EONA-X pursues one goal: to create a data exchange platform in secure network among European players in mobility, transport and tourism. An extension of the GAIA-X program, this initiative now has technological, technical and cultural challenges to address.
Found by a group of users Marseille Provence Airport, Air France KLM, Amadeus, Groupe Renault, SNCF and the ADP group (Paris Airport), EONA-X aims to create a secure and sovereign data exchange platform between European mobility, transport and of tourism. Thanks to this initiative, companies in the sector will have easier access to information and tourists and travelers will benefit from new multimodal mobility services with high added value. All without the heavy services of the Web.
However, EONA-X is the result of the work carried out in the context of the European project GAIA-X and does not want to limit itself to a sectoral data platform (Data Space). Founding members intend to work quickly on concrete use cases. They have also already imagined the scenario of a Brussels resident who wants to go to Paris for the 2024 Olympics.
“So he would take a Thalys or SNCF train, then once he arrived he would order a VTC or rent a vehicle to go to the Stade de France. After spending a night in a hotel, he would continue his visit to the countryside, for example going to Marseilles. This first use case would take into account all the variables related to the conditions of a journey (disturbances, schedules) and the needs of the traveler (reduced mobility, points of interest upon arrival)”. specifies the operator of digital technologies for companies and mobility expert Hub One.
It’s nice to imagine concrete cases. But we also have to face the reality of a world where the law of the market reigns. The first challenge of EONA-X is therefore to encourage data sharing. If having exclusive information is generally synonymous with a competitive advantage, tourism, mobility and transport players will still have to go beyond their own interests to develop an ecosystem that facilitates the circulation of data. One secure network information which we must therefore agree to share with, sometimes, competitors. GAIA-X is facing a delicate paradigm shift.
Second challenge: implement the technical and legal framework initiated by GAIA-X. Very conceptual and theoretical, this project initially intended to create a “European super cloud”. In vain. It is now moving towards an in system secure network by connecting various cloud service providers. However, GAIA-X members intend to establish principles (openness, transparency and trust), rules and standards that sectoral initiatives, such as EONA-X, must comply with.
To the extent that EONA-X aims to be the “operational” component of GAIA-X, companies registered on the platform will be able to define their own terms regarding data sharing. For example, they will have the option to apply for ISO 27001 certification on information systems security or GDPR compliance on data protection.
The founders of the EONA-X association identified limitations that could jeopardize their projects. The first uncertainty concerns the portability and sovereignty of data shared in a secure network. To ensure that everything goes smoothly, Luca Sarlo, Deputy Compliance Manager of EONA-X, indicated in particular that “Data exchange could be via smart contracts, on a data mesh architecture.” Thanks to this model, the execution of the contract would be ensured by a tamper-proof computer protocol (similar to blockchain technology). “Each entity would be responsible for its own data, making it available and updating it”, adds Luca Sarlo.
The second doubt concerns the influence of American and Asian web giants. GAIA-X, and by extension EONA-X was born from a first objective: to become a European alternative to the cloud services of GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft) and BATX (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, Xiaomi).
“But recent history has shown that it was often difficult to do without it, as European companies were used to working with it and the level of functionality offered was high. EONA-X members will have no choice but to agree on the position to take vis-à-vis these major digital players, who have become essential over time, to address the challenges of data sovereignty.” , concludes Hub One.