The guiding principles shared in the GAIA-X project by users from a range of economic sectors, infrastructure providers and science are the same as those that also motivate us to be involved. These principles aim to protect data sovereignty, data availability, interoperability, portability, transparency and fair participation, and they are also guiding us in establishing a GAIA-X Foundation. We are one of the 22 companies from France and Germany who are setting up the GAIA-X Foundation, with the aim of forming the future framework for the GAIA-X ecosystem. An international non-profit association (in French association internationale sans but lucratif – AISBL) will be formed under Belgian law for this purpose.

We are honoured to introduce the names of the founding members of the GAIA-X Foundation, who form a balanced group of representatives of providers, users and science: 3DS OUTSCALE, Amadeus, Atos, Beckhoff Automation, BMW, Bosch, CISPE, DE-CIX, Deutsche Telekom, DOCAPOSTE, EDF, Fraunhofer, GEC/Loh Group, IDS Association, IMT, Orange, OVHcloud, PlusServer, Safran, SAP, Scaleway and Siemens.

These founding members have committed to driving forwards the process of setting up an association and to developing and establishing the required articles of association and guidelines for the future collaboration and further development of GAIA-X. This organisation will be charged with developing the technical solution and rules.

Interested European and international partners who share the stated guiding principles are invited to join forces to develop the project together and to foster the open and independent character of the GAIA-X ecosystem. Once the articles of association and all other provisions for the GAIA-X Foundation have been drawn up and the formal establishment process has been completed, other interested parties can become members.

More than a data space: uniting Europe’s strengths

As a German SME, Beckhoff Automation welcomes this key milestone and is proud to be contributing to the further development of GAIA-X. Our motivation to be involved in the GAIA-X initiative and to work towards a data ecosystem for shared use has grown through our contact with customers and many other stakeholders, who all share the need for a common and secure data space.

On top of this, GAIA-X has the potential to be much more than just a data space for Beckhoff Automation and all other users: GAIA-X is a European initiative that brings together Europe’s strengths and is integrating the potential users and their requirements for a European data ecosystem through early involvement. The added benefit of participating in GAIA-X will be boosted by the shared understanding among the users and providers involved. Together we share the aim of implementing GAIA-X on the basis of a layer that is supported and used by all parties within a domain, as well as across domains.

Another reason for our participation is the plan to adopt the existing individual and domain-specific standards in order to ensure quick acceptance of GAIA-X among users. Many users are currently forced to pursue numerous and often incompatible data space systems, which results in a large amount of work when it comes to project implementation. GAIA-X has the potential to bring standardisation and simplification by providing the right nodes for the users’ requirements in terms of individual and shared data spaces.

Invitation to get involved

With this in mind, we would like to invite all interested parties to get involved in GAIA-X by contributing technical expertise, by submitting new use cases and through active and ongoing involvement in a working group. If you are interested in the project, you can email contact@data-infrastructure.eu. You are welcome to get in touch even if you are not interested in becoming a future member of the GAIA-X Foundation AISBL and simply want to stay informed about how the process is moving forwards.

Author: Gerd Hoppe, member of the Corporate Management at Beckhoff Automation and representative of the GAIA-X user perspective.

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