Chief Content Officer,
Techstrong Group

A group established today by The Eclipse Foundation is working toward defining a decentralized framework that promises to enable the seamless exchange of data between private companies, governments, academia and other institutions without having to move data via an intermediary.

The Eclipse Dataspace Working Group, with the aid of founding members such as Amadeus, Fraunhofer, IDSA, iShare, Microsoft and T-Systems will make use of a range of open source software to define a framework based on a component architecture that will enable to building of new types of decentralized digital services, says Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation.

Dataspaces are federated networks made up of trusted connections for sharing data in a way that preserves privacy and sovereignty across digital services. That federated approach eliminates the need to rely on a Web-scale company to share data across, adds Milinkovich.

At the core of that capability are dataspace core and protocols (DCP) specification for implementing mandatory dataspace functionality, dataspace data planes and components (DDPC) and dataspace authority and management (DAM) tools to manage workflows and associated policies.

As part of that effort, the Eclipse Dataspace Working Group will provide governance and guidance to ensure dataspaces are interoperable along with code created for complementary Eclipse projects such as Eclipse Cross Federation Services Components, Asset Administration Shell initiatives and Tractus-X, a reference implementation for the Catena-X, an open data ecosystem that was created for the automotive industry. The Eclipse Dataspaces WG will also collaborate with other organizations working on similar dataspace initiatives, including the International Data Spaces Association (IDSA), to define technical compatibility kits.

The working group is being launched now, because the components needed to build this framework have reached a level of maturity that makes it possible to drive decentralized digital services at scale, notes Milinkovich.

It’s not clear to what degree an inability to share data has been hampering adoption of digital services, but there are clearly use cases where decentralized approaches to managing data are going to enable organizations to exercise more control. The challenge, as always, is putting the framework in place that will enable organizations to experiment with those types of services in a way that drives new streams of potential revenue.

At the same time, in an era where more regulations are emanating from, for example, the European Union, more organizations than ever are looking to retain control over their data as much as possible, notes Milinkovich. Data sovereignty requirements will require more organizations to embrace a decentralized approach to managing data at the point where it is being created and stored, says Milinkovich.

At the same time, the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) is giving organizations a greater appreciation for the value of their data. Organizations are looking for frameworks to share data without having any type of intermediary involved, he adds. “No one company is the gatekeeper,” says Milinkovich.

It’s not clear to what degree Dataspaces will accelerate the pace at which digital business transformation initiatives are made, but it should make it simpler to drive digital services spanning multiple organizations.