On 30 November 2023 , 168 persons from 14 countries participated in the EU Data Logistics Festival in Brussels. During the conference, various EU Member State and IATA policy views as well as down-to earth  results - and lessons learnt - of 15 FEDeRATED partners located in 7 countries were presented and exchanged within the context of the European Commission policy approach on enhancing data driven logistics, i.e, EU DTLF,  and the EC Data Strategy.

In the concluding plenary session, all participants stressed  the importance of an active role for the European Commission developing an overarching EU Reference Framework for federated data sharing enhancing supply chain visibility: seamless multimodal,freight transport and logistics. Since the start of the EU DTLF in 2015, it appears all the necessary steps have been taken to set pull based - federated - data sharing in EU motion, to structure the participation of the countries and stakeholders around an EU coordinated change management governance, to create an open source environment for innovation and diligently choose business cases and stakeholder commitment for scaling up. "We, EU Member States want to continue.", emphased Maria Carmen Corral Escribano of the Spanish  Ministry of Infrastructure and urban development (MITMA - Spain, EU President second half 2023), "We need you, European Commission, to make it work. Let's start now!"

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Plenary session panel: Brigit Gijsbers (right - Dept DG NL Ministry of Infrastructure and watermanagement), Maria Corral Escribano (centre - Head Unit MITMA) and Szymon Olscislowski (left - EC - DG MOVE - Dept  Head of Unit) on the importance of continuing closecEU collaboration for federated data sharing in freight transport and logistics 

During the Event many documents were provided and presentations delivered. They are accessible here through a click on:

FEDeRATED (hand out) documents:

Plenary session presentations:

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LET 100 FLOWER BLOOM BASED ON AN EU STRUCTURED APPROACH 

AFTERNOON WORKSHOP SESSIONS

Semantics

LivingLab Demos:

Plus - Stakeholder Engagement workshop

 Pictures event FEDeRATED 30112023 total room

 

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EC releases 2024 Workprogramme

On 17 October 2023, the European  Commission published its work programme 2024. Title: Delivering today and preparing for tomorrow. The work programme contains some interesting texts relating to digital technology:

  • We will (..) maintain our efforts to set the course towards a human-centred, sustainable and more prosperous digital future with the Digital Decade.
  • To reduce burdens associated with reporting requirements by 25%, without undermining policy objectives. .. .To achieve this goal, the Commission has adopted legislation, including to reform the Union Customs Code, which will create a single EU interface and facilitate data re-use.
  • To develop additional rationalisation proposals to reduce administrative burdens to streamline reporting requirements that are of limited use, for example by consolidating overlapping obligations, reducing the number of businesses concerned and increasing digitalisation.
  • To allow stakeholders time to adapt to new requirements, we will postpone the deadline for adoption of the sector-specific European sustainability reporting standards. The Commission will adjust the thresholds of the accounting Directive so that more than a million companies are expected to benefit from reduced reporting requirements, and review the benchmark Regulation, including to exempt administrators of smaller benchmarks, which account for 90% of the population, while still ensuring a high degree of consumer and investor protection. The Commission also proposes to facilitate data sharing between autorities overseeing the financial sector and avoid duplicative reporting.
  • The Commission will put the development of artificial intelligence tools and large language models at the core of this exercise. This will help to identify reporting requirements in EU legislation, based on standardised means, and support in analysing their effect in a certain sector. It will also work on the expansion of the use of e-platforms for collecting and sharing data, such as the Single Digital Gateway, the e-platform established under the Governance of the Energy Union and Climate Action Regulation and the Digital Finance Platform.
  • EC will continue their efforts to ensure that the green transition is done in a just, smart and inclusive way, leaving nobody and nowhere behind, while also engaging actively with our third country partners including to strengthen green growth. To this end, the Commission will initiate a series of green dialogues in order to fully and directly engage with citizens, as well as clean transition dialogues with industry and social partners.
  • To bring us closer to a true circular economy we need swift agreement on the ecodesign requirements for sustainable products, waste and packaging, shipment of waste, and the repair of goods.
  •  A Europe fit for the digital age. The EU and its Member States have set a course to improve digital skills, digitalise administration and businesses, boost research and innovation, close the digital gap and upgrade our digital infrastructure. At the same time, the EU is leading the way in managing the risks of our digital future. With the digital markets act and the digital services act, we have laid strong foundations for making our single market fair, competitive, consumer friendly and safe in the digital realm, especially for children.
  • By making the 2020s the Digital Decade with clear digital targets, the EU and its Member States have set a course to improve digital skills, digitalise administration and businesses, boost research and innovation, close the digital gap and upgrade our digital infrastructure. At the same time, the EU is leading the way in managing the risks of our digital future.
  • Efforts are still needed to agree pending key initiatives that will further the digital agenda and strengthen Europe’s resilience. The critical raw materials act will allow Europe to bolster domestic supplies, including through boosting refining and recycling capacities, diversify imports of these crucial materials, and incentivise our industry to better manage supply risks, while remaining competitive. The provisions will build on the strengths of the single market to boost more sustainable and circular practices and will also allow for joint purchasing of raw materials through a dedicated platform. Many of our partners around the world want to work together and develop local industries for processing and refining to strengthen global supply chains of raw materials.
  • The pending proposals on artificial intelligence (AI) are key to the safe and beneficial application of a technology that has been evolving at tremendous speed in recent years. The window of opportunity is narrowing for us to guide this technology responsibly.Alongside concerted efforts with our international partners to strengthen global AI governance, we will open up our high-performance computers to AI start-ups to facilitate European innovation.
  • Major investments in digital networks are needed to meet our Digital Decade targets for 2030. Following the recent exploratory consultation, we will prepare the ground for possible policy and regulatory actions regarding Digital Networks and infrastructure, notably to facilitate cross-border infrastructure operators in the Single Market, accelerate deployment of technologies and attract more capital into networks.
  • The upcoming Cyber Resilience Act and Cyber Solidarity Act proposal will play a key role in reinforcing cybersecurity, by boosting supply chain security and strengthening solidarity at Union level to better detect, prepare and respond to cybersecurity threats and incidents.
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IATA Hackaton boosts FEDeRATED node development

