ICT Challenge 1: Pervasive and Trustworthy Network and Service Infrastructures
Note: This is a short overview of targeted activities and is not legally binding. Fuller details on targeted activities are provided in multi-annual ICT work programmes which can be downloaded from this site's Library section
The 'Future Internet' is emerging globally as a federating research theme. The current Internet architecture was not designed to cope with the wide variety, and the ever growing number of networked applications, business models, edge devices, networks and environments that it has now to support. Its structural limitations in terms of scalability, mobility, flexibility, security, trust and robustness of networks and services are increasingly being recognised world-wide. The challenge is to comprehensively and consistently address the multiple facets of a Future Internet, with energy efficiency also appearing as an important societal concern. Clean slate or evolutionary approaches or a mix of those can be equally considered.
From a networking perspective, this entails a need to rethink architectures such that performance bottlenecks are overcome, a wider variety of service types can be supported, novel types of edge networks such as wireless sensor networks may be integrated, and constraints imposed by new types of media applications such as 3D virtual environments can be supported. Mobility and ever higher end to end data rates also emerge as important design drivers, and so does security and trustworthiness. At network level, a clear challenge will be to provide the Internet with the flexible and ad-hoc management capabilities that have never been part of the 'best effort' paradigm driving the original design. Novel radio and optical systems are important components of this overall network perspective.
These network infrastructures need to support an Internet of dynamically combined services with worldwide service delivery platforms and flexibly enable the creation of opportunities for new market entrant. The 'third party generated service' is emerging as a trend supporting the move towards user-centric services, as shown by the advances in Service-Oriented-Architectures and in service front-ends as the interface to users and communities. Virtualisation of resources remains an important research driver enabling the delivery of networked services independently from the underlying platform, an important issue for service providers. Advances in these domains also require breakthroughs in software engineering methods and architectures addressing complexity in distributed, heterogeneous and dynamically composed environments, as well as non-functional requirements.
Networks and service platforms will become increasingly vulnerable as current developments lead to more complex and large-scale heterogeneous networks with massive distributed data storage and management capacity. They need to be made trustworthy which is defined in this context as: secure, reliable and resilient to attacks and operational failures; guaranteeing quality of service; protecting user data; ensuring privacy and providing usable and trusted tools to support the user in his security management. Trustworthiness needs to be considered from the outset rather than being addressed as add-on feature. Societal and legal issues increasingly impact technological choices. ICT must be developed to ensure a society based on freedom, creativity and innovation, whilst providing security for its citizens and critical infrastructures.
As the Internet has revolutionised the access to multimedia content and enabled collaborative user-generated content, requirements in this field have huge impact on a Future Internet. Advances in 3D processing give rise to innovative applications notably in gaming technologies and in virtual worlds. These place new types of traffic demands and constraints on network platforms, create new requirements for information representation, filtering, aggregation and networking. They drive demand towards novel search tools and raise issues of identity management, ownership and trading of virtual digital objects as well as right of use. These environments coupled with their usage rules drive the research towards a '3D Media Internet' as a basis of tomorrows networked and collaborative platforms in the residential and professional domains.
RFID EUTube Video
The Internet is also revolutionising the Enterprise and businesses environments, with the introduction of RFID technologies enabling more automated processes. These open the way towards an Internet of things, where multiplicity of tags, sensor, and actuators provide physical world information enabling new classes of applications combining virtual and physical world information. Open architectures supporting such environments as well as understanding of their impact on the Internet hence emerge as research drivers. Integration with the mainstream business management platforms as well as integration of multiple businesses in collaborative and ad-hoc environments needs to also be taken into account.
Finally, there is an increasing demand from academia and industry to bridge the gap between long-term research and large-scale experimentation through experimentally-driven research. A fundamental need in this approach is the set-up of large-scale experimentation facilities, going beyond individual project testbeds, which help putting together different research communities in an interdisciplinary approach, anticipating possible migration paths for technological developments which may be potentially disruptive, discovering new and emerging behaviours and use patterns in an open innovation context, as well as assessing at an early stage the socio-economic implications of new technological solutions. For their demonstration and experimentation, proposers under Challenge 1 are encouraged to use the dynamically evolving Future Internet Research and Experimentation (FIRE) facility and to federate their project testbeds within this facility.
Technologies developed under this Challenge are expected to be tailored to meet key societal and economic needs.