September 2019

LIGHTest: Onwards and Upwards!

By Heiko Rossnagel, Fraunhofer

As the three-year LIGHTest project is soon to wrap up, we talk to Heiko Rossnagel from Fraunhofer about how the project has gone and what the future holds for LIGHTest.


As we get near the end of LIGHTest, how do you feel the project has gone? What have been the project highlights?


LIGHTest has gone incredibly smoothly as a project and I’ve worked on a lot of EU projects in the past! The team are all very motivated and there has been excellent collaboration right from the start.


We did face a challenge when IBM exited the project but adding a new competent partner in their place ensured we could extend the project by three months and successfully move forward.


There have been many highlights in the project, I really like the model we’ve created for trust schemes that was finished in WP3 and I think that this unified model is extremely helpful in discussing differences in trust schemes, something that was missing before and a major contribution by LIGHTest. There was a lot of interest in the community and also at the UN trade and commerce expert group on trust schemes and they intend on basing some of their findings on this model.


The pilots have been fascinating and allow us to create a lighthouse where we can demonstrate how LIGHTest works. A big highlight for me is seeing the reception we get everywhere we present; there is a need for LIGHTest and people are excited about what we’ve done.


We’ve already put LIGHTest into different projects, for example collaborated with Industrial Data Space in Germany. 


The development of the ATV is essential for the project. The mobile aspect in WP7 has also been a highlight of the project.


The pilots have worked on real use cases, how do you feel their successes have contributed towards the project goals?


As these aren’t finished yet it’s a bit hard to comment. The purpose is to show that the technology we’ve developed works in the real world. They are designed on real use cases and they show what contribution LIGHTest could have and the benefits arising as well as contribute towards the project goals.


Now the project is nearing the end, what will be the next steps to encourage ongoing success?


We’ve provided a very useful infrastructure and I think that having showcased that this infrastructure works and it’s been implemented in real use cases, this helps to create visibility. The ideal outcome would be that the European Commission picks it up and they publish their own trust lists using LIGHTest. I also hope that we can convince other governments and other entities to use the LIGHTest infrastructure. I think we have achieved a lot in this regard as we’ve already been in talks with Azerbaijan and we have a Turkish partner who we have involved on a Turkish trust scheme. I’m therefore hoping short term that we might be able to get other entities to adopt the technology.


The great thing about LIGHTest is that if you want to use LIGHTest you don’t need much at all. The effort required to use the LIGHTest infrastructure is simply to set up a DNS server and then you’re ready to publish the information. All the tools are available via open source and the implementation is minimal, it’s around the way the data is defined. The ATV can be used as an online service so you don’t have to worry about difficult installations and can rely on existing internet services.


Internally we will be discussing how as a consortium we can exploit LIGHTest but there is a lot of potential there and I think a lot of potential for future projects which could build on top of LIGHTest. As LIGHTest is now available we can start to think differently about problems and use LIGHTest as a trust anchor for other schemes. LIGHTest could be big in the area of dezentralised identity management which is using blockchain. LIGHTest solves a major problem that many do not realize exists. The problem is that in de-centralised identity management, the credibility of the identity issuer is often not checkable, not confirmed and not proved trust worthy; LIGHTest could fix that problem.


What does success of LIGHTest long term mean to you?


Long-term success would mean that the technology is still used in a couple of years’ time. It would be great if the lessons we’ve learnt in LIGHTest could be applied in other projects, use cases and technologies. I believe this is something we’ve already achieved as LIGHTest has been adopted and the use cases are way beyond what we originally planned. This is a great building block for future advances in this space and if this continues, this building block will lead to long term success.


What factors do you believe to be important to encourage organisations to look to using LIGHTest in the future?


Similar to every new technology, it needs to provide its perceived benefit. I believe one of the most important qualities is that it’s easy to use. With LIGHTest it’s not hard to use and you can set it up in a few hours and it’s ready to go. 


What plans are in place to build on the work that has already taken place after the project ends?


We are still working with UNHCR and will have a demo at the end of the project that will showcase this use case in more detail. If this goes well then there is a potential to continue in that direction.