NTT Com and NTT DATA to Develop Data-sharing Eco-system that Interconnects with Europe’s Catena-X Platform to Protect Data Sovereignty
May 26, 2022
NTT Communications Corporation
NTT DATA Corporation
TOKYO, JAPAN, May 26 2022—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 today 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.
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.
New data ecosystem for protecting data sovereignty
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.
- Catena-X is a data ecosystem operated by German automakers and suppliers for the secure distribution of parts information and other data among related companies. NTT Com has been a member of the Catena-X Automotive Network e.V., supporting the development of Catena-X, since March 2022.
- For past initiatives concerning Gaia-X:
NTT Com Demonstration Test to Link GAIA-X Platform’s “IDS Connector” Technology and SDPF based on Data Trust® (September 2020), NTT Com’s Prototype Platform Securely Shares CO2 Emissions-related Data from Switzerland to Sites in Germany and Japan (April 2021), and NTT Com Starts Interconnection Trials Using Platform Connecting Gaia-X (European Secure Data-sharing Platform for Supply Chain Companies) with Systems of Domestic and Overseas Companies/Organizations (October 2021).
- Gaia-X is an initiative announced by the German and French governments in October 2019 to protect security and data sovereignty when sharing data. NTT Com is a member of the Gaia-X European Association for Data and Cloud AISBL.
- Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) hardware-encryption technology, which prevents unauthorized access to confidential information during data processing, encrypts the contents of memory, including during calculation and processing, using an encryption function deployed in CPUs.
- IDS is an international architecture and standard for data spaces defined by the International Data Spaces Association e.V. (IDSA) and its members.
- “Data space” refers to a data space governed by a single policy.
- The Smart Connected Supplier Network (SCSN) in the Netherlands is used for exchanging manufacturing-related supply-chain information for high-tech products.
- For past initiatives concerning green energy distribution (Japanese only): カーボンニュートラル実現に向けた分散型エネルギーの情報流通基盤の構築を開始 (January 2022)
- Please refer to the image below for more about data sandbox technology.
- The withTrust® system is used for the secure sharing of sensitive data.
- The All-Photonics Network (APN) incorporates optical (photonic) technology deployed in networks, terminals, etc.
- NTT’s Innovative Optical and Wireless Network (IOWN) is an advanced communications infrastructure incorporating cutting-edge photonics, computing, and other technologies to realize a smarter world.
- For information about OPEN HUB for Smart World (Japanese only): Smart Worldの実現を加速する事業共創プログラム「OPEN HUB for Smart World」を開始 (October 2021)
About NTT Communications
NTT Communications solves global technology challenges by helping enterprises utilize managed IT-infrastructure solutions to overcome complexity and risk in their ICT environments. These solutions are backed by our worldwide infrastructure, including industry-leading, global tier-1 public and private networks reaching over 190 countries/regions, and more than 500,000m2 of the world's most advanced data center facilities. Now as the core provider of the DOCOMO group's enterprise-business services and solutions, we create value through global-scale support for structural changes in industry and society, new workstyles, and digital transformation in communities. Together with NTT Ltd., NTT DATA, and NTT DOCOMO, we are the NTT Group.
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About NTT DATA
NTT DATA – a part of NTT Group – is a trusted global innovator of IT and business services headquartered in Tokyo. We help clients transform through consulting, industry solutions, business process services, IT modernization and managed services. NTT DATA enables clients, as well as society, to move confidently into the digital future. We are committed to our clients’ long-term success and combine global reach with local client attention to serve them in over 50 countries. Visit us at nttdata.com.
NTT believes in resolving social issues through our business operations by applying technology for good. We help clients accelerate growth and innovate for current and new business models. Our services include digital business consulting, technology and managed services for cybersecurity, applications, workplace, cloud, data center and networks all supported by our deep industry expertise and innovation. As a top 5 global technology and business solutions provider, our diverse teams operate in 80+ countries and regions and deliver services to over 190 of them. We serve over 80% of Fortune Global 100 companies and thousands of other clients and communities around the world.
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