Keeping sovereignty of data
"In an increasingly digitalised world, data security and data sovereignty are of existential importance to companies," says Professor Reimund Neugebauer, President of the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft. That is why, together with industry and in cooperation with the federal government, Fraunhofer wants to create an internationally open and at the same time secure data space: Industrial Data Space. "Companies need this kind of protected space, where they can share and exchange data with each other based on rules established by themselves without having to give up control of their information," explains Professor Boris Otto, who is coordinating the project that twelve Fraunhofer Institutes are involved in.
The Industrial Data Space is supposed to allow for the secure exchange of data along the entire data supply chain as well as easily combining one’s own data with public information, for example weather, traffic and geographical data, based on a federal data management concept. Another focus is on protecting confidentiality, which is guaranteed by certifying participants, data sources and services.
Data is going to be just as important as capital, labour forces or commodities in a digital economy. It allows for innovative products, services, processes and forms of work organisation to be developed. As a result, for example, information from health insurance companies, patients and providers of pharmaceutical products may help medication and treatment concepts to be launched on the market more effectively and individually.
However, the companies and patients involved must keep sovereignty of their data at all times during the process. "The Industrial Data Space helps them to use this potential for innovation and provides basic services for handling data confidentially, for example by making information anonymous, through integration services and by setting "expiry dates" for the use of data," explains Otto.
Fraunhofer is working closely together with politics and industry on this project. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding a research project on Industrial Data Space with roughly five million euros. The foundation of an Industrial Data Space non-profit association supported by Fraunhofer and companies is also being planned for January 2016.
The Memorandum of Understanding for this has already been signed by ATOS, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Fraunhofer, KOMSA, PricewaterhouseCoopers, REWE, Salzgitter, SICK, Thyssen-Krupp, TÜV Nord, Volkswagen and the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association. Fraunhofer experts are presenting the initial results regarding the Industrial Data Space at CeBIT 2016.