Gaia X is the name of a European joint project to create a common data infrastructure. The aim of the project is to further digitalisation and networking, especially of European companies, by providing cloud computing services. Gaia-X is not a cloud provider like Amazon Web Services, Azure, Google or IBM. Rather, it is a standard for a cloud infrastructure. This standard takes into account European data protection requirements, transparency and compatibility right from the start. Gaia-X has the potential to drive innovation in all industries - especially for SMEs.
For a long time, Europe was far behind when it came to the all-important areas of digitalisation and cloud computing. That is about to change. With the new initiative Gaia X, several European countries under the leadership of France and Germany now want to create a uniform and common data infrastructure. Innovations are increasingly taking place in the digital realm and are therefore based on data and data streams. The developers of the Gaia X model are planning a data infrastructure through which users can always choose the right provider for the cloud service they need from a global catalogue.
In the current competitive environment, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular do not have an easy time developing business models based on future-oriented technologies and visions. This makes it all the more important to get involved with the Gaia-X project and find out what advantages and opportunities it brings with it. We have summarised five reasons why small and medium-sized enterprises benefit from Gaia-X. 1.
1 Gaia-X establishes a European cloud data infrastructure
The overall goal of the joint project is to create a European offering for a DSGVO-compliant data infrastructure. The main focus is on creating freedom of choice as to which servers and to what extent companies host their data. This is because a frequent problem that arises when hosting company data on cloud platforms of global cloud providers is that the respective provider is not located within the EU. They are therefore subject to the jurisdiction of their respective home location. Which can be critical for some companies in terms of data protection.
2 GAIA-X creates digital sovereignty
GAIA-X creates a system for Europe, its citizens and its companies, in which data remains in their own hands. In the context of the digital transformation, data is increasingly located in the cloud and no longer in the company itself. That is why it is increasingly important that companies retain control over their data outside their own company boundaries. What happens to this data and who and how you use it is decided by each individual company. Gaia-X enables not only large companies, but also small and medium-sized enterprises to retain their data sovereignty and implement maximum data security and data protection.
3 Gaia-X establishes a European data ecosystem
Unlike the American pioneer Amazon, European countries do not have a proper data ecosystem. As a result, valuable data from European companies is not available and usable in order to benefit from it vis-à-vis the competition.
Gaia-X is not intended to create a competing product to Amazon and others. Rather, it is about creating open, transparent interfaces, enabling companies to interact, to exchange their data, but to know that they can work with the data in a trustworthy environment. This is exactly where Gaia-X comes in: To develop these interfaces and standards so that a trusted, European economy can be developed where their data remains in their own hands. Gaia-X is open to many and not only to large corporations, but also to small and medium-sized enterprises. The aim is to create an interoperable and federated infrastructure where data and applications are easily portable.
Small and medium-sized enterprises can thus easily and quickly select standardised and certified offerings from a catalogue and access the available resources. Thanks to uniform interfaces, it is also possible to easily switch between providers or use several providers in parallel.
If we succeed in this exchange of data, there is a good basis for a data-intensive economy and thus an important foundation for machine learning or artificial intelligence. In the process, GAIA-X is developing a digital ecosystem that also allows small and medium-sized enterprises in particular to obtain options for action, for example to experience market transparency or to switch between providers, so that they have options for how they can behave and prove themselves in the market.
4 SMEs can drive innovation
The Gaia-X concept is designed to reconcile innovation and data security. To this end, various decentralised infrastructures are to be interconnected via nodes to create an interoperable infrastructure in which data and applications can be easily ported. In future, SMEs will be able to select and flexibly combine standardised and certified services according to their criteria via a global catalogue - in compliance with data protection regulations and without vendor lock-in. They can also access data pools and use them for AI and machine learning applications. In this way, SMEs develop new business models and implement innovations without having to build the necessary infrastructures themselves - or failing due to a lack of data. Several SMEs can join forces in partner networks and collect and process data together for analyses, AI training, ML and more. This gives them more clout together, allows them to innovate faster, and means they don't have to leave the market to overseas competition.
5. SMEs can help shape Gaia-X themselves.
The joint project was launched in 2019 by several organisations and companies from Europe in response to the global system competition between Europe, the US and China in the cloud and technology industry. Gaia-X aims not only to enforce European data protection standards, but also to reduce dependence on American and Chinese cloud providers and build an ecosystem for digital innovation based on open source. The project is now supported by more than 500 organisations worldwide, but according to a survey conducted by the Institute of the German Economy on behalf of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), a considerable proportion of smaller companies in particular are still hardly aware of it. Active participation is desired and open to all companies and organisations.
Small and medium-sized enterprises can therefore not only use the infrastructure and certified services on Gaia-X. They also have the opportunity to actively participate. They also have the opportunity to actively participate in the project. According to the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), more than 300 organisations are already participating in the project.