Public-private data sharing models: the example of the International Data Spaces Association

Fecha de la noticia: 23-01-2020

intercambio de datos público-privado

The availability of quality data is an indispensable element in the growth path of new economies based on digital assets. However, the data alone is not enough. Sharing mechanisms are necessary to ensure a controlled custody chain.

Having quality data catalogs, supervised, updated and available in the appropriate formats (for both machines and humans) is essential for the development of data-driven economies. However, there are many occasions that we find an abundance of data from a certain sector but it is really difficult to develop use cases that add value to consumers or end customers. Probably, the sector most affected by this problem is the health sector. Public-private health systems and big technology companies that sell wearable gadgets and monitoring devices, such as smartwatches or smart wristbands, have large sets of health data from their clients, but we do not perceive real value extracted from all these datasets yet.

We are, therefore, faced with a problem that has not so much to do with the availability of data, but with the absence of regulated mechanisms for the exchange and exploitation of data under rules and policies that ensure the custody and privacy of personal data. The health sector is not the only one suffering from this problem. The industry, potentially generating huge amounts of data (production, quality, traceability, etc.), does not have standard mechanisms for sharing data throughout the entire supply chain.

Of course, there are different initiatives that reflect on this problem even if its level of maturity, recognition and implementation are still low. In this regard, the COTEC Foundation for innovation has recently published a Guide for the opening and sharing of data in the business environment, with recommendations and good practices to promote data reuse in the private sector. In this guide you can find several success stories of companies that have decided to open and share their data.

The International Data Spaces Association

As we have just said, there are different, probably many, initiatives that encourage and enhance the opening and reuse of data. One of these open data initiatives is the International Data Spaces Association. This association states that, companies can share their data with the aim of increasing their value without fear of losing data control or security.

The International Data Spaces (IDS) is a peer-to-peer network, a virtual data space, that supports the secure data sharing in business ecosystems on the basis of standards and through common governance models. Within the framework of this partnership, data security and sovereignty are the essential characteristics in data ecosystems. Let´s imagine, for example, the supply chain in the fresh food products sector. From the producer to the final consumer, the product (and therefore, its digital trace of data and metadata) passes through all the links in the supply chain. The owners of the data (all participants in the chain) maintain control over their data while complying with their own security standards. In the IDS partner ecosystem, data is securely sharing on demand if is requested by certified and reliable partners. This infographic suitably summarizes the structure and purpose of the IDS

The IDS provides a formal framework for its partners, as well as tools and mechanisms for the development of data integrations within this framework. In this way, the IDS makes a structure available to its associates that provides:

  • Blue-prints and reference architectures to implement for its associates.
  • Test beds where associates can experiment.
  • A structure of territorial Hubs to contact and start working with the IDS. In Spain, the Hub is located in Innovalia a technological centre of Bilbao.
  • Certified partners program to become part of the association.

Finally, in the IDS we can find the use cases or success stories that the association already has. A use case that stand out is one that has been developed with the Bosch company, for the automotive sector, specifically in the area of ​​the supply chain. External phenomena can have very negative effects on the proper functioning of the supply chain in a market as fragmented as the automotive industry. A vehicle is a very long and complex integration of elements, manufacturers and intermediaries. A correct analysis of the risks that impact the supply chain can save billions of euros if the company is able to react on time. The key to having all the valuable information is the fluid and reliable data sharing that affects the integration and logistics chain. Under the basis of the IDS reference framework, the companies participating in this use case, integrated their information systems with the reference architecture suggested by the IDS to ensure a correct flow of important data along the chain. For more information on this use case you can consult the source here.

In conclusion, we have seen how the IDS is a good example of international public-private collaboration (100 members from 19 countries that formal cooperate with other international platforms) around the opening and reuse of data. The IDS is a non-profit association in which all its members have the same rights of use on the results. The guides and principles of good practices, as well as the technological tools suggested by these associations, facilitate and accelerate the processes of adoption of such projects in organizations. No organization, whether public or private, has an excuse for not starting its data opening processes, since they have the technological and legal keys at their disposal to start doing it with complete security and tranquillity.

Content prepared by Alejandro Alija, expert in Digital Transformation and innovation.

Contents and points of view expressed in this publication are the exclusive responsibility of its author.