GAIA-X: How data sharing ecosystems offer a new source of value
We all too often treat data as property that needs to be jealously hoarded and protected. But to fully exploit its value, we need to move to an era of fair data in which trustworthy data sharing ecosystems draw out new sources of value.
In this blog, I explore five diverse examples of data sharing ecosystems that are already delivering value: Mundi Web Services, Agdatahub, Artemis, Ekitia and Fiware. But before I do that, let me introduce the GAIA-X initiative.
Introducing the GAIA-X initiative
The GAIA-X initiative is a non-profit organization set up to create the next generation of data platforms for Europe, its Member States, companies and citizens. It will offer interoperable and portable services to help European stakeholders use and exchange data securely within sector-specific ecosystems. To date, consortium members – including Atos – have set architecture rules and standards. They have also put enormous effort into mobilizing ecosystems and launching data spaces for individual sectors.
For the second stage of the project, the consortium will define use case frameworks for individual sectors, build roadmaps and launch prototypes. They’ll answer the question: “What can data platforms deliver in sectors as varied as finance, energy, education, mobility, health, agriculture or even manufacturing?”.
What can data platforms deliver in sectors as varied as finance, energy, education, mobility, health, agriculture or even manufacturing?
Mundi Web Services: Capitalizing on Earth observation data
Mundi Web Services makes data from European satellites available for new business models by letting businesses combine data coming from the Copernicus Earth observation programme with their own. Businesses can then perform complex calculations on the combined data set to open up a wealth of opportunities. As a result, players across various industries – including insurance, agriculture and even urban planning – can develop customized services and market them in a marketplace.
Early in 2020, for instance, Mundi Web Services helped farmers in their fight against the spread of datura, a toxic plant that contaminates fields of maize and French beans. Mundi is also helping European popcorn leader Nataïs monitor its harvests.
We head the Mundi consortium on behalf of the European Commission and ESA (the European Space Agency). Consortium members include secure cloud, satellite imagery and Earth observation operators (DLR, e-Geos, EOX, GAF, Sinergise, Spacemetric, Thales Alenia Space and T-Systems).
Agdatahub: Protecting and exploiting French agricultural data
A member of the GAIA-X consortium from day one, the Agdatahub initiative aggregates data from several thousand European agricultural stakeholders, including technical and agricultural institutes, chambers of agriculture and private-sector organizations. Its purpose is two-fold: to help those stakeholders regain control over their data and to encourage them to develop new services.
The platform stores the 2.5 billion billion pieces of data produced by European farms’ digital agriculture every day in a sovereign European space. Stakeholders can then exchange that data where data owners have given their consent.
Agdatahub was set up with the help of 3DS Outscale (storage), Dawex (exchange), Orange Business Service (blockchain and consent), GS1 (standardization), the Numagri consortium and API-Agro.
Artemis: A sovereign Big Data platform
The Artemis project – where Artemis is a French acronym for multi-source information processing and massive exploitation architecture – makes Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) available to the French army. Launched by the French government armaments agency, the project provides the Ministry of the Armed Forces with sovereign data storage and massive processing infrastructure based on ground-breaking civilian AI applications from SMEs, start-ups and laboratories.
The Artemis ecosystem’s long-term goal is to encourage others to develop AI applications for massive data processing. These applications may give the military insights vital for making the best decisions fast. The project has identified six use cases to illustrate how new capacities provided by digital technologies can benefit the military: forward planning and maintenance, knowledge sharing and synthesis, carrier mobility, the state of health of personnel, processing and correlating heterogeneous data, and network analysis.
Ekitia: Providing a trustworthy space for economic agents
Set up in March 2020, France’s Ekitia regional data center ensures data sharing and correlation between the economic agents of a region is ethical, transparent and trustworthy. This ‘public interest group’ works on legal and ethical legal matters, technical solutions, use cases and business models for sharing data between agents, including private-sector and state-owned companies, local authorities, academics and even competitive clusters.
Ekiti’s beginnings lie in the French ‘Occitanie Data’ association formed to prefigure the public interest group, among other things, by drawing up a collaborative code of ethics to establish guidelines for exchanges between its stakeholders. The initiative may evolve to become a quality label by the end of 2021. Despite its local roots, Ekitia is a multi-sectoral and multi-territorial initiative with several dozen public and private-sector members, including us.
Fiware: Proposing an open source framework for sovereign territories
Formed in 2016, the Fiware platform provides open source and universal components to help European stakeholders build intelligent services without relying on American and Chinese technologies. Its beneficiaries include town councils, local authorities, private-sector companies and associations.
At its core, Fiware provides a central platform for diverse forms of data coming from diverse sources. Mobility companies and local authorities can then use the correlated data to create intelligent services. A module called ‘Orion Context Broker’ analyses a given situation to contextualize and personalize information.
In might, for instance, enhance public transport timetables by suggesting transport routes optimized according to traffic conditions.
The European Union Fiware initiated this open source framework. It is now controlled and run by an independent foundation, of which we are proud to be one of the founding members. At Atos, we host Fiware technology in a way that follows European regulations to offer territories sovereign solutions such as the Urban Data Platform.
In summary, these examples show us that fair and trustworthy data-sharing ecosystems can draw out new sources of value. Furthermore, they demonstrate how technological foundations and business models can fully respect the rights of the data owners and manage all exchanges and monetization circuits fairly and securely.