One of the biggest bottlenecks that withholds organisations from sharing their data is the lack of trust. According to our participant Marlin SCX, an independent neutral party needs to help organisations to keep control over their data and share it in a secure, selective, and sovereign manner. Marlin’s DataMarketplace, which acts as a ‘data postman’, offers authorised parties a marketplace for data assets where producers and consumers can selectively exchange data under their control. During our upcoming Community Meeting, Marlin’s co-founder Wouter van Neerbos will explain how their platform works and elaborate on their vision with regards to data sharing. We already spoke with him in advance.
Why an independent neutral party should be involved in data sharing
During his 25 years working for Shell, Wouter van Neerbos was responsible for the Chemicals commercial operations globally and for optimising complex supply chains with a large variety of stakeholders across the world. Wouter noticed that sharing data amongst different parties in such environments is essential to optimise the business, but this was also very challenging. “To share data with all these supply chain parties, we used a data lake, which gave each participating organisation access to all the data stored in that data lake. However, it was neither selective, nor completely secure. We didn’t have much control over what happened with our data. Hence, organisations were hesitant to share their data through this data lake. I believe it is important that organisations remain in control of their data and are able to share it in a safe and reliable way. In my opinion, the best way to do this is to appoint an independent neutral party that has no interest in the data itself, doesn’t do anything with the content, but only facilitates the data sharing itself. That’s where Marlin comes in.”
One gateway to unlock new business ecosystems
With Marlin’s DataMarketplace, Wouter hopes to help organisations to improve collaboration in (and between) their business ecosystem and open up new business ecosystems. In principle “Marlin’s DataMarketplace purely functions as a ‘data postman’ to send data from A to B. That’s all. We do not store any data ourselves, nor do we use functional applications to use the data that the companies share through our platform to our advantage. The main benefit for all these companies is efficiency: they no longer have to build APIs themselves to share data with each other, but simply use Marlin as a single and simple gateway to many other organisations that want to share data. Organisations only pay a membership fee to use our platform. Onboarding is easily done on the basis of plug-and-play using ‘Get Data’, and ‘Post Data’ messages.”
Through Marlin’s DataMarketplace, organisations can share their data in a safe and controlled manner. Wouter: “First of all, our platform is based on blockchain technology which makes data sharing very controllable and secure thanks to smart contracts. Secondly, participating organisations have to comply with strict rules, for example in the field of identification, authentication, and authorisation, for which we use iSHARE.” With Marlin, data consumers and data sources are not only fully in control of their data, they can also be very selective in what information they share, with whom, and for how long. Wouter: “In my opinion, data sharing is not about sharing entire datasets or databases, but about sharing the right data at the right time only. Suppose a partner of Shell wants to know the tank level of a pump at a specific time in order to improve the supply chain. Only the tank level has been requested, so there is no need to share an entire dataset that also contains all kinds of other information, such as transactional data or details about maintenance details. Besides, why would you make this data available indefinitely, if the partner only needs this data for a specific point in time, temporarily? With our platform, organisations can be very selective in the information they want to exchange and when, since they can indicate how long to make the data available.”
Working on a use case with like-minded people
While Marlin has a strong background in logistics, the company joined the Data Sharing Coalition to learn more from organisations from other domains and sectors that share the same ideas about data sharing. “The Data Sharing Coalition is a very good initiative, as it brings together a lot of knowledge about data sharing and the challenges organisations experience across all kinds of domains. The use cases that the Data Sharing Coalition is realising highly contribute to knowledge sharing and exposing challenges to be tackled. Marlin has a strong background in logistics, which is why we are involved in a use case in which we investigate how logistics parties can share freight data with insurers to enable improved processes and risk management. Of course, we run into various legal, technical, or functional challenges in this use case. However, working with participants of the Data Sharing Coalition guarantees that we collaborate with like-minded people who also believe that data sharing should always take place under control of the rightful owner.”