Fraunhofer initiative for secure data space launched

Press Release /

The third top-level discussion on the Industrial Data Space was held at the Fraunhofer-Forum Berlin on September 23. The goal of the initiative is to enable companies to securely exchange and combine data. It helps companies make their production and business processes fit for digitalization, thus creating a foundation for business model innovation. The Industrial Data Space concept is aimed at establishing comprehensive, cross-sector connectivity in an open data space. This will make it easier for companies to utilize the potential of digitalization in their business models without relinquishing control over their data.

© Matthias Heyde/Fraunhofer
Presentation of the notice of funding approval for the Industrial Data Space in Berlin on September 23, 2015.(president of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft), Dr. Georg Schuette (state secretary at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Prof. Boris Otto (director of the Fraunhofer Innovation Center for Logistics and IT), Prof. Michael ten Hompel (director of the Fraunhofer Institutes for Material Flow and Logistics IML and for Software and Systems Engineering ISST) (from left to right).,Personen v.l.n.r.: Prof. Dr. Stefan Wrobel, Prof. Dr. Reimund Neugebauer, Dr. Georg Schütte, Prof. Dr. Boris Otto, Prof. Dr. Michael ten Hompel,Personen v.l.n.r.: Prof. Dr. Stefan Wrobel, Prof. Dr. Reimund Neugebauer, Dr. Georg Schütte, Prof. Dr. Boris Otto, Prof. Dr. Michael ten Hompel
© Matthias Heyde/Fraunhofer
Companies signed a memorandum of understanding on the foundation of a non-profit association
  • Pre-competitive funding project to develop a reference architecture model over the next three years and pilot use cases

  • Companies signed a memorandum of understanding on the foundation of a non-profit association

Digital sovereignty over data and the security of that data are key issues in the Industrial Data Space. Data will be shared between certified partners only when it is truly required by the user of that data for a value-added service. Further, the data services of the Industrial Data Space will help companies develop their own value-added services.

“We’ve achieved some major interim goals in recent weeks. The requirements for the reference architecture model to be developed have been specified in much greater detail, and four use cases have been identified in the subject areas of transparency in supply chains, automobility, and transparency and compliance of pharmaceutical products,” said Prof. Neugebauer, president of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. “We remain open to all companies that wish to participate in the project, from SMEs to large corporate groups.”

“Germany and industry 4.0 go hand in hand. We want to take advantage of the opportunities this new industrial revolution offers, and to shape the trend. Business and research must work together to find new solutions. That is why we welcome the Industrial Data Space and the dedication shown by businesses in a variety of sectors in the context of this Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft initiative. From my perspective, this is an important approach to ensuring the success of innovative production and business processes in industry 4.0 and beyond, and we support it,” said Dr. Georg Schütte, state secretary at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The BMBF is providing the new research project “InDaSpace” with about five million euros in funding, which will help develop key software components for the Industrial Data Space and test them in practical application scenarios.

Company representatives joined the top-level talks to discuss with Fraunhofer and the BMBF the lines of action for the reference architecture model and potential project use cases. It was decided that Fraunhofer and the companies would jointly establish a non-profit association, also called Industrial Data Space. This non-profit association pools the requirements for the Industrial Data Space, organizes the sharing of experience and develops guidelines for the certification, standardization and utilization of the project outcomes. The Industrial Data Space is open to international partners, and the association’s foundation is planned for January 2016. The following companies signed the memorandum of understanding: ATOS, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Fraunhofer, KOMSA, PricewaterhouseCoopers, REWE, Salzgitter, SICK, Thyssen-Krupp, TÜV Nord, Volkswagen and ZVEI.

“The Industrial Data Space initiative allows us to acquire experience together, to implement security as a process and to create trust in secure data spaces. The result must be secure, open and suitable for use worldwide,” explains Dr. Klaus Mittelbach, chief executive officer of the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association (ZVEI).

The following basic principles form the framework for the technological concept of the Industrial Data Space: securely sharing data along the entire data supply chain and easily combining own data with publicly available data (such as weather and traffic information, geodata, etc.) and semi-public data, such as from a specific value chain. Sovereignty over data – that is, control over who has what rights in what context – is just as important as legal certainty, which will be ensured by certifying participants, data sources and data services. “Community governance, in the form of clearly defined rules that each participant undertakes to follow, is at the core of secure data spaces,” said Prof. Boris Otto, who coordinates the project in which 11 Fraunhofer Institutes are participating.

The reference architecture model should be seen as a blueprint for secure data exchange and efficient data combination. It can be configured on a case-by-case basis, making it a suitable foundation for a variety of forms of market implementation. Fraunhofer will pilot the model, validate it in selected use cases and determine whether existing approaches, technologies and standards can be implemented. In the pilot phase, the aspects of the model that relate to industry 4.0 will be linked with the testbed initiative of the industry 4.0 platform.