Overview of the initiative

The International Data Spaces initiative was launched in Germany at the end of 2014 by representatives from business, politics, and research. Meanwhile, it is an explicit goal of the initiative to take both the development and use of the platform to a European/global level.

Data sovereignty: It is always the data owner that determines the terms and conditions of use of the data provided (terms and conditions can simply be »attached« to the respective data).

Secure data exchange: A special security concept featuring various levels of protection ensures that data is exchanged securely across the entire data supply chain (and not just in bilateral data exchange).

Trust (certified participants): It is important for all participants in the International Data Spaces to trust the identity of each Data Provider and Data User. This is why all »end points« may connect to the International Data Spaces via a certified software (the »International Data Spaces Connector«) only. The Connector also incorporates authentication and authorization functionality.

Network of platforms and services: Providers of data can be individual enterprises, but also »things« (i.e. single entities within the »internet of things«, such as cars, machines, or operating resources) or individuals. Other Data Providers may be data platforms or data marketplaces currently being established in various industries. Furthermore, data services of various providers are made available via an »AppStore«.

Data governance (»rules of the game«): As the International Data Spaces come with a distributed architecture, and therefore have no central supervisory authority, data governance principles are commonly developed as »rules of the game«. These rules are derived from the requirements of the users and determine the rights and duties required for data management.

Open approach (neutral and user-driven): The International Data Spaces are a user-driven initiative. Regarding the reference architecture model, it is based on a participatory development process, with design decisions being made jointly by the research project and the user association.

Decentral approach (distributed architecture): The International Data Spaces are constituted by the total of all end points connected to the Space via the IDS Connector. This means that there is no central authority in charge of data management or supervision of adherence to data governance principles. In this respect, the International Data Spaces represent an alternative architecture that is different from both centralized data management concepts (like so-called »data lakes«, for example) and decentralized data networks (which usually have no generally applicable »rules of the game«). What architecture will be used in the end depends on how beneficial each architecture turns out to be in economic terms for each individual application scenario. This is why the International Data Spaces initiative presumes various coexisting architectures from the outset.

Economies of scale and networking effects: The International Data Spaces provide data services for secure exchange and easy linkage of data. It thereby represents an infrastructure, as using the International Data Spaces will facilitate the development and use of services (smart services, for example). While these services must rely on data services as offered by the International Data Spaces, they are not an element of the range of services of the International Data Spaces themselves. This is why economies of scale and networking effects will be critical for the success of the International Data Spaces: The more participants the International Data Spaces will have, the more it will become »the place to be« for Data Providers, Data Users, and data service providers alike.