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Data Spaces are here to boost the European and the global economy

Dominique Epardeau
Dominique Epardeau, vice chairperson of the Mobility Dataspace

Juan Giron interviewed the Vice Chairperson of the Mobility Dataspace, Dominique Epardeau on the role of Data Space for the European economy.

This Parisian senior executive comes from the world of finance. Dominique Epardeau has been living in Cannes, on the French Riviera, for 25 years. In Sophia Antipolis, the ‘French Silicon Valley’, she has developed a solid career as financial controller at the travel technology giant Amadeus. A founding member of Gaia-X, Amadeus launched the mobility dataspace in 2020. 
Dominique has seen a great deal of the world. Her father was a doctor in tropical medicine and so she was able to travel with him in Africa (Madagascar) and the Far East (Laos), among other international destinations. It is therefore not surprising that Dominique's current field of expertise is dataspaces in borderless cloud and data infrastructures; in other words, her specialty is about data flowing through territories stretching out of sight. Presently, she is vice chairperson of the Mobility Dataspace and also the chairperson of the Finance Committee for the Business Dataspace Committee. 
 

Let's start with the basics, Dominique. What are dataspaces and what are they for?

We see dataspaces as digital infrastructures that facilitate the transparent sharing of high-quality standardized datasets among several stakeholders, such as governments, citizens, academia, and industry, in a sovereign, open, trusted, versatile, decentralized, secure and controlled manner. This implies the creation of an ecosystem that will offer all players – developers, data providers, data owners, and end users - unprecedented security and sovereignty for the shared data as well as a uniform access to data from both private and public sectors. Dataspaces will also enable the birth and growth of new business models, services and distribution channels that will boost the European and even the global economy. 
 

You are working on creating a data space based on mobility. What are the benefits?

The idea behind this initiative is to make possible the exchange of data in a trusted environment where the data owners keep the full control of their information, while choosing how they want to share data, for how long, with whom, at what price. This trusted environment aims at unlocking data which were previously not shared between players. 
Any company can contribute to the mobility ecosystem, either by sharing data or by providing services, such as analytics based on these data.
 

There is a lot of talk about a new cloud and data infrastructure for Europe, but how would this project really benefit the citizens and companies that embrace it?

I see several benefits in these initiatives. Let me mention five of them to start with:  

  1. The EU citizen will have the opportunity to use a trusted cloud based on EU regulations and values.  
  2. The architecture of the new cloud and data exchange is designed to ensure that data owners can decide how they want to exchange their data, in compliance with EU values in terms of data governance and security  
  3. One of the EU main priorities is focused on promoting green and safe solutions and that will benefit all the citizens in the EU and the sustainability of the initiative as a whole 
  4. Edge solutions will significantly facilitate the access to the cloud for small business 
  5. It will enable interoperability between the information and the systems with an “easy” reversibility. 
     

The business of collecting and selling personal data on the Internet is booming. It is said to be one of the most lucrative on the net. Large companies have been collecting our data for years and making money with them. The business is much broader and diverse now. Through what we share on social networks, other firms collect a big chunk of citizens’ information. These companies commercialize our data and get substantial profits out of it. Do data spaces have an answer to this?

The answer to that will come through dataspaces being widely used. With dataspaces, data owners can decide exactly what has to be exchanged and how. There will be many dataspaces organized according to these EU principles, and this will result in many more opportunities to better balance the share of the value creation between all the players.