Engineers design future cars in car factory

Catena-X anchors trust on T-Systems

T-Systems' data spaces focus propelled it to become the first provider for a crucial Gaia-X initiative

February 14 2024Urs M. Krämer

A symphony of data

I have always been fascinated by technology in cars. It is like exploring a symphony of mechanical precision and digital finesse. At the heart of this symphony lies the engine, a marvel of engineering that converts fuel into kinetic energy, propelling the vehicle forward with a perfect balance of power and efficiency. The wiring harness, akin to the vehicle's neural network, intricately weaves through the automobile, connecting sensors, control units, and electronic components; all of which generate vast amounts of data.

The need for data spaces

Bird's perspective on an urban canyon with cars driving as data spaces

This data is a veritable treasure trove of sensitive information, ranging from personal details and location data to the intricate workings of the vehicle itself. As cars evolve into connected and intelligent entities, safeguarding this data becomes paramount for automotive manufacturers. The same holds true for other industries like manufacturing and logistics where supply chains need to be impeccable and “always on” or healthcare where patient information is sacrosanct. That’s not all, effective data security measures also contribute to sustainability by preventing data breaches. That’s because investigations of a data breach involve energy consumption, which can contribute to environmental degradation. 

And this is where an initiative like Gaia-X comes into the picture. The initiative, which was founded in 2019, aims to build secure data spaces as an open cloud network. With Gaia-X, clients can choose whom to share their data with, and retain full control over the location, processing, and access to this data. Catena-X, on the other hand, builds on top of Gaia-X’s open-source, sovereign digital infrastructure, creating an end-to-end, secure data chain in which entities from manufacturers to dealers to recyclers to platform and infrastructure providers can participate equally to create a uniform data sharing standard along the entire automotive value chain.

First vendor for Catena-X

I take great pride in the fact that T-Systems International has been, over the past years, associated with Catena-X as a member of its partner consortium. Early on in its association with Catena-X, T-Systems understood the need of the automotive industry, including all suppliers, to enter the data-driven value chain. It also identified that sharing identities and data safely within the industry, while allowing participants to retain sovereignty over their data, is a critical requirement.

And now, after a testing phase comprising approximately 50 participants, Catena-X is in business and T-Systems has been selected as the first vendor to support Catena-X’s clients with connecting to the secure data ecosystem. Moreover, as the Trust Anchor for Gaia-X Digital Clearing House, T-Systems has also been entrusted with the task of verifying new participants for Catena-X. As a trusted vendor, we provide our services to operating companies or to data spaces – that are registered with Catena-X – to sublicense the services to their operating companies. And of course, we at T-Systems, believe in the adage "Trust, but verify". Besides confirming that companies are working in adherence to various conformance assessment entities such as eIDAS (electronic Identification, Authentication and Trust Services), T-Systems will additionally validate commercial registration and European financial transaction identifiers. With this proof of compliance, the participating company will receive its verified credentials for the Catena-X data ecosystem, like an ID card called Digital.ID.

Our Digital.ID offering, which is the first commercially available product on the Gaia-X reference architecture, enables secure digital identities for organizations and machines. It also reduces overall business risks, increasing consumer confidence through the reliability of trust chains. It boosts operational efficiency through automation and provides proof of the authenticity of the clients’ digital assets. Regulatory compliance is built in, enabling long-term business relationships based on trust.

Be a part of the Catena-X ecosystem

Benefit from a uniform data sharing standard along the entire automotive value chain.

Our first commercial product for Gaia-X

How does T-Systems’ Digital.ID work for Gaia-X? It helps with the validation of companies' legal commercial registration numbers and European financial transaction identifiers using trusted data sources. A service component called ‘GXDCH Node’ facilitates data sharing and collaboration within the norms of the Gaia-X initiative. This node is operated by T-Systems as the Gaia-X Trust Anchor, which helps to achieve compliance and support the onboarding of any Gaia-X adopter. With this node as a secure and trusted intermediary, businesses can exchange and monetize data while maintaining control over their data sovereignty. 

Digital.ID also supports integration with external conformance assessment entities, such as eIDAS for example, for identity verifications as defined by the Gaia-X AISBL (Association internationale sans but lucratif). The necessary security support required for this is provided by magenta security. The solution also provides a business reporting service, which gives insights into successful and rejected validations. As far as coverage is concerned, Digital.ID validation coverage extends to 195 countries across the world.

The “T” factor

This brings me to the key takeaways here for the participants of Catena-X. Here are the key benefits of Digital.ID: 

  • Decentralized: Full control over data, without depending on third-party providers.
  • Conformity: Adherence to standards improves market acceptance and interoperability. The solution is Gaia-X compliant; it also offers adherence to various conformance assessment entities – keeping things flexible.
  • Trustworthy & reliable: T-Systems’ independent and secure global network is leveraged.
  • Lowered business risks: Reduces overall business risks and increases consumer confidence through reliability of trust chains.
  • Increased efficiency: Boosts operational efficiency through automation.
  • Interactive: Highly intuitive, easy-to-use UI for credential holders in recipient and credential lifecycle management.
  • Interoperable: Take your identities to other data-driven ecosystems for complete interoperability (data mesh).
  • Intelligent: Based on customized parameters to allocate different trust levels across dataspace participants. So, what once had to be verified in person, can now be verified digitally.
  • Sustainable: The solution can also help reduce carbon emissions by providing fully processed and relevant data for companies, avoiding any unnecessary actions during the production of a certain item, thus protecting the environment even more.
  • Wallet agnostic: Bring your wallet or use our solution.

Cruising into secure data spaces

As the automotive and related industries continue their journey into the interconnected realm of data-driven value chains, T-Systems’ pivotal role as the first vendor for Catena-X underscores its commitment to advancing secure, transparent, and efficient data ecosystems. The next time you take the wheel, do give a thought to the systems and networks working hard in the background to keep the sensitive data of your vehicle safe!

Click here to explore our game-changing product Digital.ID.

Catena-X anchors trust on T-Systems – when do you join?

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About the author
Urs M. Krämer Director Commercial, T-Systems International GmbH

Urs M. Krämer

Director Commercial, T-Systems International GmbH

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