Why is Data Sovereignty so relevant?
The phrase «data is the new oil» was first uttered in 2006 by British mathematician and entrepreneur Clive Humby. For years Humby applied his expertise to help companies better understand their customers through the analysis of large volumes of data. Long before him, Thomas Hobbes, in his book Leviathan (1961), had already written the famous phrase «Information is power». Both knew that having historical data to help us predict the future is the best way to avoid making the wrong decisions.
Taken to the corporate world, these analytical and predictive capabilities are increasingly relevant. In a world where technology is increasingly available to any company, the only way companies can differentiate themselves, is to understand their potential market better than their competitors. So much so, that in some cases it has become a country debate, like the one of former President Donald Trump’s administration, when he claimed that TikTok poses a real threat to «US national security» based on the suspicion the platform mines user data, for the benefit of China.
In this war for data, the right to privacy (acknowledged in over 150 constitutions of democratic countries) is increasingly difficult to secure. That is why regulations such as the European GDPR are emerging in order to provide citizens with mechanisms to prevent their data from being used without their consent. It has also served as an example for other countries to establish similar frameworks.
However, in this context, a necessary question arises: «If information is so valuable, shouldn’t we be able not only to protect it, but also to exploit it at our discretion?«
This is when the term «Data Sovereignty» is relevant. This is defined as the ability of individuals, corporations or governments to determine how, for what purpose, and at what price third parties can use their data.
We are talking about the emergence of «Data Marketplaces», a new concept that will bring about not only potentially a lucrative business but also market disruption by allowing SMEs to enter markets that are currently inaccessible.
The following is a summary various use cases, featured on the International Data Space Association (IDSA) website that illustrate the power of a Data Sovereignty environment.
Home appliance giant Haier in conjunction with the Frauhoffer Institute is implementing the first intelligent laundry detection system within washing machines with Data Sovereignty.
The system will enable users to have sovereignty over their data and get gains from its use in the entire value chain. Given that the washing process is currently one of the biggest energy consumers in households, through the exchange of data it is expected new products and services to be found that will reduce the cost for users, reduce the carbon footprint, and achieve more durable and sustainable products.
The Tecnalia technology centre is currently developing the M4.0 ecosystem, a system that allows metal manufacturing companies to save time and optimise their manufacturing processes.
The solution makes it possible to link the inventories of different equipment manufacturers and connect them to a system that analyses the requirements of the most suitable equipment options for a given metallurgical manufacturing process. At present, this process relies on manual searches on the internet and trade fairs, with the costs and inefficiencies that this entails.
SAP is in the process of implementing a «collaborative quality and assurance management» system. This system incentivises repair shops to share vehicle quality data throughout the manufacturing supply chain. These incentives allow information to flow better and faster, regardless of its relevance to warranty claims, which in many cases is a barrier for transparency. With this information, suppliers can perform early analysis and integrate modifications or usage policies much more efficiently.
As we can see many of these initiatives are about «servitization» of products and «process improvement and efficiency».
In our opinion, the energy market is currently the one that will benefit the most from a data sharing environment with sovereignty. There is the pressure to reduce greenhouse gases by up to 95% by 2050 and so, producers, distributors, aggregators and consumers will need to share information to eliminate inefficiencies and to ensure energy flows efficiently in an increasingly distributed grid.
This is why at Barbara IoT, we are involved in the Platoon project that uses our Industrial Edge platform to exchange data with sovereignty at source.
The future implementation of our edge nodes «behind the meter» consumption points, or within the Smart Grid in Transformation Centres, Substations or Generation Parks, will allow data to be processed with Artificial Intelligence and also to:
- Ensure its provenance
- Increase their level of cybersecurity to prevent leaks or theft.
- Improve its quality in real time
- Implement the necessary connectors for their sovereign exchange.
And all, with the benefits of security, scalability, latency and sovereignty, that comes from working in a distributed environment i.e «Edge», as opposed to large and heavy centralised infrastructures.
If you want to know more about how our Cybersecure Industrial Edge platform enables sovereign data sharing, and how this can help you to service and optimise your business, don’t hesitate to contact us!