Estonia’s X-Road solution launched in Mexico

Mexico’s Quintana Roo state has launched its first X-Road project – Xacbé – that aims to become the backbone of its digital government just like in Estonia.

X-Road is an Estonian software-based solution that has its origins on the late 90’s as a solution for the Estonian governmental digital interoperability. The X-Road is a crucial component for the country’s digital government and the digital ecosystem, known as “e-Estonia”.

By connecting different information systems, the X-road allows a wide range of digital services from both private and public sector. At the same time, it ensures a secure transfer of data and information, thanks to the possibility of encryption, digital signature and authentication among other security features.

Estonia’s data exchange layer, X-Road, mapped.

The X-Road has been functional in Estonia since 2001, but the open source nature of the solution has made possible to other countries – Finland, Iceland, Faroe Islands and Japan – to implement it. Now, Mexico has become the fourth country in America – after Canada, Colombia and Argentina – to make use of the Estonian solution. Back in 2017, Estonia and Mexico also signed an agreement on digital government.

Mayan word used for the local name

The project in Mexico was launched with the help of the digital interoperability company, Roksnet, in the state of Quintana Roo. The state is in what used to be the centre of the Mayan Empire and is now famous for its touristic points like Cancun and Tulum. The name of the Mexican X-Road – Xacbé – is the combination of X-Road and the Mayan word Sacbé, which is the road infrastructure the Mayans used to connect their cities.

In the first state, Xacbé will be used to connect all the police-related systems – but later on, it is expected to become the backbone for the whole digital government of Quintana Roo state.

Estonians Riho Heipuu and Heiko Vainsalu (on the right corner) of Roksnet discussing the Mexican X-Road – Xacbé – with the local government team of the Executive Secretariat of Public Safety of Quintana Roo. Photo by Roksnet.

In November 2020, the Roksnet team worked with the local government team of the Executive Secretariat of Public Safety of Quintana Roo, to ensure a smooth and fast growth for the data exchange ecosystem – and to make sure that Xacbé would benefit from the best practices from around the world.

Carlos Vargas, Roksnet’s Latin America director, told Estonian World that Estonia’s X-Road solution has been “largely discussed” in Mexico over the last few years. “Quintana Roo takes the first step to put the solution in action. This makes Xacbé the one to take the lead on the Mexican digital governmental interoperability evolution,” Vargas said.

Quintana Roo is Mexico’s easternmost state that has a coastline to the east with the Caribbean Sea and to the north with the Gulf of Mexico. The state’s population is 1.9 million people, slightly more than Estonia’s 1.3 million.

Cover: Cancún is the biggest city in Quintana Roo state. Photo by Dronepicr, shared under the Creative Commons CC BY 3.0 licence.

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