The weekend of 23-25 June, IATA organised its 7th Hacketon on data sharing in Frankfurt. Over 150 developers, devided over 20 teamst, participated in several competitions, all aimed at enhancing seamless data sharing practices in freight transport operations. A FEDeRATED competion was also organised. Three teams - Vediafi, SIMPLE and TNO - competed on how to apply the FEDeRATED node effectively, facilitating real time data based logistic operations.

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The Hackaton enabled the three teams to structurally test and improve the robustness of the FEDeRATED node prototype, the application of verifiable credentials, and the non predefined data querying methodology. Three use cases were executed enabling data exchange between different data holders, also data derived from the IATA One Record Standard,  for various transport operations and crossbordering (Customs)  case.  Being put to the competive test: Vediafi was  rewarded to be the winner of the FEDeRATED prize.

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Aleksander Schmidt and Laxmi Thebe  of the Vediafi Oy team

The three FEDeRATED contributions to the Hackaton are:

- Vediafi - Bordeless Digital Salmon Movement
SIMPLE contribution: https://devpost.com/software/federated-simple
- TNO contribution Multimodal Visibility Infrastructure 

The Hackaton proved to be a great testing bed for the FEDeRATED node to feed into  a FEDeRATED Common LivingLab between various partners, enabling an agenda for improvements to be executed this Fall. The results will be showcased as a FEDeRATED data sharing prototype during the EU Data Logistics Festival on 30 November in Brussels.

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From 13-15 June, the International Physical Internet Cnference (IPIC) took place in Athens, successfully organized by ALICE. This years conference was the first since 2019 enabling participants to meet physically. A great opportunity for the 200+ participants to reconnect; - for FEDeRATED to present and discuss its works. At the conference, Wout Hofman (FEDeRATED Architecture Group)  presented  FEDeRATED and its results in the plenary meeting. In addition he delivered a FEDeRATED technically detailed presentation in a session moderated by Guido Picolli (Codognotto and FEDeRATED activity 4 leader) 

Both presentations led to a lively discussion with the audience. The discussion centered round issues like the support of SMEs and standards. A solution for SMEs must be simple and easy to install and use, of course low cost. Based on the development of Technology Independent Services - like the multimodal visibility service that has been presented - innovative applications could be developed by third parties within an open source - Creative Common - framework approach. Standards are a bit more complex as they consider semantics, syntax, and governance. The FEDeRATED approach presented is to standardize the meta level  (the úpper ontology) and provide procedures for alignment and application of these standards with tools.

