General questions about the International Data Spaces

What is the International Data Spaces (IDS)?

International Data Spaces is a distributed network of data end points (instances of the International Data Spaces connector) that enables the secure exchange of data and guarantees data sovereignty.

What is the International Data Spaces initiative?

The International Data Spaces initiative was launched by Fraunhofer in 2015 and has been institutionalized by the International Data Spaces Association (IDSA) since 2016. The IDS initiative encompasses all activities related to the IDSA and International Data Spaces.

Why International Data Spaces in the plural?

The International Data Spaces are the sum of all data end points of all domains combined for value creation in a flourishing data economy. Within a domain such as the automotive sector or medicine, one speaks of a data space in accordance with the International Data Spaces concept.

What do International Data Spaces offer?

The International Data Spaces allow data providers to maintain sovereignty over their data, also when exchanging data (data sovereignty).

What is data sovereignty?

Data sovereignty is the ability of a natural or legal person to ensure exclusive self-determination regarding their data assets.

What is the objective of the International Data Spaces Initiative?

The objective is to make the International Data Spaces the standard for the exchange of data in the economy, and to establish it internationally.

Who is behind the International Data Spaces?

Fraunhofer and the members of the International Data Spaces Association are working on the IDS architecture in various research projects and pursuing the further development of International Data Spaces prototypes, use cases, and concepts.

What is the International Data Spaces Association (IDSA)?

International Data Spaces e. V. (IDSA) is an open, nonprofit organization, currently consisting of more than 140 member organizations from over twenty countries.

What players are involved in the International Data Spaces Initiative?

More than 140 international companies are already organized in the IDSA. The International Data Spaces are not industry-dependent and offers numerous use cases in a variety of fields.

What does the International Data Spaces Association do?

The IDSA bundles the requirements imposed by users of the International Data Spaces and promotes the ongoing development, dissemination and use of the IDS. It also works on the development of data sovereignty standards.

How can I participate in the International Data Spaces?

Use cases can be implemented jointly with Fraunhofer. We also recommend membership in the International Data Spaces Association (IDSA) to stay informed about current developments and take part in working on the standard.

What problem do the International Data Spaces solve?

International Data Spaces provides standardized interfaces and defines technical usage policies for data. Aside from legal and organizational contract provisions, this makes it possible to also formulate and implement technical usage policies.

What use cases offer potential benefits?

International Data Spaces is used for the exchange of especially sensitive data for which the data provider defines usage policies to protect their data. International Data Spaces is also used for the exchange of data between companies, in what is called a data ecosystem, where standardization of the interfaces between all participants is necessary.

What are the tasks of Fraunhofer within the International Data Spaces?

The participating Fraunhofer Institutes are tasked with developing a reference architecture model for the International Data Spaces and testing it in select use cases. In addition, the intent is to bring the International Data Spaces to market readiness. Activities are subsidized by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.

Technical questions

How can a data space be implemented?

The International Data Spaces architecture is designed so that it can be implemented on existing IT infrastructures in companies. Here the technical interfaces are software gateways called connectors.

How can data sovereignty be enforced?

The International Data Spaces permit the sharing of data between participants in all areas without a central infrastructure by using connectors, similar to peer-to-peer. These ensure the direct exchange of data between companies without the external storage of the data by third parties.

How does Fraunhofer license its IDS components?

Many components developed by Fraunhofer are available as open source software. Some specific components of very high maturity do however require an own license.

How do I get an IDS connector?

An IDS connector can be assembled from various products/implementations. Individual company solutions have to be examined on a case-by-case basis and may require certification. A list of the Fraunhofer IDS connectors is found here: Link

I have a connector, how do I obtain certification?

Certification information is available under the following link.

I want to participate in an IDS ecosystem. What components do I need, and who looks after operation?

To participate in the IDS ecosystem, you need at least one connector installed as the gateway for a company, which is responsible for the IDS-compliant exchange of data. The connector communicates with other connectors and the central IDS components such as the Broker, App Store, and Clearing House. Thus, an IDS ecosystem consists of connectors, the Broker, the App Store and the Clearing House. For further information and the concrete setup, please contact us directly: Contact us.