Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


MAGIC Report Summary

Project ID: 654225
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.4.3.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MAGIC (Middleware for collaborative Applications and Global vIrtual Communities)

Reporting period: 2015-05-01 to 2016-04-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Summary: The MAGIC Project seeks to establish a set of agreements for Europe, Latin America and other participating World Regions, aiming at consolidating and completing the building blocks of middleware necessary for the establishment of a marketplace of services and real-time applications for international and inter-continental research groups which facilitates mobility and the work of global science communities.


I. To foster the deployment of the platforms that enable mobility of people and seamless access to services by promoting the establishment of identity federations interconnected via eduGAIN, creating awareness of privacy and security issues and spreading eduroam by: sharing experiences, carrying out training and making available shared infrastructure to ease the process in the partner world regions.
II. To develop a model for inter-operation between NREN cloud application markets of participating world regions, based on cloud provisioning and taking advantage of applications developed and run by NRENs across different continents to create a model for a worldwide application market for collaboration tools and services
III. To seek consensus among participating world regions on the importance of interoperability of real-time applications and work towards the adoption of standards such as those proposed by the Global CEO Forum to promote the creation of a worldwide environment for these applications.
IV. To foster the collaborative work of Global Science Communities by actively promoting the participation of Latin American and other regions’ researchers in European Commission Calls and those of other international funding agencies with high impact in the participating regions and other networking activities.

Action plan: This project intends to build on existing European, Latin American and worldwide initiatives such as eduroam, eduGAIN, the RedCLARA Portal, the ELCIRA service prototype, OpenConext, the GÉANT Service Activities and the Global CEO Forum’s working groups on Real Time Collaboration (GRTC) and Global Services Delivery (GSD), as well as regional initiatives such as ASREN (Arab States), CAREN (Central Asia), CKLN (Caribbean), TEIN (Asia-Pacific), the UbuntuNet Alliance (Southern and Eastern Africa) and WACREN (West and Central Africa). The coordination with all these initiatives in the deployment of the mobility infrastructure as well as the agreements on how to share applications and services is the main strategy behind this project.

I. In the mobility area:
To foster the deployment of identity federations interconnected via eduGAIN, creating awareness of privacy and security issues and spreading eduroam. This will be accomplished by sharing experiences, carrying out training and making available shared infrastructure to ease the process in the partner world regions. To ensure maximum impact the training and best practice sharing will be carried out at Meetings of the Regional RENs and for each developing REN, a leader NREN has been selected to ensure regional appropriation and follow-up, following the model developed in Latin America where the leadership of RNP has been key for the successful training and implementation of eduroam and Identity Federations. We also plan to make available from servers in Latin America and Europe the “Identity-Provider-as-a-Service” application and “Federation-as-a-Service” so that the NRENs or institutions in the developing regions that cannot install them in their own servers may build their IdPs and Federations without the need to provide properly secured servers and manage the application suites needed.

II. In the collaboration applications area:
To advance in the agreements and implementation of a middleware capable of managing international working groups across applications. That is, the definition of a middleware infrastructure that will enable applications to share information on international groups so that an existing group may be visible for different applications, avoiding the burden of creating groups in each application separately. Today only private services allow for the work of several applications with a shared group structure. Our proposal is to build upon existing European proposals such as OpenConext, Perun and HEXAA to define a platform for a federated open groupware management system that will allow NRENs and private providers to offer applications worldwide using the same group structure, easing collaboration and setting up the basis for an open market of collaborative applications with authenticated access of persons and groups.

Starting from the pilot developed in ELCIRA, where European and Latin American NRENs are providing services to each other using an access portal, creating in this way a prototype of cloud provisioning between NRENs, we propose to create a model for NRENs to provide services to each other using the AAI infrastructure as well as the federated groupware infrastructure discussed in the previous paragraph. The model shall include mechanisms to disseminate services, to properly define the service characteristics as well as their cost, be this based on cost share or tariffs. The model should also define the way external providers can provide services to the participating NRENs, this should be in agreement with the strategies discussed in the Global CEO Forum on Global Service Delivery.

The final goal is the creation of a prototype of a worldwide market of collaboration services where NRENs provide services to each other across the world using a unique authentication mechanism and a global federated groupware that eases the use of collaboration applications. This prototype may later be extended to the privately provisioned services by external companies.

