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Gaia-X: Creating Trusted Data Infrastructure

Data is the new oil. Cloud technology is the backbone of the global economy today. However, in Europe, the level of adoption of cloud technology is currently below 25%, and this is an indicator of the lack of trust. Without a definition of the rules to obtain trust, and without an objective measurement of the level of trust, this roadblock, impeding the development of the data economy, cannot be overcome. The data economy is the ecosystem of businesses that collect, process, store and monetise data. It encompasses the full range of activities associated with the creation, distribution, and use of data. The data economy involves the creation and use of data as a new form of value, and the emergence of new economic activities and business models built around it. Data is becoming a vital component of the economy, as it enables the development of new products and services and enables businesses to improve their operations and make better decisions.

The world of data has changed in the last decade. Data gravity triggered the need for edge computing, and this new nature of data, distributed everywhere, imposes a new paradigm of computing, no more hyper-centralised but hyper-distributed and decentralised. This new paradigm requires, more than before, interoperability across nodes and digital services.

Established as a German-French governmental endeavour in 2021 as a privately funded not-for-profit association, Gaia-X brings together an international community of providers, users, and researchers of technology, from all different sectors and regions, with the aim to build a common standard for transparent, controllable and interoperable technologies to enable the creation of common data spaces and doing so boost the European data economy. Gaia-X aims to regain control and trust over technologies, without which the data platform can become a de-facto controller and regulator of data, creating an obstacle to adoption that is reducing EU competitiveness in the market of today and tomorrow.

Gaia-X’s ambition is to become a de-facto standard for trust adopted by the largest possible number of adopters, both within and outside Europe, to reduce the dependency on black-boxed, non-interoperable technologies, increase the availability of controllable, transparent, and interoperable technologies levelling the market playing field. Without Gaia-X, countries would remain in status with their data; scared of sharing data due to a distrust of monopolist platforms or giving data to platforms without insurance of trust which runs the risk of losing value and competition, and being controlled by these platforms by them acting as a de-facto regulator. Gaia-X is not designing new technologies or creating alternative platforms to compete with the market dominants. Instead, Gaia-X is creating the premise of starting to adopt existing technologies, trusting them, and creating those digital value chains to create competitive, innovative, and impactful services in the market, in society, and the natural ecosystems.

Under the above premises, Gaia-X has not only created a new standard for determining trust and controllability of digital services, but it has developed a technology framework to implement its verification. In the first months of 2023, the first Gaia-X Digital Clearing Houses – nodes of execution of the Gaia-X compliance services – will be up and running, enabling the population of Gaia-X marketplaces with thousands of services already available from the members and ready to show a concrete alternative.

“The dependency on technology is pervasive,” says Francesco Bonfiglio, CEO of Gaia-X. “Our lives, our economy, our hospitals, streets, schools, utilities, water, gas, banks, financial institutions …everything runs on digital platforms. 80% of our data and industrial data run on technology platforms that run the risk to become a de facto regulator. This is why Digital Society is on the agenda of every government because a government rules a state in a state is a sovereign entity.”

Gaia-X Davos Interviews Video

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