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Data spaces

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What are they?

In general, the term “data space” refers to a type of data relationship between trusted partners, each of whom apply the same high standards and rules to the storage and sharing of their data. However, of key importance to the concept of a data space is that data are not stored centrally but at source and are therefore only shared (via semantic interoperability) when necessary. In the Gaia-X context, the data in the data spaces is held exclusively be the members of the Association.

A data space is comprised of the sum of all its participants – which may be data providers, users and intermediaries. Data spaces can be nested and overlapping, so that a data provider, for example, can participate in several data spaces all at once. Data sovereignty and trust are essential for the working of data spaces and the relationships between participants. To ensure these, the International Data Spaces Association (IDSA), a founding member of the Gaia-X AISBL, has proposed a reference architecture model for participants. Each data space provides specific data and thereby forms a solid ground for each ecosystem. The software required to implement data spaces runs on cloud/edge cloud infrastructures. 

Which data spaces exist?

  • More than 50 participants have joined the Industry 4.0/SME data space, which is growing steadily. This data space currently comprises six use cases arising from production scenarios, including collaborative manufacturing and supply chain processes, machines with virtual avatars and interfaces between two different industries, such as supply chains, transport and health. 

  • The Health Data Space is working to build a consortium of public bodies and private companies to promote the use of digital technologies and cloud solutions that will transform the delivery of health care. The Gaia-X secure ecosystem will be able to address some of the problems that were highlighted by the Covid-19 pandemic, including the absence of interoperability between systems and the prevalence of health data silos.

  • Trusted data space supporting energy services and fostering collaboration between all stakeholders is a cornerstone of the decarbonization of the energy sector. Today, a broad representation of European energy companies, academic and technological partners have joined Gaia-X to build the European energy dataspace. We aim to address the following challenges, thanks to data-sharing possibilities in a transparent and secured manner:

    Accelerate the deployment of low carbon energy solutions

    • Foster energy efficiency and sector coupling (integration of power, gases, hydrogen across buildings/heating systems, mobility, and industry...)
    • Enable more flexibility to integrate renewable energy in the European electric system
    • Accelerate the energy system digitalization
    • Maintain the European Union technological sovereignty and global competitiveness in the energy sector

    We project to develop uses cases on eight key energy topics: renewables, hydrogen, nuclear, energy efficiency, electric vehicles, local energy communities, networks and compliance and traceability.

    We invite all European companies, including start-ups, suppliers and energy producers working in the energy sector to join us! Have a look at the energy data space presentation.

  • The Mobility Data Space aims at enhancing user experience in mobility, while creating new business opportunities for the ecosystem’s members. While addressing the challenge that travel data tends to held in many different places and by a wide range of actors such as airlines and hotels, the key question is how to ensure data sovereignty, guarantee privacy and nurture trade while this industry is in a state of flux.

  • The Finance and Insurance data space, having been established by French and German banks, European cloud service providers and insurance companies, is now extending its invitation to other countries, companies and smaller actors in the field of technology. It is currently working to prioritise its aims for 2021 and is setting up the relevant working groups.

  • A data space focusing on Space was established at the end of November 2020. Given the extent to which our everyday lives depend on space data, it is crucial that this data can be handled securely and efficiently, ensuring European data sovereignty.

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But that’s not all. More data spaces, such as “Smart Living”, “Public Sector”, “Agriculture”, “Education”, “Geoinformation” and “Smart City” are planned or are currently in development. We regularly publish information on this in our News and on this page.

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