III. In the real-time applications area:
The setting-up of videoconferences between groups of researchers located around the world, especially high quality videoconferences, poses a series of challenges to the user, since there is no easy way to locate the resources (directories) and no standard way of dialling VC facilities. Moreover, in spite of the advent of high definition desktop videoconferences, be they web-based (such as MCONF, Acrobat, and others) or using a client (Polycom, Lifesize, Vidyo, etc.) these systems do not necessarily integrate well. In addition, the end user wants to access robust solutions that enable them to participate in videoconferences while he/she is on the move and want the systems integrated with VoIP, Skype and other voice or video solutions.
In ELCIRA, in coordination with the eduCONF project inside GÉANT, a set of agreements have been reached in order to create dialling schemes that allow researchers in both regions to use a Global Dialling Scheme independent of the physical machine, and efforts are being made to complete the process of adapting Latin American NRENs to use the scheme to access the VC endpoints and multi-conference units. This is a significant step and requires further work to ensure that Worldwide RENs adopt it and hence make this scheme a global standard. The project proposes to work on the dissemination and support to the deployment of this technology. The strategy to follow is similar to the one to be used in the dissemination and adoption of eduroam and eduGAIN. This effort will be coordinated with the efforts of the Global CEO Forum to ensure that the agreements have worldwide reach, including less developed regions.

On the other hand the project proposes to complete the MCONF and Jitsi Open webconference platforms with gateways to the legacy video-network (H.323) through the SIP protocol in order to establish an open platform for academic use that can be provided by the NRENs to their users, be this using the cloud provisioning model or by deploying their own infrastructure. This will strongly benefit the less developed regions, since no hardware or software will be required for them to start serving their users.
IV. Global Science Communities
A key strategy to generate proper usage of the proposed infrastructures is the fostering of the development of Global Science Communities using the platforms for their collaboration projects. This will not only facilitate the dissemination of the applications, since the communities of researchers will be the best promoters of the tools and hence act as support not only for the collaboration applications, but also as supporters of the role of the NRENs and Regional RENs in their respective countries and regions.

To carry out this task the project proposes to select three (3) research communities with common worldwide interest. That is, groups of researchers working on topics that are a priority not only in the developed, but also in the less developed world, such as Tropical Diseases, Climate Change, Disaster Management and others. Once the communities are selected, the project will support them with training in the use of the tools as well as with information on funding opportunities and training on how to set up successful proposals. The research groups will also act as evaluators of the tools being provided and will help the design of the interfaces and use mechanisms that satisfy their requirements.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The project began in May 2015. The first official activity of the project was the participation in the IST Africa Conference, on May 6-8, 2015 where the project participated in the Workshop “Synergy for Global Collaboration in Science Powered by R&E Networks” where SciGAIA, TANDEM and MAGIC presented their views and discussed about synergy between them to improve results and maximize impact. This work on Synergy continued on May 11 in a meeting where the three Project Coordinators met at RENATER’s Office in Paris to plan the joint work.

As a result of these meetings, the dissemination activities planned by the 3 projects have been going hand in hand, sharing booths at TNC2015 and ICT 2015 conferences. Also as a result of the agreements, joint listings of meetings by the 3 projects have been built and ICT tools are being shared. Furthermore, the work of user communities will also be enhanced by this collaboration. Meetings on this matter were held at the UbuntuNet Conference in Maputo, in November 2015 and the WACREN Conference in March 2016 in Senegal.

The Kick Off Meeting of MAGIC took place at the RENATER Offices in Paris, on June 11-12, 2015, the week before the TNC2015 Meeting in order to take advantage of the travel plans of partners travelling from outside Europe. The meeting was attended by 29 participants coming from 19 out of the 20 partners. The meeting was developed around careful planning of the activities, the bonding of the working group, the tools to be used for the work, the planning of meetings and the synergies to be created with other projects such as SciGaIA and TANDEM.

Picture 1: The Kick Off Meeting in Paris

The Work package on Mobility (WP2) focused first on preparing a roadmap for the work of deploying Identity Federations in the different project regions: Arab Countries, South and East Africa, West Africa, Central Asia, the Caribbean, Asia-Pacific and Latin America, identifying in those regions by focal points, NRENs or institutions, which were interested in AAI and eduroam. Besides this an on line training to implement an Identity federation was developed and translated into French, Spanish and Russian in order to spread even more the amount of technicians trained.Two workshops on Identity Federations and eduroam were carried out during this period: one for the Arab States region on September, 2015 in Amman and the second one for the Caribbean region hold on October 2015 in Kingston, Jamaica. During this period, AAI implementations were successfully developed in Algeria and Morocco, while Pilots are already in place in Lebanon, Jordan, Malawi, Uganda, South Africa and WACREN.

