Er is one of the prestige projects of Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU): the European network for data and cloud services called Gaia-X. Altmaier praised it last September, when, after a year of preparatory work, the relevant organization was launched in Brussels. The platform for storing and processing data is an attempt to at least shorten the seemingly unattainable lead of American Internet platforms. Your business models are to be countered by a network that is based on local standards in data protection, among other things.
An offer to European companies is to be Gaia-X – named after the goddess of the earth in Greek mythology. But the decisive question is still open: Will the cloud services, which are part of Gaia-X, be revered by companies in the same way as the offers from Amazon, Google and Microsoft, which are popular because of their simple functionality and low costs become? A survey of leading German companies casts certain doubts on this.
“Only if Gaia-X offers economic services”
The re is certainly interest in the Gaia-X project – not to replace existing cloud offerings, but as a supplement, so the tenor. One of the companies surveyed, the specialty chemicals group Covestro, even answered the question about the need for a European cloud infrastructure with a clear no. “Covestro currently sees no need for further services, regardless of their origin.”
Others are waiting. The re is basically a need for European cloud services, but only “if Gaia-X offers stable, secure and economical services,” said Deutsche Post. The automotive supplier Continental made a similar statement: “We are currently still monitoring activities and discussions on this topic.” Of the 16 companies that responded to the survey, twelve are listed in the Dax, three in the M-Dax. Almost 60 percent of this non-representative selection express interest in Gaia-X, the rest want to wait and see.
What companies find primarily interesting is the possibility of exchanging data. “We see great innovation potential in cross-sectoral data use,” writes Volkswagen. The car company sees enabling the sharing of data with high data protection requirements as a “decisive competitive factor for Germany and Europe”. According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, more than 20 working groups are currently working on the technological implementation of Gaia-X, which, among other things, should make this data exchange possible.
The secure sharing of data will be “an integral part” of Gaia-X, says Boris Otto.
The head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Software and System Technology (ISST) in Dortmund is interim chief technology officer of the Gaia-X organization, which was officially founded at the beginning of this week.
The idea is that all companies in an industry can exchange information with one another in a protected data room.