Mona Wappler

Head of the Industrial Data Space project | Mona Wappler

The economist as the guardian of data

The one thing Mona Wappler is carried away by? Data. To make Industrial IoT come true, the project manager cross-connects production, information and communication. 

Industry 4.0, the linking of industrial production with modern information and communications technology, is one of the most important areas of development for strong, forward-looking industrial enterprises. But without people like Mona Wappler, companies would quickly get bogged down. “I want to make a contribution to the digitization of thyssenkrupp,” she says. With a background in economics she is helping the company gradually learn one of the key skills of the new information era: how to share acquired data in the right way with the right partners.

As head of the Industrial Data Space project at thyssenkrupp, she knows that anyone who loses control over their data will also lose out in the race to digitization. The Industrial Data Space (IDS) aims to permit the secure exchange of data between companies while enabling them to maintain sovereignty over their data. Anyone exchanging data in the Industrial Data Space can define exactly which partner may use what data and for how long. The Industrial Data Space research project and the user association of the same name are driving the development of a standard for the safe and sovereign exchange of data. Twelve Fraunhofer Institutes and more than 70 companies – among them thyssenkrupp – are now on board.

It’s a challenge in which Mona Wappler’s perseverance, willingness to learn and analytical skills are a great advantage. Because it is now time to test the IDS on real projects, such as enhancing the efficiency of transportation and logistics at the company’s steel plant in Duisburg. A new information system connecting trucks and the plant records the position of the trucks every ten minutes, calculates their arrival time in Duisburg and automatically suggests a new loading or unloading slot to vehicles that are delayed. This information is shared via the IDS.

“We’re still piloting the project, analyzing the first results and processing what we learn,” says Wappler. Initial findings and feedback from the logistics companies have been very promising. There has also been praise for the project from Reinhold Achatz, Chief Technology Officer at thyssenkrupp and chairman of the Industrial Data Space Association. “Our application is just a first example of the possibilities offered by the Industrial Data Space,” says Achatz. “It will quickly be followed by many more applications from other companies.”