Answers to

Frequently Asked Questions

EONA-X is a dedicated European data space for Mobility, Transport and Tourism, developed by some Gaia-X members and other industry players.

The founding members are European, many of them with global operations. They are determined to explore together the opportunities for economic development and improved quality of services provided by better information for passengers and visitors in Europe.

EONA-X complies with the Common European mobility data space strategy: “Wide availability and use of data in public transport systems has the potential to make them more efficient, green and customer friendly. Data use to improve transport systems is also a central feature of smart cities”.

Following the European Commission’s conception of data spaces, the term “data space” refers to trusted partners, each applying the same high standards and rules to the storage and sharing of their data and interchanging them when necessary. In this sense, the European Commission aims to “set up a single market for data, to unlock unused data, allowing it to flow freely within the European Union and across sectors for the benefit of businesses, researchers and public administrations. Thus, citizens, business partners, and public organizations should be empowered to make better decisions based on insights gleaned from data. That data should be available to all, whether public or private, start-up or giant.”

Data spaces have also been described as “an umbrella term corresponding to any ecosystem of data models, datasets, ontologies, data sharing smart contracts and specialized management services, together with software and hardware competencies around it” (Insight Centre’s Edward Curry).  

The Mobility, Transport and Tourism Data Space aims to enhance the user experience in mobility, while creating new business opportunities for the ecosystem members. While addressing the challenge that travel data should be available “end to end” and offering the wide range of means of transportation such as aircraft, bus, train, car or even by bicycle or by foot, as well as hospitality and tourism points of interest such as museums, natural sites, etc, the key question is how to ensure data sovereignty, guarantee privacy and nurture trade while this industry is in a state of flux.

It is a combined brand name inspired by Greek and Roman deities: One is the Hellenistic deity Aion (Αἰών) – associated with the zodiac, time and eternity -, whose name has been feminized and linked to the X letter which here represents an indetermined space remembering data spaces within data and cloud infrastructures linked to the GAIA-X ecosystem. It also echoes the name of Abeona, the Roman Goddess of outward journeys, who was thought to look after children’s steps and also provide protection for travelers. Abeona was specifically a Goddess of Partings and her name was usually mentioned with Adiona, a divinity in charge of returning children home safe and sound.

The European Commission has highlighted the need for these data spaces: “a real data economy (…) would be a powerful engine for innovation and new jobs (…) We need common data spaces (…) This will support innovation ecosystems in which universities, companies and researchers can access and collaborate on data” (State of the Union Address, Sept 16, 2020).

Currently there are 13 data spaces: aerospace, agriculture, circular economy, education, energy, finance, geoinformation, health, industry, mobility, public sector, smart living and space.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, stricto sensu (strictly speaking), mobility is “the ability to move freely or be easily moved”, while lato sensu (widely speaking), it is “the ability to have particular services available both on a smart phone or a computer used while travelling from place to place, without being connected by wires”. We refer to both meanings as they represent people’s ability to go from one place to another, as well as data mobility and all that these exercises imply.

EONA-X  is not a cloud service. It will use cloud hosting but only for its connectors. Each producer of data will be allowed to choose for its hosting of data on premises or in the cloud, and choose between the cloud provider (Microsoft Azur, Amazon WS, OVH or any other, particularly those who will propose sovereign cloud in 2023: such as Bleu among others).

All European companies in the transportation and tourism sector, universities, research labs, private or public organizations can be members of EONA-X. All extra-European organizations and companies will be authorized to apply for contracts allowing them to share, produce and consume data as long as they accept the rules of the European Data Space Strategy and the EONA-X charter.

EONA-X is not storing data. It is a space for data-sharing, enabling the creation of new services for passengers and visitors.

EONA-X is funded by private and public companies. It is a European initiative driven by business and industrial partners willing to develop equal opportunities for each and every partner. It is impossible today to identify all the possibilities implied by this initiative. We will be happy to welcome public funding to accelerate our development, but if not we will invest anyway.

We have chosen to create a “Seamless travel” demonstrator for three reasons:

  1. Travel and tourism are a common expertise of our founding members
  1. We want to demonstrate the feasibility of data-sharing in real time, on an end-to-end journey
  1. We aim to identify and validate the technology to be used in this data-sharing, following the European principles on data control.

We are working towards a sustainable intermodal travel ecosystem. It will be used to inform about traffic disruption on a multi-segment travel incorporating several means of transportation. The entire trip will be on a single PNR (passenger name record) and travelers will receive relevant and timely updates of their trip while travel providers will be sharing specific timelines in a common format.

In this sense, we recently delivered an Open-Source prototype based on an innovative architecture (data mesh) and Eclipse connectors permitting the confirmation of the technology options and the feasibility of the technical model. It is currently considered to be one of the more complete solutions by the technical community of Gaia-X.