January 26, 2023

Certification Award candidates: Engineering: “We need to be pioneers!“

IDSA has selected six candidates to apply for certification of their connector, each of them is featured in a blog. Engineering Group is our fifth candidate introduced here.

IDSA has selected six candidates to apply for certification of their connector, each of them is featured in a blog. Engineering Group is our fifth candidate introduced here.

Engineering Group is a digital transformation company based in Italy and operating in many countries around the world with 12,000 employees. Angelo Marguglio, Head of the Digital Industry R&D unit, took time to outline their involvement in the digital ecosystem. From his base in Southern Italy’s Palermo, he described passionately how they started providing digital solutions for deploying data spaces in the manufacturing industry, but more recently are also moving into other domains.

“We started collaborating with IDSA a long time ago to figure out how to support the digital transformation of the supply networks and extended enterprises, focusing on how to create trust between different players and stakeholders.” Angelo has been involved in the IDSA’s architecture working group from the beginning. As a computer engineer, he helped with the continual collaboration between companies and initiatives.

Cross-domain technology for European data spaces

Two years ago, Engineering began developing the TRUE Connector to enable an OSS implementation able to deal both with Data Usage Control and a Personal Data enforcement compliant with GDPR Regulation. The connector is part of the FIWARE catalog and totally integrable with the main OSS IDS infrastructural components. Initially, they concentrated on the manufacturing domain, but soon saw that the connector technology is domain-independent and also works well in other domains. As a result, the TRUE Connector is now adopted for digitalizing the circular and sustainable value chains and experimented also in the energy domain, smart buildings and the agri-food domains.

This idea of accessibility and interoperability is vital to Engineering. Many companies are eager to get the benefits of data sharing and the data economy. Engineering supports them in the digital transition that is needed to take advantage of this technology. There is a huge potential market that they aim to address. And it also supports the efforts of the European Commission to foster the European industry. Engineering is fully aligned with that strategy.

Applying for certification

“We realized that it is important to get the certification to make the connector available to our business partners.” Just shortly before the award was announced, Engineering made the decision to apply. A certified connector ensures that defined levels of security, including infrastructure reliability and process compliance, have been met and provides guarantees on availability, confidentiality and integrity of the developed solution.

“And then we got selected!” All the details are now being discussed working closely with the external evaluation facility SQS, and soon the official start of the process will be announced.

The TRUE Connector is open source. Angelo emphasizes, “open-source technology can support each other’s business, if we work together with the best technology providers. We need to be pioneers in adopting this technology.” The ability to work with an open-source connector makes it significantly easier for companies to join the ecosystem.

Currently, there are no significant technical barriers to limit the adoption of data spaces technology in small and large businesses, but mainly operational and business ones. What is still missing is standardization. The community has to push now for a solution on standardization between data spaces – in order to be business competitive. But what is the real challenge in Angelo’s eyes is the access to the value of data sharing. “In many initiatives we talk about vertical, domain-specific data spaces, which are for sure valuable, but we see that cross-domain value is even more attractive for our partners.”

In the coming months, Angelo and his team plan to increase the number of contributors to the TRUE Connector project to effectively adopt and develop it further. This way the entire community is experimenting with it and can thus provide new insights and requirements for the adoption in various domains.

More information on the True Connector is available on Engineering’s website: TRUE Connector: easing data sharing in Gaia-X

The access to the OS Code Repository is available in GitHub: https://github.com/Engineering-Research-andDevelopment/true-connector

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