Data standardisation and how it compares to what others are doing

During the past year, the talks on the trusted data exchange between companies and individuals and data sovereignty have come onto the agendas of companies in European countries. Many initiatives already exist in Europe and globally that contribute to the common standards, ontologies, vocabularies and semantic interoperability as part of the solution and each of them from different angles. So why should you invest in the IHAN testbed initiative if the are so may existing initiatives on standardisation? What the others lack is any open value network based standardisation approach of the data and the prominent structures how to use existing data vocabularies and ontologies out there as a building block for the data economy business. A key objective of the IHAN testbed is to offer an open platform to try out, experiment and build the links also to the already existing standards without massive costs for businesses to change their existing data models and structures.

By investigating the existing domain specific standards we've learned that though the standards are there they really are not easy to use in pure Application Programming Interface (API) based application development, and for true interoperability we need standards more openly and easily available for developers which often is not the case. We need more harmonised ways of looking into data standardisation also across domains. This where Sitra is willing to contribute and inviting others to contribute.

To set the scene more concretely — besides constantly evaluating external standards for the use of IHAN testbed and testing the draft data standards in real-world use cases the IHAN testbed team has carried out benchmarking on the other prominent data sharing initiatives in Europe, mainly Gaia-X and IDSA. How the work done in these initiatives compares to the work on the IHAN testbed. The key conclusions from the benchmarking is that European initiatives are so far more closed ecosystems in the sense that the results of their work is either only for members or otherwise not easily available. The IHAN testbed promotes openness and from the outset the contributions from the first pilots are available for everybody. Another key observation from the benchmarked initiatives is that they don't define the data standards as products that could be directly scaled into business processes and associated with content, value and policy controls.

Read more about the IHAN testbed benchmarking to Gaia-X, IDSA and Big cloud >
Data products - how to get started

Many definitions and incarnations of data products exists in digital commerce and data economy initiatives today. Even the social media and technology giants selling the user data for advertisers in the hidden data markets sometimes refer to data products. However, we see that those are not the correct ways to create trusted data sharing and markets. We at IHAN are working on putting the data product concept and related technical standards in the right position which would solve the biggest and the most challenging data sharing hurdles we have today. There are tools that have been developed for businesses to get started the concept of data productisation and related standards for real use case.

Get involved in standardisation!

“We believe in rough consensus and running code” – IETF

Just the like the open internet standardisation community, we at IHAN believe in the same kind of philosophy of learning by doing.

Standards emerge from practical experimentation over time and are deployed by wider communities willing to realise the same vision. This is what the testbed is all about and we invite all interested parties to contribute to shaping future internet standards with us!

Join the standards community and send an email to!