»Germany sets the global standards for security in the Industrial Internet of Things«

Interview with Lars Nagel, Managing Director of the Industrial Data Space Association.

February, 2018

The Industrial Data Space Association based in Dortmund has created the software architecture and legal framework for the secure exchange of data between companies. Now the internationally-networked association wants to establish its regulations as a global standard.

Mr. Nagel, why is Germany the right place to set a global standard for the Industrial IoT?

Germany is the reference market for the Industrial Internet of Things, especially with regards to security. Accordingly, local players know relatively early on what course is needed for further development. Currently, we have our data room certified to an official DIN (a standard issued by the German Institute for Standardization), and by the end of next year, companies will be able to refer to this standard. The industry is also pioneering in this field for other sectors: we have members from finance, telecoms and pharmaceuticals who face similar challenges.

Why is it useful for companies to follow this new standard?

So far, there are a variety of platforms through which companies can exchange data from machines. In order to exchange data across manufacturers, interfaces are necessary. This is complicated and expensive. In addition, there are hardly any regulations governing who can do what with which data. We have therefore defined a binding set of rules that you can easily attach to your data.

This allows a company to clearly determine from the outset how long a partner can use certain data, what they can and can’t do with it. To date you have had to trust that your business partner will honor your data agreement, and in case of dispute, it then goes to court. This cannot happen to companies in our data room.

Standards only work if as many parties as possible sign up to them. What is the current situation?

So far, about 80 companies and associations from 15 countries are active in our association. In Germany, this includes the central Industry 4.0 platform, through which we also coordinate with our European neighbors. In the U.S., we communicate with the influential Industrial Internet Consortium and with similar organizations in Asia.

Our greatest opportunity is that no organization in the world has yet dealt with corporate data governance, so we’re creating something completely new.

Photo: Industrial Data Space e.V.