Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Building trust in virtual organisations

05.07.2006
Trust is essential to any relationship, not least in business where companies have to be able to rely on their partners and suppliers. But as more business takes place in the ever-changing online world new tools are needed to build and maintain confidence. European researchers are working on supplying them.

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
Further information:
http://istresults.cordis.lu/

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world
18.05.2017 | RMIT University

nachricht Internet of things made simple: One sensor package does work of many
11.05.2017 | Carnegie Mellon University

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists propose synestia, a new type of planetary object

23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria

23.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Medical gamma-ray camera is now palm-sized

23.05.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>