In Workpackage 3 the work has been focused on three activities: a) the improvement and deployment of the Colaboratorio collaboration tool for the use of different NREN partners and b) the analysis of the group sharing standards available for group collaboration, and c) the technical design of the group management architecture for the pilot development. In the deployment of shared collaboration tools we can report that a personalized version of the Colaboratorio has been deployed for the use of Nigeria and WACREN in Africa as well as CEDIA in Ecuador and several other NRENs are already in several stages of use and/or deployment of this tool. The tool has also been deployed for the use of WACREN and TANDEM is using it for group collaboration; in the second activity, the WP members have analysed 5 different technologies and evaluated the interoperation possibilities of these tools. In the third activity the group defined a technical architecture for the federated group managers. The working group defined the two group managers Sympa and Perun that will interact using the VOOT protocol, and two applications, Filesender and Docuwiki, as the use cases for the pilot.

In Workpackage 4 the activities have been centered around the adoption of NRENum. For this, training was conducted at the TICAL2015 meeting in Viña del Mar, Chile. In this training workshop participated 11 participants from five Latin American countries: Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico and Perú. The material developed for this workshop was then uploaded to RedCLARA’s e-Learning website and translated in to English and French where the material is ready for use in the implementation of NRENum around the World. A training Workshop was also conducted in Manila, The Philipines during the APAN meeting in January 2016.

Picture 2: Mobility Federated Services and, Viña del Mar, Chile, July 2015

The other key activity of WP4 has been the support to the adoption of NRENum. We can report that five (5) new NRENs has become members of service. The three new NRENs are (chronologically added): CEDIA from Ecuador, RAICES from El Salvador and recently CUDI from Mexico, REUNA from Chile and RAU from Uruguay. Several countries in Africa and Asia Pacific have been contacted with the support of the regional partners and work is under way to include them in the coming months as NRENum delegated areas. Sri Lanka has joined from the Asian region and several others are in the process of making decisions.

For WP5 the first period has been focused in the establishment and strengthening of the Global Science Communities: Biodiversity, Environment, e-Health and Remote Instrumentation. After the development of the opening sessions, each group has proposed and developed specific activities with its members. Referred to the Alert funding system, the WP was been involved in activities for a new version of the service with changes on the feed, usability and management. Training material for the promotion and enhance of the Colaboratorio has been developed and published in the project website. Another key activity has being the virtual days on the Horizon 2020 calls and on worldwide priority fields.

Picture 3: On line Meeting on Remote Instrumentation

The MAGIC project has been present in the following Meetings: IST Africa 2015 in Maputo, Mozambique; TNC2015 in Porto; TICAL2015 in Viña del Mar, Chile; RNP Forum in Brasilia, Brazil, ICT 2015 in Lisbon, Portugal; APAN41, Manila, The Philippines, Asia; UbuntuNet Connect 2015 Conference and e-AGE 2015, Casablanca, Morroco, Arab States. During these events brochures and give-aways have been distributed to position the project and the projects’ ideas among the researchers, policy makers and technicians of NRENs around the World.

Picture 4: MAGIC-SciGaia-TANDEM Booth at ICT 2015

The Project website can be found at:

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Impact and Results
Expected impacts

a) Adoption of European infrastructure standards eduroam and eduGAIN in several developing countries. Globalisation of these standards.

Following the strategy of extensive training carried out at regional meetings followed up afterwards with training material on an e-learning platform, and the availability of a service platform to lower the barrier of hardware and software deployment plus the leadership of a local NREN in each region, the project will create the basis for a deployment of eduroam and eduGAIN in each region involved in the project.

Indicator (DoA): Number of trained technicians in AAI from Africa, the Arab Countries, the Caribbean, Central Asia and Asia Pacific is over 30.

Advances in the Indicator:

Training in the Arab Countries Number of trained engineers 11
Training in The Caribbean Number of trained engineers 15
Training in the East and South African countries Number of trained engineers 22

Total so far Number of trained engineers 48

b) Coordination with several continents in basic infrastructure deployment

The project includes the collaboration of NRENs and Regional Networks in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe and Latin America on the development of agreements, human capacities and a network of collaborators that will foster the deployment of basic infrastructure needed for secure, authenticated access to collaboration tools as well as a means to application-sharing across the NREN world with the potential to include the commercial market serving NRENs and the university/research community. This basic infrastructure is eduroam, eduGAIN and the proposed agreement for the interoperable groupware management system.

