March 18, 2021

IDSA: The Secret Sauce for the Data Economy

In the past few weeks, the IDSA reached a critical milestone in the goal to make international data spaces (IDS) a reality across Europe and around the world.
Lars Nagel

The markers of this milestone are: 

  • Our position paper with GAIA-X, which lays out how the efforts of Germany and the E.U. are integrated technically and operationally to shape the global data economy of the future 
  • The IDSA Rule Book, laying out the blueprint for organizing the new data economy across industries and technologies in the real world 

A data revolution 

First, we want to emphasize that this is an incredible first step toward a European, and ultimately worldwide revolution in the use, sharing and economics of data. The vision we share with the European Commission with its data strategy as well as with GAIA-X is a global, digital economy powered by a trustworthy, sovereign system of data exchange in which all participants can realize the full value of their data.  

Many others have been working on related initiatives. What has been needed is a unifying architecture, set of principles and values to ensure a consistent, trustworthy value proposition across all data spaces. This is what we are delivering.  

The secret sauce: the IDS Rule Book 

However, the reference architecture alone is not sufficient to guide the practice of trustworthy data exchange. An additional, critical element is needed for practical implementation: A broad consensus among all participants on the rules of engagement. The IDSA Rule Book is that special, indispensable element. 

How do participants know who they’re doing business with? If there’s a bad-faith player, how is that party barred from entry? How do agreements about the use, time limits or costs of data get made and enforced? What are the rules governing data exchange across Europe and around the world? The IDSA Rule Book has it covered. 

IDSA at the forefront 

This revolution could not happen without the investment that IDSA has made over the past five years in research, development and coalition-building. Our work has allowed us to help GAIA-X and countless European projects build on its infrastructure with a market-ready reference architecture and practical literally dozens of cross-industrial, cross-domain use cases. It has also allowed us to provide the critical element of the IDSA Rule book—establishing the fundamental guidelines to organize and operate data spaces and make them trustworthy.  

An unprecedented collaboration 

It has been a once-in a lifetime achievement to get all players from many different fields to agree on the IDS solution and rules of engagement – 80 participants and counting, from various industries and most European countries. These include some of the most respected names in Europe: Innopay, iShare, Sitra, mydata and TNO are all among the co-authors. 

The partners in this effort represent the alignment of the personal and commercial data worlds, coming together for the first time ever to achieve consensus on a core business concept for all kinds of data spaces across domains, functions, processes and types of users. We got everyone to the table and, thanks to the commitment of IDSA members, we gained a 100 percent consensus on a single solution for the future of trustworthy, interoperable, sovereign data exchange.  

In conclusion

We are shifting the paradigm, friends. The data economy of the future is in sight for Europe and the world, with IDSA showing the way, through our pragmatic integration with GAIA-X, the substantial link with Europe’s data strategy and the universal applicability of the IDSA Rule Book.  

We hope you will read these mission-critical releases and welcome your engagement in the IDSA effort. 

Position paper ‘Gaia-X and IDS’
IDSA Rule Book
Author: Lars Nagel
Lars Nagel is CEO at International Data Spaces Association (IDSA).

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