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The BDI Framework defines data spaces as the locus of differentiation and the underlying infrastructure (data grid) as the locus of standardization. Standardization is embodied in multiple local BDI Associations, which provide federated trust, federated authentication, authorization and event pub/sub for their members as the foundation of interoperability.

Easy to participate

The infrastructure makes it easy for organizations to participate at will in many data spaces concurrently: the threshold to participate in a data space is lowered significantly. Only the elements that define the difference need to be adopted or implemented in order to participate in a new data space.


Balancing differentiation versus standardization

The paradox of interoperability is that market-oriented organizations have to balance differentiation versus standardization. Standardization of processes, semantics, protocols, and interfaces have the benefit of reducing costs and risks. Differentiation, however, is how value is created and may be required in order to:

  • do business in a sector;
  • adopt sector-specific standards;
  • adhere to a code of conduct;
  • show compliance with regulations;
  • adopt processes;
  • align legal conditions;
  • invest in specific infrastructure;
  • attract qualified staff;
  • etc.


Creating a compelling proposition

For an individual company, differentiation may mean the choice of how to create a compelling or even unique proposition in the market compared to competitors. An example is maritime container shipping, sea ports, and container terminals versus e-commerce and home delivery; two sectors that require specialization and differentiation of their participants, and share very little in that sense: two natural data spaces.


Multiple data spaces

They are, however, connected in the supply chain from production location to home delivery. Some companies need to participate in both data spaces concurrently in order to manage the supply chain. And it may need to be in more than two: one can extend this example to parts for automotive OEMs, perishables, pharma, and so on. The need to participate in multiple concurrently operational data spaces is most pressing for organizations active in transport and logistics, as this is a service that needs to adapt to all supply chains.


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