OPEN DEI Principles and Reference Architecture

One of the OpenDei deliverables is a report on a reference architecture (RAF) for Digital Transformations PlatformsOpen DEI Report. Based on 6 underlying principles (Interoperability, Openness, Reusability, Avoid Vendor Lock-In, Security&Privacy, Support To A Data Economy) Open DEI has defined their 6C Architectural Model. Next to this model, these principles are quintessential voor VLOCA.

Open DEI Architecture Principles

1. Interoperability through Data Sharing

Effective interoperability through data sharing requires the definition of standard data models and often a standard API, as well as mappings of these data models into data structures compatible with the API. Such standard data models specify the unique identifiers and shortnames, valid value types and semantics associated to attributes of classes of real/digital objects. Based on this Open DEI has formulated the following recommendation for architectures

2. Openness

In the context of data-driven services, the concept of openness mainly relates to data, data/API specifications and software. In specific, openness refers to Open Data and Open Source software.

Open data refers to the idea that all sharable data should be available (for free or under fair conditions) for use and reuse by others, unless restrictions apply e.g. for protection of personal data, confidentiality, or intellectual property rights.

The use of open source software technologies and products can help to save development cost, reduce the total costs of ownership (TCO), avoid a lock-in effect and allow fast adaptation to specific business needs because the developer communities that support them are constantly adapting them. On the other hand, development of open source reference implementations of API specifications is the basis for definition of most widely “de facto” standards nowadays. OPEN DEI compliant systems should not only use open source software but whenever possible contribute to the pertinent developer communities.

3. Reusability

Reusability of IT solutions (e.g. software components, Application Programming Interfaces, standards), information and data, is an enabler of interoperability and improves quality because it extends operational use, as well as saves money and time. Sharing and reuse of IT solutions fosters also the adoption of new business models, promoting the use of open source software for key ICT services and when deploying digital service infrastructure.

4. Avoid Vendor Lock-in

The OPEN DEI RAF should be able to support the adoption of concrete open standard technologies to use for the effective sharing of data, while at the same time choose technologies that will not impose any specific technical implementation and avoid vendor lock-in. The functioning of an implementation-independent technology requires data to be easily transferable among different sub-systems, in order to support the free movement of data. This requirement also applies to data portability - the ability to move and reuse data easily among different applications and systems, which becomes even more challenging in cross-border scenarios.

5. Security and Privacy

Organisations and businesses must be confident that when they interact with other stakeholders they are doing so in a secure and trustworthy environment and in full compliance with relevant regulations. To establish trust between different security domains, a common data sharing infrastructure is required. This should be based on agreed standards, policies and rules that are acceptable and usable for all domains. In addition to secure solutions, it is necessary to build a trust ecosystem that includes identification, authentication, authorization, trust monitoring and certification of solutions.

6. Support to a Data Economy

In a data economy, data becomes a key asset that businesses provide as a way to generate value. And where businesses do not have the exact data that is valuable to their customers, they use their platform base to connect to other platform partners who DO have that data. Consumers and businesses are more likely to pay for access to data if that data provides them with greater value: if they get premium access to high quality or exclusive content for example, or if the data is available in real-time. Common data sharing infrastructures should come with marketplace functions enabling data providers to publish their offerings associating terms and conditions which, besides data and usage control policies to be enforced, may include different payment modi (e.g.single payment, subscription fees, pay-per-use). To support this, the necessary backend processes are needed(accounting, rating, payment settlement and billing). Standards enabling publication of data offerings across multiple compatible marketplaces will be highly desirable.

These principles have lead to the following Open DEI recommendations

6C Reference Architecture

Based on state of the art architectures for a number of domains (e.g. Industry 4.0), OPEN DEI has adopted a so-called 6C architecture based on the following pillars. These are as follows, from bottom to top:

  • Connection: sensors & networks
  • Cyber: model & memory
  • Computing: edge/cloud and data on demand
  • Content/Context: meaning & correlation
  • Community: sharing & collaboration
  • Customisation: personalisation & value
6C model.png


making data available from/to different networks, connecting systems and digital platforms, among several IT culture and cross organisations’ boundaries, start from the capability to make data available from/to different physical and digital assets.


Modelling and in-memory based solutions to convert data into information, leveraging several information conversion mechanisms. This information will then be shared to upper levels


Deals with the storage and usage of data both on the edge as in the cloud. The data usage defines what will be edge, and what will be cloud-based.


Data and information only makes real sense if it can be correlated with a goal and context in mind(e.g air quality measurements can be enriched with weather and traffic information). This pillar aims at enriching information for upper levels.


Sharing data between people and connecting stakeholders for solving collaboration needs. Networked organisations will be able to collect and share knowledge and opportunities in the widest number of sectors so that its members can make the right decisions.


Personalising and customising allows to add value to information following each own’s perspective and to match their expectations. It is paramount to properly understand end user expectations and build the platform from the ground up while keeping in mind that the intended audience, even within a single organisation, can be very diverse and must be properly segmented and with specific and varying needs.