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Conference: FROM RFID TO THE INTERNET OF THINGS
Pervasive Networked Systems
Organised by the European Commission Directorate
“Network and Communication technologies”
6 & 7 March 2006 –room AB-0A - Borschette Center - Brussels
With more than 2 billions terminals in commercial operation world-wide, wireless and mobile technologies have enabled a first wave of pervasive communication systems and applications. Still, this is only the beginning as wireless technologies such as RFID are currently contemplated with a deployment potential of ten’s of billions of tags and a virtually unlimited application potential. Beyond technological aspects, RFID is likely to have a long lasting impact on our society, from a societal, organisational or business perspective. RFID technology is on the brink of widespread applications in logistics, transport, manufacturing, distribution, retail, healthcare, safety, security, law enforcement, intellectual property protection and many other areas. A recent ITU report depicts a scenario of "An internet of things" – a world in which billions of objects will report their location, identity, and history over wireless connections.
With such a perspective, RFID tags are also expected to evolve with increased storage, processing, and sensing capabilities, which will in turn lead to the advent of smart objects. Further coupling of these devices with built-in wireless communications capabilities is expected to open a new range of innovative applications which need to be supported by increasingly complex wireless distributed networks infrastructures and systems. Such networks may take several forms including Personal area networks, body area network or Ad Hoc networks, catering for dedicated applications. A form of ubiquitous and pervasive communication infrastructure will be put in place which responds to the need to provide users and business with smarter, more adaptive, localised and flexible connectivity.
The most accomplished realisation of”the Internet of things” will probably require the development of systems and architectures which can be flexible, adaptive, secure, and pervasive without being intrusive. Realising such large scale networks presents very significant challenges, especially at the architectural and protocol/software level. Although, the current networking approaches can work in part with the future network of “trillion things”, it is anticipated that major advances may be required to enable such networking capability. Work is needed to understand and design overall system concepts, including the interoperability with the existing internet and wireless networks. Research and development thrusts are also required on underlying technological issues such as communications protocols, middleware, applications support, MAC, data processing, semantic computing and search capabilities, and even in the core enabling technologies for low-power technologies.
Significant R&D work has been undertaken over recent years on these systems, with pioneering work initiated in the US. In Europe, the IST programme of the European Union has been instrumental in supporting the many R&D facets of pervasive communications. Asia is also proactively moving into this field through various R&D initiatives on “ubiquitous communications”.
Although many significant initiatives have been undertaken most of the research is still very application specific -with security and environmental applications dominating -and demonstration driven. However, it is likely that more generic and comprehensive approach is required, where different stakeholders and research specialists work together interdisciplinary to solve true systems level problems in the context of the Internet of things and of their applications.
The emerging industrial interest in this field indicates that prospects for commercial applications of these technologies are also becoming more tangible, hence reinforcing the need of collaborative efforts
Against this background, this workshop aims at considering the evolution of today’s simple RFID wireless tags, into large scale, IP interoperable and distributed wireless networks of objects and devices.
Questions to be addressed during the workshop include:
1. Which major new technological developments can be expected?
2. Which networking technologies will be required?
3. Which innovative applications can be unleashed given the added functionality of such networked devices?
4. Which particular spectrum requirements will arise and what are the prospects for innovative spectrum efficient technologies and interference mitigation techniques applying to myriads of networked devices?
5. Which implications can be expected from such technological developments, notably on ethical and privacy matters? How best to respond to security threats that will be posed by such technologies?
6. What sociological and usability issues are related to pervasive networked technologies? What can be done to minimize possible harmful effects and lower the citizens’ fears against pervasive technologies such as RFID and beyond?
7. Which new regulatory, management and governance issues will such large scale networks create?
The workshop will be organised in a number of distinct sessions as follows:
a) Review the State of the Art related to pervasive communication systems and architectural concepts, including evolutionary trends and their implication on underlying issues such as protocols, reconfigurability, middleware, context awareness, security, privacy; radio and MAC technologies...
b) Review the application potential of pervasive and ubiquitous networked systems and how the technology may offer further opportunities to the ICT industry;
c) Presentation of the status of the various related IST initiative currently running under the 6th Framework Programme of the European Union;
d) Presentation of on-going or planned initiatives in other parts of the world;
e) Identification of potential barriers to deployment
While placed in the specific context of the preparation of the ICT Thematic Objective under the 7th Framework Programme covering the 2007-2013 period, the workshop will also provide an opportunity to assess the extent to which technological developments in this field, may raise significantly new policy, regulatory, consumer acceptance issues.