The Open Group Digital Standards 2021

IBM – ‘open’ now default software choice. Users as developers (and vice versa!). Open Footprint Forum to leverage OpenID/OSDU. Blockchain proof of origin mooted! OFF ‘not open data’.

An recent online event organized by The Open Group Open ‘Digital Standards 2021 include a presentation on ‘Digital Standards and Saving the Environment’. Geert-Willem Haasjes (Shell account at IBM) described open source software as the ‘new default choice’, citing a 2020 Red Hat (now an IBM unit) report on the State of Enterprise Architecture. Open source APIs allow for connecting applications that ‘propel innovation’. Haasjes also referred to AI/open source guru Gregorio Robles as advocating the user as developers ‘and vice-versa’. The Shell/Open Group Open Footprint Forum* (Haasjes is its’ architect) leverages the open source values as above.

In a discussion between TOG CEO Steve Nunn, OFF director Heidi Karlsson and Shell’s Johan Krebbers it emerged that despite the best efforts of WEF/GRI/GDP on GHG reporting, there are ‘no clear standards on what data to store’. It is impossible to aggregate emissions data across multiple companies. Data on Ikea’ furniture involves many suppliers which all give values that are figured differently. OFF is to go beyond GHG reporting and cover cross-industry supply chains in mining, aviation and marine and will report on water, landfill and more. Krebbers presented a straw man architecture showing microservices-based ‘near real time’ data capture leveraging OpenID Connect. The architecture will reduce the work of collecting supply chain data for GHG Scope 3 reporting. OFF leverages the work already done for OSDU and will be available on Git Hub later this year.

Regarding adoption and TOG certification, Krebbers stated that certification was not yet on the agenda. But it will be OK for third parties to put OFF inside their products. OFF is not for a single company or even a single industry it is a ‘society-wide initiative’. But how do you demonstrate that reported emissions are true? ‘Proof of origin is important, we need something like blockchain to prove origin’. Today, OFF members mostly work with Excel. In the future, a truck moving Ikea furniture could ‘stream data across the IoT’.

Krebbers was questioned on the relationship with other reporting initiatives, notably the OGCI of which Shell is a member. ‘We looked at these initiatives but they only cover a single industry. OGCI does not go across industry and into the supply chain. We speak to them and learn what they are trying to do. What we are doing is different’.

How will it work? Will there be a central OFF database? Haasjes responded that with APIs, ‘anyone in the ecosystem can tap into the data to decrease their GHG footprint. Krebbers stated that ‘all can have their own implementations and can hide their own data from competitors**.

Will OFF leverage the TOG ODEF open data element framework? ‘No, we have already a data platform (from OSDU), a flexible meta data store with pointers to real data. But this is all at an early stage’.

* See our earlier report on the OFF.

** i.e. open source software but not open data! This is rather curious in terms of GHG reporting transparency.

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