Building a federated infrastructure to host the next generation of data and services in Europe
What is Gaia-X, why does it exist, and how does it work?
Gaia-X is an initiative driven by leading enterprises, research institutions, and the European public sector, aiming to enable secure, open, and sovereign use of data in Europe and beyond.
Gaia-X is a federated infrastructure designed to host the next generation of interoperable data exchange and services. Infrastructure components include, but are not limited to:
- sector-specific clouds,
- network and interconnectivity providers,
- edge devices.
All data and services running on top of the Gaia-X infrastructure enable the sovereign use of data by focusing on decentralization, interoperability, and transparency. Gaia-X gives back control to data owners and connects data spaces across centralized and decentralized infrastructure, as well as industry domains.
The German Ministry of Economic and Energy Affairs and the French Ministry of Economics initiated the program in 2019 to address citizens’ concerns around data privacy and security, while increasing Europe’s digital sovereignty, and building a basis for data-driven digital innovation in Europe. Since then, it has received support from other European member states and was officially incorporated into a nonprofit registered in Belgium (Gaia-X European Association for Data and Cloud AISBL) to oversee activities across the ecosystem.
Today, Gaia-X has(or is) a community of over 500 members from the private, public, and academic sectors collaborating on one shared vision. Gaia-X members come from both European and non-European countries, ensuring a wide representation of interests. The community is organized along dynamic lines:
- a vertical focus; such as the mobility, energy, and agriculture working groups;
- a regional focus, represented by national hubs.
5 reasons why the IOTA Foundation is involved
- We share the goal of enabling sovereign, secure, and privacy-enhancing data exchange. In particular, we see our work on both a protocol level as well as within the IOTA Identity and Streams frameworks as enabling this goal.
- We build open-source technology, like Gaia-X. Building open source technology is in our DNA. We value the enhanced security, transparency, and innovation that comes from sharing work openly.
- We share the value of building on federated and decentralized architectures. Decentralizing digital infrastructure stands at the core of our mission, as it is essential for both security and data sovereignty. We are thrilled to potentially realize these goals through collaborating with a broad alliance of partners.
- We value standardization as a driver of cross-industry adoption. Standardization drives interoperability. Interoperability drives the secure exchange of data and value across domains, unlocking current silos. As such, the IOTA Foundation has always welcomed shaping and including our technology stack in new standardization initiatives, such as Gaia-X.
- We work collaboratively with partners and on real-world use cases. We feel at home in Gaia-X’s community-based approach and welcome the idea of enabling real-world adoption alongside and for the benefit of industry.
Gaia-X partners welcome the IOTA Foundation’s participation
“As a member of core Gaia-X working groups and a partner in the iECO proposal, we welcome the IOTA Foundation joining the Gaia-X community to jointly drive sovereign data exchange and the next wave of digital innovation in Europe and beyond. The IOTA Foundation’s deep understanding of cutting-edge topics such as DLT and digital identity, paired with our long-standing expertise in enterprise integration and IoT platform provision across the whole cloud-to-edge continuum, will be key to translating the ambitious high-level business requirements of Gaia-X into concrete technical solutions” Christoph Strnadl, VP Innovation & Architecture, Software AG.
Current Involvement and Outlook
We have been actively following the development of Gaia-X since its inception in 2019.
The IOTA foundation has joined Gaia-X to contribute our DLT expertise as well as the IOTA technology stack, in order to facilitate the development of Gaia-X core infrastructure and its application across different industry domains. We have joined several industry working groups, such as the mobility domain working group and we successfully submitted the iECO proposal for implementation under the Gaia-X umbrella. iECO is a project that was recently selected as a winning proposal in the first funding competition. iECO aims to reduce inefficiencies and enable new data-driven services in the construction industry by using digital twins enabled by Gaia-X compliant infrastructure, to trace buildings across their lifecycle.
The IOTA Foundation is driving the iECO project, which is set to run over three years, together with partners including A1 Digital Deutschland, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e. V., Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften Hof, Implenia Hochbau GmbH, IPROconsult GmbH, N+P Informationssysteme, Software AG and the Technical University Dresden. We will provide more detailed information on iECO and the role of IOTA once the project kicks-off around November this year.
We look forward to keeping you updated on our progress in Gaia-X, and in particular, our efforts in the mobility working group.
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