It was almost exactly two years ago that the next big thing started in Dortmund.

At least from the point of view of Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU).

The go-ahead for the European data cloud Gaia-X was fired at the digital summit of the federal government.

Bastian Benrath

Editor in business.

  • Follow I follow

Julia Löhr

Business correspondent in Berlin.

  • Follow I follow

Altmaier had long been bothered by the fact that many German companies and authorities save and process their data on Amazon, Microsoft or Google servers in the United States. Because it was clear to the minister that Europe could not even create such a digital company out of the ground, the idea arose that many European companies could jointly provide computing capacities as needed. A fragmented cloud, so to speak.

The concept has long since become a reality. A non-profit organization was founded in Brussels, on whose board there are managers from BMW, Deutsche Telekom and SAP. The 22 founding members have grown into a network with more than 300 companies. But so far, Gaia-X is not quite as big as Altmaier had imagined. There are still no reports of success that well-known companies or public institutions handle their data traffic completely via this cloud. Gaia-X is currently one thing above all else: an experimental field for data sharing.

Several "data rooms" were created for this purpose, which are intended to provide the infrastructure for this very purpose.

One of them is the "Mobility Data Space": Its shareholders include the car manufacturers BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen, the card provider Here Technologies, Deutsche Bahn, Deutsche Post and the insurance company HUK-Coburg.

For example, weather data is exchanged there.

The German Weather Service feeds in its forecasts, mobility service providers call them up.

Dry feet to work

For example, the Freiburg IT company HighQ has developed a platform with Stadtwerke Osnabrück that uses an app to calculate the best route to their destination using all means of transport. When it rains, she suggests a route by bus or car rather than by bike. Gaia-X is a “trustworthy environment” for data sharing, the “wild growth in data transfer” between different companies is thus limited, says highQ sales manager Kai Horn.

The non-commercial organization Fiware also uses the mobility data room. She digitized inner-city parking for Stadtwerke Wolfsburg. Sensors installed in parking lots report to the system whether they are free or not. A navigation function in the urban “WOB app” guides drivers directly to the free parking space that is closest to their destination. "Up to 30 percent of inner-city traffic is searching for a parking space," says Fiware CEO Ulrich Ahle, who wants to reduce this. Fiware feeds the data about where parking spaces are free into the data room, where it can be used by other transport providers. With the involvement of car manufacturers, it may even be possible in the future to do without parking space sensors, says Ahle,because modern cars could already measure parking spaces as they drive past them.

Keywords: how gaia-x, breakthrough, european, way, cloud, cloud project, experimentation, field, applications, companies, thing, project, bmw, point of view, here technologies