Fiware, iShare and FundingBox have launched the i4Trust initiative to build the foundation for data spaces that facilitate trustworthy and effective data-sharing.
A collaborative initiative is aiming to break down the barriers to data-sharing by helping small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to create data spaces.
The i4Trust has been launched by open standards specialist, Fiware, iShare, an initiative from the Dutch government to establish a uniform set of agreements and schemes to facilitate data-sharing, and FundingBox, which seeks to support entrepreneurs at each stage of growth.
The partners will provide SMEs with the tools, coaching, mentoring and financial support needed for the creation of data spaces that will allow them to share data with other businesses.
Thirty-two incubator projects are initially taking part, involving at least 150 SMEs and 32 digital innovation hubs – across various regions and sectors in Europe – mobilising more than 3,2 million of euros for funding.
The selection process will take place in the third quarter of 2021. The initiative will help them to understand the demand for data, establish data-sharing partnerships and identify concrete use cases relying on trusted and effective sharing of data.
Data has become essential for decision-making and the automation of processes across both the public and private sectors but organisations often face significant barriers that prevent them from benefiting from data-sharing.
The lack of universal agreements for identity and access management, data publication, exchange and trading means that organisations are forced to draw up tailor-made data-sharing agreements time and time again. This makes each data connection or integration time-consuming and costly and often means organisations abandon data-sharing attempts altogether. The exchange of specific information between various IT solutions also leads to concerns around data security.
“The initiative aims to break down data silos through the sharing, re-use and trading of data assets, boosting the creation of innovative services in different sectors”
With the right tools, education, coaching and initial funding, the i4Trust believes it can help to remove such barriers. In a statement, the partners explain that the tools for the creation of data spaces comprise standard-based building blocks from the Fiware and iShare frameworks, together with common data models defined for multiple application domains.
These building blocks provide the foundation for the core functionalities in every data space, namely data exchange, data publication, and data trading, supporting the necessary trustworthiness. The partners claim that, combined with commonly adopted data models, these building blocks bring the means to support full interoperability among parties and core concepts such as loose coupling (in which the involved participants may have specific, but more limited knowledge about each other), as well as reusability and replaceability of data sources and applications.
Since all the tools are standard-based and supported by open source reference implementations, organisations that are sharing data through data spaces – based on such references – will avoid the pitfalls of vendor lock-in.
“The i4Trust’s main goal is to create an ecosystem in which companies will be able to share data in a trustworthy and effective manner,” said Juanjo Hierro, chief technology officer, Fiware Foundation. “The initiative aims to break down ‘data silos’ through the sharing, re-use and trading of data assets, boosting the creation of innovative services in different sectors”
The proposed building blocks are in line with recommendations from the European Commission’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programme, which aims to help materialise the digital single market by creating cross-border digital service infrastructures.
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