FEDeRATED; August 2022
FEDeRATED is an EU CEF project for digital co-operation in logistics which consists of 15 partners located in 6 EU Member States (Luxemburg, Italy, Finland, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden). However, the project is open to observer organizations that would like to contribute and join efforts to realize sustainable data sharing. The German Ministry of Transport and Digital infrastructure participates as an observer in the FEDeRATED projects. Within the context of testing data sharing opportunities on their feasibility business and public authorities are invited to participate in a multitude of national and cross-bordering pilots and living labs.
The vision is to go from a monolithic data sharing platform perspective towards a federated network of platforms. Enabling all supply chain operators to connect, operating their own IT systems or platforms. In contrast to the traditional platforms which only access data that is within the database of their system, the federated platform aims to leverage on decentralized architectures in order to access any data anywhere in the world. Moreover, the adoption of semantic web technologies for linked data (RDF) enables a better representation of data and powerful querying capabilities.
The main purpose is the development of the foundations for a secure, open, and neutral data sharing infrastructure provision through practical Living Labs. The 15 FEDeRATED partners are executing 23 Living Labs/Pilots until the end of 2023. Living Labs are required to cover several modes of transport putting focus upon multi-modal concerns and events within (including a section of) a transport corridor. The Living Labs address the value of enhanced transparency, data sharing with a focus beyond a single organization, and encourage data sharing and collaboration among multiple parties along the transport chain.
Currently, FEDeRATED has identified 23 Living Labs to be conducted. Each of them is based on various initiatives that will be tested and demonstrated throughout the project and having a common thread of the impact of digitalization on transport and logistics both in the short and the long term, as well as a focus on co-modal (intermodal) transport solutions.
Common to all Living Labs is a focus on how digitalization can contribute to increased transparency and efficiency throughout the transport ecosystem, from goods owner to end customer, via the various modes of transport (air, rail, shipping, and road) and the several types of transport hubs (airports, seaports, rail-road terminals) used in the end-to-end supply chain.
What we do
- Support interoperability in supply and logistics chains.
- Demonstrate how the federative platform as proposed by the EU Digital Transport and Logistics Forum (DTLF) can work.
- Initiate the implementation of the federated network of platforms concept.
- Identify the conditions (barriers and opportunities/benefits) that allow different stakeholders to make use of federated data sharing platforms.
- Facilitate seamless and cross bordering multimodal freight transport, cross bordering harmonized data interoperability, and data sharing between relevant actors.
- Enable paperless transport in all transport modes via concrete actions and large-scale collaboration.
- Support eGovernment, including a one-stop shop and only once reporting functionalities, and a corridor management information system approach.
- Foster a future proof approach allowing current data distribution mechanisms to evolve into a data sharing environment, i.e., multiple (re-)use of data.
- Develop a reference architecture for a sustainable data sharing environment.
- Foster seamless cargo flows along TEN-T corridors.
How we do it
Taking into consideration the increasing role of computers in every domain and the billions of transactions taking place every day, there are some things that have not changed, like the need for synchronization and privacy between those transactions. Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLTs) are the ones that allow us to meet these needs by keeping the synchronization within transactions and data sharing, but with the necessary condition that no one can change them. There are a lot of DLTs based on blockchain technology, in which everybody gets a copy of every transaction. That, however, a lot of duplications and difficulty to scale to global needs or the maintaining of privacy. This is where Corda comes to help solve these issues.
Corda is a DLT but there is a significant difference. Even though it borrows concepts from blockchain technology, in Corda, the transactions are not shared with every node. This means that the information is seen only by the nodes of interest instead of being shared to the whole network. In addition, Corda does not periodically batch up transactions needing confirmation -into a block- and confirm them in one go. Instead, Corda confirms each transaction in real-time. This leads to increased privacy and reduced time. Each deal is individual, and we can tailor Smart Contracts while sending data only to those that need to know, for example, a person, a business, a service, or a regulator.
Smart contracts are programs stored on a blockchain that run when predetermined conditions are met. They typically are used to automate the execution of an agreement so that all participants can be immediately certain of the outcome, without any intermediary's involvement or time loss. In our implementation, smart contracts are the core of the logic execution and one of the main elements of our Corda node.
The BDI (Basic Data-Sharing Infrastructure) node consists of an API, the Corda node and a second database, GraphDB, as triple Store. The API is the only way for the user to interact with the Flows in the Corda node since it is not allowed to invoke the flows directly. This can happen after having been authenticated through iShare, which has the role of Identity provider and Authentication Service. After the authentication, the user can read and write data in the Corda node. In the case of a new transaction agreement between nodes, the Flow is responsible for two things. Write it in the Ledger, and write it also in the GraphDB, which is used to provide semantic web functionalities.
The main purpose of the Basic Data-Sharing Infrastructure (BDI), is a decentralized way of communication between private systems, which do not need to share data with every other system, even though this is possible. This means that there can be systems which do not communicate with each other, allowing various data ecosystems to form.
Apart from the significant impact on the logistics and transport sector, we also envision creating the basis for further development in various other domains.