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Network and Communication Technologies

Networked Media Systems

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Brussels – 28 June 2006
The International Auditorium


Tentative Agenda

Registration form (registrations are closed)

List of participants


Today, the home network environment, is characterised by a lack of flexibility and by a non negligible complexity especially in terms of configuration upgradeability and management. In this context, it is quite common for audio video delivery, interactive communications and off line data access to still use different infrastructures, although the future is pointing towards a convergence at IP level. At the same time home automation is still based on a complete separate infrastructure, and the most common integration model is through a residential gateway providing the home external services access.

In terms of flexibility, the digital content value chain still follows a rather static “few to many” model. Audio Visual (AV) content delivery follows semi static models (prescheduled broadcasts, distribution on physical medium), and the download of content over electronic networks is just starting. The most widespread tool for AV content retrieval is still the TV guide, although we observe extensions from traditional search engines starting to appear (e.g. Google Video, Quæro) also in the context of projects in semantic searching. Very few are currently done by the distribution platforms for adapting and personalising content to the user or to the end device.

The management of the infrastructure (including the security features) often requires basic network management skills and remains an obstacle to the development of home networks.

In the years to come, major technological, standardisation and business changes in the area will bring to the market integrated solutions that will allow to seamlessly access to TV (live or recorded), telephone or web. These solutions will be a step towards the connected home that needs to be enhanced in converging towards standardised solutions and products.

In parallel, recently we observe a structural change of content production/consumption patterns that will request radical technology breakthroughs to create real opportunities. The explosion of digital cameras and video recorders, the democratisation of tools for exchanging content (blogs, vlogs), the forthcoming convergence of networks creates a shift towards user centric media creation and consumption environment. This creates a proliferation and omnipresence of content of various types, sources and qualities. In this respect, the content value chain is becoming very complex and the traditional separation between the various roles and business in the content life-cycle is more and more blurry, as AV content creation, production and distribution is becoming accessible to the non-professional users;

Jointly to this explosion of content, the second structural trend will be the ever increasing number of intelligent devices that will be embedded in the environment and will communicate with each others. In the future, this number of connected devices is expected to move from the billion to the trillion range and to evolve towards smarter (increased storage, processing, and sensing capabilities) networked objects. Their pervasiveness, their ability to intelligently support varieties of applications will create this intelligent infrastructure ( the “Internet of Things”) that will make available personalised applications and services anywhere anytime in a widespread range of domains, and particularly in the home environment.

Users will thus rely on the networked behaviour of the devices and interact with them in their home and have access to many “digital belongings” at home (acquired or created). They will interact with other objects have access to other digital belongings when on the move through their personal area network when travelling, their local area network in their car, their secondary home network in their summer house. All these networks will create individual islands. With the observed nomadicity of both user and content, there will be an ever growing trend of accessing AV content on the move, supported by products and services already on the market (video displays integrated in cars, TV on the mobile phone, Portable DVDs). A predictable evolution is the seamless interactive access to personal and external content anywhere and at any time, and the seamless interaction with a homogeneous home environment built over heterogeneous devices and physical infrastructures.

This evolution will be achieved through:

– The evolution towards a home environment that will
• provide tools and services allowing the user to flexibly and intuitively access, create, store, retrieve, process and share in a secure way his/her acquired content
• become a self managed environment integrating as well networked intelligent devices (e.g. sensors)allowing novel application within the home beyond home automation (support to health, inclusion, anti-mobility, government),
– The federation of all the “ home environments ” in a virtual “ extended home environment ”, which would “distribute” the resources of an "evolved" home network over several physically separated domains, enabling the user to have similar application experiences as if he was accessing services in his primary home.

The Extended home will be an integration environment which will federate many challenges, at network, service and application level in order to ensure both service nomadism, enabling access from any home domain to the various services from public service providers to which a user is subscribed, and user nomadism, enabling roaming across home domains.

Therefore, this workshop will aim at identifying:

– Tools and services to support and get benefit from the user interactivity and creativity (e.g. tools for intuitive creation, distribution, consumption , storage and retrieval, personalisation, context awareness ) and services that will emerge from the availability of the Internet of things,
– Networked Solutions to support user and service nomadism, to support the integration of the triple play network and the internet of thing, to support the change of patterns between home network and public networks (explosion in volume and number of sources, modification of the asymmetry), and to support the interactive set-up of “extended home networks” that go beyond the borders of the physical house.

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