The long and winding road
In general, during  IPIC it became clear a mis-alignment between business people and researchers in supply and logistics versus IT developers is taking place. Where the first group speaks about the introduction of (more) ‘platforms’, the IT guys focus on developing distributed solutions like the ones of FEDeRATED. Furthermore, where the plenary discussions focused on ‘standards’,  it is becoming obvious that most, if not all, IPIC plenary speakers developed their own ‘data models’ to deal with standards. An endless standardization road will follow, probably hardly assisting any SME to engage in seamless data sharing practices

Let's get practical
What if, as FEDeRATED proposes,  we were to take ‘standards’ out of the equation, align, and match these models via the FEDeRATED ontology, and potentially applying Large Language Models (LLM) like ChatGPT? Standards would become obsolete!

For those that have not got their own models in place, yet : Not to worry. Please express data requirements and capabilities by the FEDeRATED ontology and you can join easily. On-boarding then can focus on ‘trust’ provided by an open infrastructure for Identification and Authentication. More to come at the FEDeRATED EU Data Logistics Festival on 30 November 2023 in Brussels. 

For the architects and humans

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Zailog Srl cordially hosted the 5th FEDeRATED LivingLab workshop in Verona. 42 persons, representing all 23 FEDeRATED LivingLabs and the IT Architecture Board, participated. As FEDeRATED is moving into its final project stages various topics were adressed:

  • FEDeRATED essentials - here
  • the way all LivingLabs have organised their stakeholder engagement 
  • the scope and technical setting of the LivingLabs, including the need for testing actual data exchange processes (various presentations were given, e.g. the Zailog example here)
  • the criteria to validate the LivingLabs against the FEDeRATED Reference Architecture and vice versa. here 
  • common LivingLabs - several common LivingLabs have been established 
  • the need for a migration strategy and a How to Guide
  • the development of a FEDeRATED node prototype 
  • the need for a digital mindset/ digital readiness (a Finnish and Dutch approach were presented)
  • the programme for the FEDeRATED final event on 30 November 2023 in Brussels (many highranking officials will be invited to participate and contribute)
  • the future of a federated network of platforms approach  (i.e.,  EU DTLF approach and the EU Mobility Data Space policy developments)
  • developing the FEDeRATED project results as a brand or rather as a new project.

All participants agreed on the need to continue developing the EU DTLF federated network of platforms approach, especially focusing on the need to put an harmonizing semantic interoperability approach in polac. FEDeRATED has established the foundations to enablke stakeholders to getting this done. Howevber, this will be an intensive and possibly revolutionary change management task. The rewards are high, namely:

  • to comply with the need for supply chain visibility,
  • to fulfill the upcoming green transport legislation requiring for full transparancy
  • to fully profit for available real time data. 

In short: FEDeRATED project has set the foundations inviting stakeholders to engage in a  change management approach to "Make Europe Great Again"IMG 0632

During the workshop, it was identified that data sharing within the context of a very limited number of data holders and data users is feasible for most LivingLabs and should be considered as a first step. The next step is opening up these data sharing practices to multiple stakeholders. This requires the development of a trusted and open environment where the participants act a node (decentralized data resource and user). Different towards a How to Get There were identified. A major question emerging: Who is going to arrange for this open and trusted environment, or rather data sharing grid for logistics?

Within a data sharing grid, participants need capabilities to act as a node. FEDeRATED has identified these capabilities. Most likely, it is public authorities that have to promote the generic technical specifications combined with a set of arrangements and a governance structure, also to deal with change management issues. Not an easy, but essential job. The raod ahead calls for collaborative innovation through stakeholder engagement, a digital mindset, practical business cases and a long term public authority commitment, most likely to be accompanied by a legal framework.

The workshop programme ended with a visit to the Zailiog terminal  more about the terminal here  :

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This project is co-funded by the European Commission Connecting Europe Facility (CEF)