At a virtual conference of European digital ministers being held today, an agreement is to be reached on the merging of European cloud capacities. For the Association of the Internet Industry, GAIA-X is considered to be a flagship project in this realm, offering the potential to fully exploit the opportunities of the data economy while at the same time making a reality out of the Digital Single Market.
On this topic, Andreas Weiss, Head of Digital Business Models at eco, has the following to say:
“For good reason, GAIA-X is being treated as a flagship project for European cloud initiatives – because GAIA-X ensures that those who share with others get to grow themselves. Today’s conference of digital ministers is therefore an important impetus to promote digital sovereignty in Europe in the long term, while at the same time safeguarding European standards in data protection, digital ethics and energy efficiency.”
Combining existing solutions in a new way, bringing services and users directly together
GAIA-X enables the provision of federated digital infrastructure and data services for digital value creation in Europe. Edge and interconnection services are also to be included in the architecture: “We are combining existing cloud offerings in Europe in a new way,” says Andreas Weiss. “This will create an open and interoperable system which is built both on uniform standards and on European values and standards.”
“The GAIA-X entity presently being founded as a non-profit association in Belgium, initiated by 22 companies from Germany and France, must now be rapidly expanded to represent all interested EU Member States.”
Public authorities must be customers, subscribers and users of cloud services
For eco, the use of cloud technologies by public administrations must also provide an important impetus for digitalisation in Europe. Weiss: “Digitalisation in Europe can only succeed if all public institutions and authorities in the Member States fulfil their role model function and also offer their services digitally.”
The GAIA-X project
The GAIA-X concept was first presented to the public at the Digital Summit in October 2019. Since then, several hundred experts have been working on the comprehensive European data ecosystem. Based on concrete application examples from various economic sectors and the public sector, an initial technical architecture has been developed, through which data can be made widely accessible and exchanged in a trustworthy manner.
Various working groups are developing concrete applications within the project, including in the fields of industry, healthcare, finance and energy. GAIA-X is expected to be functional by 2021, giving European companies an alternative to the global hyperscalers for storage, software and computing services over the Internet. At its core, the focus is on data sovereignty, data availability in Europe, and the promotion of innovation for the European economy.
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