October 14, 2021

The Pan-European Perspective on Data Sharing

In the third chapter of the recently published mobility anthology: "Data Move People - Mobility Data Spaces," authors Harrie Bastiaansen, Ruud Mollema, and Anant Vikram broaden the perspective to include the logistics sector.

The scope of logistics goes far beyond the boundaries of its own sector. The logistics sector is closely connected to other sectors, such as mobility. Moreover, it also has a major international component. This implies that a logistics data-driven and data-sharing infrastructure strategy and roadmap should be firmly embedded in and aligned with the developments and approaches taken in other sectors and countries. It will help in preventing complex and costly migrations in the future. This specifically applies to determining its cross-sector strategy in developing and adopting a (combination of an) framework agreement approach and data space approach.

The preference is evidently for an aligned definition and adoption of the same data-sharing infrastructure approach within and across sectors. Nevertheless, this will show to be unrealistic in practice. A multitude of separate data-sharing ecosystems, realized with their own specific implementation choices, is likely to emerge. Various initiatives are being developed and deployed within various sectors of society. As data sharing should not be limited to a specific sector, interoperability of these initiatives is of great importance.

Interoperability between separate data sharing ecosystems is complex, however, as it spans a variety of aspects and perspectives which must be considered concerning data and schemes of operation. This complexity is represented by the new European Interoperability Framework as developed by the European Commission. It provides guidance for meeting interoperability challenges.

The framework identifies four levels at which interoperability must be realized under an overarching integrated governance approach: legal, organizational, semantic, and technical interoperability.

The new European interoperability framework

The right column shows the relevant aspects for each of the four interoperability levels at which interoperability between data sharing approaches has to be taken care of. These aspects reflect the components in the federative data-sharing infrastructure. Special attention is needed for the complex topic of interoperability of agreements between organizations active in different data-sharing environments under various legal jurisdictions. This may require an approach that will enable negotiations on data-sharing agreements between organizations. This aspect is mentioned in the reference architecture of the International Data Spaces (IDS) initiative, without currently giving concrete details of how this will be designed. A precondition for this is a formal semantic foundation that ensures that organizations unambiguously understand each other.

How can scaling be carried out?

Since local initiatives are a logical scope to start with, scaling across borders, within Europe at the very least, is a requirement for success. How can we make sure that we can easily expand a proven local scope to other countries in Europe?

The introduction of 5G will particularly help establish the Internet of Things (IoT). 5G promises a more IoT-friendly ecosystem, with vast improvements over the current capabilities of 4G.

Positioning IDS in relation to/to complement 5G data-sharing features might provide benefits for both the IDS and introduction of 5G and reinforce each other’s potential. IDS and its data-sharing feature on trust, data sovereignty, and security may potentially offer KPN value-added services in the IoT domain for the 5G infrastructure. Vice versa, an IDS-based service implementation tailored to and aligned with the 5G infrastructure and service features may lower its barriers for large-scale adoption. Hence, the strategic interest for KPN is in a combined and optimized service offering of IDS and 5G for the IoT and data-sharing business market. Augmenting the 5G roll-out with embedded IDS features may strengthen both their business potential.

The combination of developments sketched above may lead to new business opportunities for telecommunications companies. There is, therefore, value foreseen in exploring the various developments on DIH, DSH, 5G, and IDS in the international context, e.g., for supporting a cross-border logistics corridor from the Netherlands to Germany.

This is an excerpt from the recently published anthology Data Move People – Mobility Data Spaces.

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