Technology Innovations Addressing Business Challenges
As outlined in OEPI's mission, the project will provide business users with an inter-organization platform and tools to provision and share environmental performance indicators across the chain. The platform and consumption tools address current problems in the guiding business use cases, e.g. the time and effort needed to provision the data, which is often distributed across many systems (e.g. ERP systems, Excel Sheets, proprietary solutions) and exposed through different technical interfaces.
In OEPI we will address the problem by creating a platform following Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) principles. The platform will connect the disparate environmental data by making the different sources accessible through well-defined service interfaces. This will facilitate the discovery and consumption of data in a uniform way across organizations. The platform is responsible to collect and aggregate the data from various sources to compute Environmental Performance Indicators (EPIs). These aggregates can in turn be exposed as services that are consumed in different channels. The platform provides channels suitable for the consumption medium, be it an enterprise solution, a corporate website, or a mobile application.
EPI Description Language
If EPIs from different companies are to be compared for reasons of reporting or environmentally-conscious decision making, a unified language is required that unambiguously defines how an EPI was computed and what data was considered. This language uses a reference ontology developed in OEPI to describe data semantics. It enables semantic reasoning over the EPI information, e.g. system boundaries, data sources, uncertainty, etc. The language allows developers to build applications with functionality of automatic gathering, searching, analysis and delivery of environmental data.
Based on the OEPI platform and the EPI description languages, a set of prototypical tools will be developed which support real life examples taken from the use cases. These tools are developed and tested together with industry partners of the project and will showcase the integration of a number of different data sources. They will demonstrate the feasibility of the platform and business relevance of the project as a whole.
From a technical perspective, OEPI will focus on three major contributions. Environmental Performance Indicators (EPIs) are described using the reference language and made available as web- services through the OEPI platform. OEPI tools built over the platform will demonstrate the value of bringing environmental sustainability to the business user. The three main technical contributions of OEPI will realize the project mission, namely using a SOA-based approach to provision EPIs and integrate them into daily decision support.