Industry : partners collaboration around restricted data

Current situation / problem :

In the industry, companies work with suppliers / partners for design or manufacturing tasks.

They typically :

  • Design the main product structure / organization and some small part of the product, but actually outsource design of specific parts of the product to other expert companies to design some specific parts of the product. In the case of an airplane, this could be the engine, the electrical harness, the seats, the wings structure…

  • When it comes to manufacturing, they will usually assemble the main structure, but have external manufacturers build the specific components (again : engine, electrical harness…)

They actually need these partners as some of the tasks are not the company’s specialty and they do not have the inside expertise nor tools to do it themselves.

So a lot of data exchange processes are involved in this kind of situation between the main company and its partners / suppliers / manufacturers.

In such cases, for a partner to be able to do its design or manufacturing job, the company needs to send some information.

Typically, the type of data being exchanged would be :

  • Technical / functional specification (documentation)
  • Actual 3D/2D CAD models
  • Weight and balance information

They will need CAD models to run some clash calculation / weight and balance calculations / motion simulation that are crucial to the product design.

When it comes to data exchange between an airplane or satellite company and its suppliers / partners, most of the time the data exchange process is a pain in the ass.

The reason behind it is that some of the data that is needed by the partner is either :

  • military classified
  • internal data that must not get out of the company for Intellectual property reasons
  • data delivered to the company by other suppliers (equipments, typically) that should not be sent to other suppliers

The main reasons are : intellectual property and military classification rules.

These rules are extremely important to follow and if broken, will lead to legal actions.

So when defining a data exchange process between a company and its partners :

  • Both companies’ legal departments spend quite a lot of time defining legal contracts as to what kind of information needs to be exchanged.
  • When actual data exchange starts, it is extremely important to filter the product structure to only send appropriate / authorized data. It sometimes results in not sending enough data for the partner to be able to properly work.

The needed data never being provided to the partner results in the partner not actually being able to deliver a complete / proper product design.

In this case the partner will deliver the incomplete design and the Aircraft company will have to run the calculations / simulations on their side, and provide some feedback to the partner, who will modify its design, send it back, and so on.

This creates a lot of back and forth communication between partners, and a lot of lost time that could have been avoided in the first time if the partner had access to the right data.

Nillion value :

This is where I think Nillion technology could theoretically come really handy and save a lot of trouble for industry actors.

Due to the nature of NMC, data that is needed for partners to work could be stored on the nillion network and the really sensitive data could actually never be directly sent to the partners.

The 3D models themselves would be stored as particles on NMC nodes, invisible to the partners.

All the computations needed to design a proper product could be run directly on the NMC nodes :

  • Clash collisions
  • Weight and balance calculations
  • Motion simulation

All of that could actually be run without actually needing to reveal the classified data to partners

This could actually also potentially be built on some internal company network based on NMC technology.

Limitation for now:

There is still a long way to go to be able to implement this kind of solution as for now, there would be some obvious legal issues when it comes to storing confidential data on the Nillion network. (this might be easier if done on some internal company network based on Nillion tech)

Rules for storing some of this data (military data for instance) are defined at government level, which is not the best actor to adopt innovation.

On the other hand, they also currently use some standard encryption processes (so not ITS secured) for this kind of data, which, when quantum computers get real, will be a problem. So they might be more willing to change security rules as the research on quantum computers advances.

This is an awesome if political challenging idea. What I do not understand right now is, if the partners never get access to the 3D files, how will they be able to produce a part of it?

I believe your question is related to the manufacturing phase ? Yes for manufacturing partners will indeed need to get access to the 3D of restricted parts, so here this use case would not help the process (there might still be some kind of usage for Nillion for manufacturing, but more around data storage and access rights, not too much on the computation itself).

My idea is more for the Design phase where the partners could run some algorithmes needed during this phase (clash collision, weight and balance, motion simulation) on restricted data on the Nillion network without having direct access to the 3D.
This would not work for all situation, like if the partner is supposed to design a part that directly interacts with some restricted part, he would need the 3D for this restricted part.
But in other situations, like the partner designing some kind of equipment that interacts with a product that contains some restricted data, this could come handy.

Ok. I understand. So if the partners creates a part that needs some data from the restricted part but not necessarily the complete 3D model. That is an interesting use case. You could imagine similar things in the electronic space, where you design some auxiliary circuits that use the power supply of a confidential circuit. In this case the designer need to calculate whether the power supply can handle his circuit. With Nillion he can check that without needing access to the confidential circuit. All he receives is an OK or 20% to much power consumption. The only thing he could learn from that is the maximum allowed power consumption.

Yes exactly, this idea could be applied to the electronic space as well.