Indicators: 12 countries having signed eduroam agreements with MAGIC
4 new pilot federations

Advances in the Indicator:

Number of countries committed to eduroam so far: 10
Latin America
Caribbean 1 (Jamaica)
Arab Countries (ASREN) 5 (Algeria, Lebanon, Jordan, Tunisia and Oman
East and South Africa (UbuntuNet) 2 (Uganda, Malawi)
West Africa (WACREN) 3 (Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria)

Pilot federations already created and in process of becoming eduGAIN members
South Africa: SAFIRE

c) Facilitation of standards to develop a global interoperable market of collaboration services for academia and other interest groups. Potential to ease the creation of a global market.

The project will include several world regions in the discussion for Open Standards in Real Time Collaboration and Service Delivery, including Groupware Management. This will ease the way for a global adoption of these standards which will help the creation of a global market for collaborative and other applications, be these provided by one NREN, or by external providers, to the academic community.

Indicators: 3 world regions incorporated in the pilot federated groupware service

Advances in the Indicator:

The regions committed are: Europe, Arab Countries, The Caribbean and Latin America. It is expected that West Africa and East/Southern Africa will also join the pilot.

d) Concertation in the development of worldwide services

The project will work jointly with the GÉANT project as well as the GSD and GRTC groups of the Global CEO Forum in order to promote and pilot the agreements reached for Real Time Collaboration standards as well as application sharing and service delivery. This will make it possible to include in these agreements several world regions that have been absent from these forums, such as Africa, Central Asia and the Caribbean

Indicators: 6 countries in 2 regions having incorporated for Global dialing

Advances in the Indicator:
5 countries in LA already joined
1 Countries in Asia has already joined

e) Application-sharing among NRENs and the global academic community.

The project will select applications being provided by NRENs and will propose a model for application-sharing so that NRENs may become providers of one to the other and/or to/from Regional Networks to take advantage of efforts made in one part of the world in benefit of another one. In particular, this will boost the use of academic applications developed by NRENs by adding a significant number of potential users to them and favouring in this way collaboration and economies of scale.

5 NRENs using applications built and deployed/hosted by another.
2 NRENs with a pilot cloud applications portal implemented
The number of applications deployed in the pilot test will be at least 2
The Directory of the applications provided by NRENs available for use of other NRENs contains at least 10 applications

Advances in the Indicator:
Within the Colaboratorio container developed by RedCLARA, the following applications are contained:
Filesender, developed by UNINET and modified by RENATER is hosted in RedCLARA
MCONF, an Open Source WebConference System modified by RNP and RedCLARA, is hosted in RedCLARA, RNP and soon RENATA, ASREN and NgREN
The Funding & Partners funding database hosted in RedCLARA
These applications are being used by CEDIA (Ecuador), CONARE (Costa Rica), NgREN/WACREN (Nigeria), ASREN, EtherNet and others are coming. The above result is added to the existing Colaboratorio implementations in RENATA (Colombia), CKLN (Caribbean), CUDI (Mexico) and the undergoing work with INNOVARED (Argentina) that is on testing phase.
Currently, the following applications are being implemented as shared applications
Docuwiki, a wiki system to be hosted in CESNET
JITSI, a webconference system implemented at RENATER
Etherpad, a collaborative editing system hosted in RENATER
CNC, a cloud storage system developed and hosted in RNP
Other applications are being studied to be included.
Thus, we currently already have over 5 NRENs using shared applications
Over 4 NRENs with the applications portal implemented
The number of new test applications in the pilot will exceed 4
The Directory of applications is currently under development but it will certainly contain well over 10 applications.

f) Worldwide research communities using collaboration tools to improve their daily work

The project will foster the use of collaboration technology among worldwide research communities working in three (3) selected areas. This will serve as a proof of concept and support dissemination by developing NRENs among their researchers of the potential of the use of these tools for their collaboration work across the world. The project will also extend the Funding Opportunities Database and Partner Search application developed by the ELCIRA Project to cover the developing regions and provide valuable funding information for the defined global communities and others. Finally, the project will support dissemination of funding opportunities available in the H2020 project and other funding opportunities through regional Virtual Information Days that follow the EC Information days and other international call for proposals.

Indicators: The number of global research communities selected for special support will be three (3).
The number of information days will be at least two (2) each year depending upon the number of existing calls.
Finally, the database of funding opportunities will be a key result for all researchers to find collaboration opportunities worldwide.

Advances in the Indicator:
4 global research communities have been selected and are active: Biodiversity, Environment, e-Health and Remote Instrumentation
2 information days have been organised in Year 1, 4 more are planned for Year 2.
The Database of funding is complete and providing information on a global at a Global scale

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