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NTT Com and NTT DATA to Develop Data-sharing Eco-system that Interconnects with Europe’s Catena-X Platform to Protect Data Sovereignty

Will enable secure sharing of automotive, aviation & energy data in global value chains

NTT Communications Corporation (NTT Com), the ICT solutions and international communications business within the NTT group, NTT DATA Corporation (NTT DATA), a global digital business and IT services leader, and NTT Corporation (NTT) announced that NTT Com and NTT DATA will develop a data platform that interconnects with the Catena-X1 data platform in Europe to enable the secure global sharing of data. The platform will be built with advanced proprietary technologies developed by NTT and incorporate knowledge gained from NTT undertakings2 involving Europe’s Gaia-X3 initiative for protecting data sovereignty.

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The NTT group companies (NTT Com, NTT DATA, NTT) will provide security technologies, such as the Trusted Execution Environment (TEE)4 for hardware encryption, to protect the confidentiality of data and the programs used to analyze the data. They also will work with industry associations and companies to address their specific data-distribution needs, such as supporting carbon neutrality, resource recycling and stable electricity supply.

The Gaia-X initiative has been attracting attention as a result of its ability to enable open, transparent and secure data sharing among businesses and organizations. IDS,5 a key architecture advocated in Gaia-X, is being used by German automakers and IT companies to build the Germany-based Catena-X data space, fully enabling 1,000 automotive companies to share data securely beginning this summer. Japanese firms doing business with German automotive companies expect to be required to use Catena-X, but this would require adherence to Europe’s data-protection policy, thus making it difficult for Japanese firms to adhere concurrently to Japan’s data-protection policy. The challenge, therefore, will be to realize a system that interconnects with the European data space ecosystem6 while securely managing data in accordance with the applicable Japanese policy.

To realize such a system, the NTT group companies will draw on their recent experiences in conducting tests, building data infrastructure, and developing technologies in collaboration with industry associations and companies that require secure data sharing, as follows:

  • DAPS interconnection test:
    IDS Connector software for data exchange and the DAPS authentication system for IDS connectors, both essential functions of the IDS-compliant data space, have been implemented and interconnected with the Smart Connected Supplier Network (SCSN),7 which is equipped with the same functions. This world’s-first example of international interconnection between different data spaces makes it possible for IDS Connector software and DAPS to be managed according to each country’s policy governing data-sovereignty protection.
  • Information sharing platform for green energy distribution:
    The NTT group companies are building an information sharing platform to support the decentralized distribution of green energy,8 including collecting, distributing, analyzing, and utilizing data related to electric power, and providing such data to businesses securely. A demonstration has confirmed the system’s capacity to share and distribute Decentralized Energy Resource (DER) data. Eventually the system will enable secure data processing within entire power systems without requiring transmission and distribution operators/customers to disclose data.
  • Developing security technologies:
    In another demonstration, TEE hardware encryption technology was used to create the world’s first protocol for processing data while maintaining the confidentiality of data owned by multiple providers and the programs used for analysis. TEE also executes arbitrary programs in an encrypted isolated-container environment. As a data sandbox technology,9 TEE ensures secure, high-speed analysis while maintaining data sovereignty, allowing data platform users to share sensitive data and programs across corporate and industry boundaries, without fear of leakage, to thereby create and chain value.
  • Data sharing test for studying aerodynamic characteristics:
    In April, the NTT group companies conducted a test with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) of the secure sharing of data on aerodynamic characteristics from a JAXA base in Japan with an NTT Com base in Europe via a prototype data platform incorporating “withTrust”10 and other technologies on NTT Com’s Smart Data Platform.

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Going forward, the NTT group companies will invite companies and organizations from the automotive, aviation, energy, and other industries to collaborate in the open co-creation of a data space in Japan. The NTT group companies will also conduct demonstrations and implementations with the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Toegepast-Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek (TNO; Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research), Fraunhofer Institute for Software and Systems Engineering ISST in Germany, International Data Spaces Association (IDSA), etc. to develop a gateway that securely interconnects European and Japanese data spaces.

The above efforts also will involve the eventual incorporation of All-Photonics Network (APN)11 technology from NTT’s Innovative Optical and Wireless Network (IOWN)12 to achieve extra-low-power, high-quality, large-capacity and low-latency data sharing.

Secure data sharing is expected to support the growing efforts targeting carbon neutrality and resource recycling for a more sustainable world. For example, to calculate the CO2 emissions of a global value chain, the system must ensure data integrity, guarantee reliability, and allow sharing of emissions data among organizations. If, however, the data sharing platform adheres to the policy of only one country or region, its global usage is likely to be limited due to differences in business practices, laws and regulations elsewhere. To address this challenge, NTT group companies will now collaborate with other diverse companies and organizations to develop a system that allows secure global data sharing. Information on these activities and resulting achievements will be made available via OPEN HUB for Smart World,13 a co-creation program launched by NTT Com in 2021.

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