up trust. Gaia-X is the European answer to how companies can collaborate on data – a context for secure and fair data sharing where the data provider keeps control over what happens to its data. 

Sovereignty is the common objective

Sovereignty is a topic that connects the Silicon Economy venture, International Data Spaces and Gaia-X. Logistics is dependent on a software infrastructure that companies can trust and even help shape themselves – and as a pioneer in the digitalization of value added networks it is one of the first and most natural applications for the secure data space and the cloud.