TrustCoM, an IST-funded project, is tackling the very real problem of establishing trust between organisations online, and ensuring the security of digital transactions and electronic business processes.
By employing innovative and well known Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) open source tools in a generic framework in a distributed environment, the project is addressing the trust, security and contract management issues that have so far hindered the widespread creation of dynamic virtual organisations - the kind of associations between distributed and often very different companies that could fuel a new era of efficient, global business.
“The trouble is convincing companies that the benefits outweigh the costs and calming their concerns about exposing themselves online,” explains TrustCoM coordinator Santi Ristol at Atos Origin in Spain.
The concerns about opening up internal operations and private data are less of an issue between long-established partners who are just automating their existing processes, thereby creating an essentially static virtual organisation. But it becomes a major issue in the case of new or evolving partnerships, or associations that are meant to exist briefly, in some cases for only a single transaction. It is therefore in dynamic virtual organisations where solving the trust issue is paramount and it is here that technology can have the greatest impact on building confidence between partners.
“What we are doing in TrustCoM is developing the technology to build trust into online business transactions,” Ristol notes. “If we can prove to businesses that the technology exists and works then we will be able to overcome some of their concerns.”
The technology has been made possible by the flexibility and adaptability provided by Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) as a means of software development. With its loose coupling of interoperable services, SOA allows businesses to adapt their IT systems to meet rapidly changing business and partnership needs.
The tools being developed by the project cover the qualification of companies as a means to select suppliers and partners; a system to document and monitor contractual relationships, and establish criteria about what all participants in the business chain should do; and the means to identify partners who fail to fulfil their obligations.
The framework is also designed to be flexible enough to adapt to the virtual organisation being reconfigured with the entry of new members or the exit of old ones. It will also maintain security for participants by ensuring that partners have the ability to share only the processes and data they need, and no more.
“As yet there is no culture of collaboration online,” Ristol argues. “For that culture to develop and for companies to start trusting each other in the digital domain there need to be concrete examples of virtual organisations that work well, produce clear benefits for the participants and are not exposed to undue security risks.”
However, someone must first be a pioneer and take up the challenge, creating what Ristol describes as a “chicken and egg situation.”
TrustCoM’s framework represents an important step toward cracking the problem and its deployment in two trials later this year is expected to provide the proof needed to show that secure, trustworthy online business is possible.
In one of the trials, TrustCoM’s prototype framework and tools will be used by aircraft manufacturer BAE Systems and its parts suppliers to manage and automate supply chain processes. In the other, the technology will be implemented to aggregate internet services for mobile users in the e-learning domain.
“Companies have to rethink their traditional business models if they are to take advantage of the efficiency gains provided by virtual organisations,” Ristol says. “Legal issues also have to be ironed out, especially as most legislation today covers paper contracts not digital ones.”
The coordinator says it is likely that initially the project’s technology partners, among them Microsoft, IBM and SAP, will use components of the TrustCoM framework, rather than the framework as a whole, to enhance their existing tools or even develop new software.
He believes ICT services partners, like BT, are also likely to leverage TrustCoM’s results and the SOA paradigm to offer value-added network services, facilitating the seamless integration of application services across enterprises. To that extent, the experience of pre-competitive research in the context TrustCoM is likely to contribute to the enhancement of BT's 21C network initiative.
All of the tools will be available online, probably on SourceForge.net, under open source licences before the end of this year, Ristol says.
Source: Based on information from TrustCoM
Tara Morris | alfa
Supercomputing the emergence of material behavior
18.05.2018 | University of Texas at Austin, Texas Advanced Computing Center
Keeping a Close Eye on Ice Loss
18.05.2018 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.
Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...
A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.
Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.05.2018 | Information Technology
18.05.2018 | Information Technology