Together with partners from industry and with support from the German Federal Government, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is launching an initiative to create a ‘data space’ available to industry all over the world: the Industrial Data Space.
The explicit intention is to offer a protected space to small and medium-sized enterprises where they can share and exchange data. Although access to and usage of the Industrial Data Space will be safeguarded by a set of uniform standards, the project will take a decentralised approach. Users will be able to establish their own rules as to how they share and exchange data.
Ultimately, the aim is to develop secure solutions that will assist industry to cope with digitisation and the rapid shifts in manufacturing and business processes that come with it. But there is also clearly an agenda of ensuring that Europe has a presence in the new industrial era to avoid monopoly by US companies and organisations.
Professor Johanna Wanka, Germany’s Federal Minister of Education and Research, said: ‘We want to develop tools that enable as many companies as possible to successfully participate in the digital industrial revolution. German and European industry must retain control over its own data.’
Professor Reimund Neugebauer, president of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, added: ‘Ensuring reliable and secure access to information is essential for the future of industry and society. We envisage a connected data space that will provide a more efficient way of creating value in all sectors.
Matthias Machnig, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, emphasised: ‘The digitisation of industry is one of the core social and political tasks for Germany as it sets policy. Industry 4.0 is of critical importance for us as a production location, and our goal is to seize the opportunities of this fourth industrial revolution. Creating a consortium of industry and research to address issues including reference architecture, standardisation and data security, is an important step toward that goal. It shows that industry, research and politics are all working together.