Telematics Applications for Transport Research Information4th Framework Research
The research and development TELEMATICS APPLICATIONS programme is one of the 19 specific R&D programmes which are supported under the European Unionâs RTD Fourth Framework Programme (1994-1998). Its budget of 898 million Ecu represents approximately 7% of the total budget of the RTD Fourth Framework Programme.
The TELEMATICS APPLICATIONS programme is a user driven research programme, focusing on the applications of information and/or communication technologies to society.
Its activities are closely related to those of the Information Technologies programme (ESPRIT) and the programme for Advanced Communications Technologies and Services (ACTS). Together these three programmes are providing the building blocks for Europe's Information Society. Their joint budget represents 28% of the European Unionâs research budget - a reflection of the high significance and expected impact of these technologies.
Telematics applications research is also relevant to a range of other European policies in fields such as transport, health, education.... The various areas and sectors of the TELEMATICS APPLICATIONS programme are ensuring that their work is carried out in consultation with these different programmes and European policies.
Developing New Tools
"Telematics Applications" refers to the applications of informatics and/or telecommunications. Thus, for instance, it includes not only tele-training but also computer-based training; not only telemedicine, but also the patient multimedia medical record; not only tele-assistance for persons in precarious situation, but also computer interfaces for disabled and elderly persons; not only tele-management of traffic, but also in-car navigation and route guidance systems; not only CD-ROM databases, but also on-line trading of multimedia information content.
These applications must be easy to use. Whether a small enterprise trading with a remote company, European administrations willing to exchange multimedia information on remote management of sea and road traffic, or a student using electronic libraries, all need services that properly respond to their specific requirements. That is why the TELEMATICS APPLICATIONS programme is working closely with all types of users - to ensure that it is developing services which are accessible, user-friendly, and cost-effective. It is also important that the technologies used are able to mute with the rapid pace of the technological change.
Telematics Applications for Services of Public Interest
Improving the Efficiency and Safety of Public Services and Facilitating the Private Sector Activities
Administrations Top of page
Public administrations play a central role in society. They provide a range of services to householders and industry, undertaking functions as diverse as economic development, environmental monitoring and the provision of public information. More efficient administrations are good news for Europe's citizen - and its economy.
The Administrations sector is developing and testing telematics solutions designed to meet the needs of public administrations. The completion of the single European market, with the free movement of people, goods and capital, presents a major challenge for public administrations. Telematics-based trans-European information networks provide them with the opportunity to share information on a European level. Success, however, depends on the interoperability of the various information networks.
These telematics-based information networks are forging partnerships between European administrations as well as between administrations and the private sector.
Transport Top of page
Europeans spend over 500 billion ECU on transport annually. Economic losses through traffic delays and accidents are already estimated at 150 billion ECU annually. New solutions are needed to reduce the high levels of accidents, congestion and pollution caused by today's ever increasing traffic volumes.
The Transport sector is developing telematics applications appropriate for all transport modes and their interconnections: road, air, rail and waterborne. This multi-modal approach is vital as it encourages the development of integrated transport services and promotes public-private partnerships.
The new applications will improve traveller support services, thus allowing citizens to make a better choice for their daily trips. They will also improve freight operation - an area where the expected benefits on efficiency and environment are inestimable. Tangible improvements are expected on indicators such as quality of service, travel times, number of accidents, regularity of public transport, pollution.
Examples: Car on-board computers, European employment information exchange, portable personal traveller assistants, European registers of company information, public transport information terminals, networks for multimedia public information terminals, traffic control centres, communication systems (vehicle to vehicle, vehicle to infrastructure), satellite navigation, driver/pilot assistance.
Actors: Administrations, freight operators, public transport and commercial fleet operators (bus, taxi, trucks, ...), public bodies, computer industries, travellers, traffic controllers, business, drivers, pilots, telecom operators, industry, local, regional and national authorities, airlines, railways, shippers, service providers.
Telematics Applications for improving Employment and Quality of Life
Making Life Better for European Citizens
Health Care Top of page
Advances in medical science are straining Europe's health care resources. The availability of new treatments together with improved life-expectancy means that demand is exceeding supply. The task of managing scarce medical resources is a major economic and ethical challenge.
The Telematics Applications for Health Care sector is developing applications helping Europe's health care services meet people's expectations. The efficient exchange of information between health professionals saves time and money; transferability of multimedia patient record between sites constitutes a major progress which should save lives through faster and more effective responses.
Telematics applications can improve clinical effectiveness, continuity and quality of care by the full range of healthcare professions and health service management. Tele-medicine can bring medical care to people in their homes, in isolated places or in emergencies and permits remote consultation between health professionals.
Disabled and Elderly People Top of page
In the European Union there are about 80 million people which are elderly or disabled. There is a strong relationship between advancing age and disability. This means that an increasing proportion of the European Union's population will experience functional problems, as life expectancy improves.
The Telematics Applications for the Disabled and Elderly sector is developing applications which provide support for independent-living, autonomy and social integration opportunities.
It is opening up society to older people and individuals with disabilities. Focusing on assistive technologies, the sector is developing systems which improve mobility and interpersonal communications, and which shape the immediate environment to suit individuals needs. From Braille or acoustics displays for personal computers, to robot arms for wheelchairs, informatics or communications technologies can enhance quality of life and tailor state-of-the-art technology to the specific needs of the user.
Examples: "Smart homes", multimedia medical file, graphic users interfaces, computerised drug prescription, "smart prostheses", network of donor banks, accessible telecommunications terminals, transmission of radiological images and of biological signals, personal communicators, telediagnosis, alarm systems, remote expert consultation, intensive care networks.
Actors: Citizens, disabled and elderly people, family doctor, service providers, therapists, hospitals, social workers, pharmacists, telecom operators, psychologists, social security institutions, computer industries, medical doctors, health care authorities, care givers or families, clinical laboratories.
Urban and Rural Areas Top of page
Traditionally, economic development depended on an area's endowment of the factors of production - raw materials, agriculture, proximity to markets. Today these assets remain important, but belong to a very different socio-economic landscape. As our economy changes from being goods-based to knowledge-based, human capital, quality of life and well developed telematics infrastructures are becoming key ingredients for success.
Telematics-based services are providing a new "lease-of-life" to many urban and rural areas. The Urban and Rural Areas sector is developing tele-working and tele-services as tools for economic development. Tele-working is to increase the competitiveness of rural and peripheral areas and reduce traffic congestion. Tele-services such as tele-shopping, on-line booking services and entertainment, provide the public with a higher level of access to services. These can help stabilise the population in rural areas and equally contribute to the regeneration of urban areas.
Environment Top of page
Sustainable development is a cornerstone of Community environmental policy and is enshrined in the Treaty on the European Union. It requires all economic sectors to place the environment at the forefront of their activities. Economic actors together with public authorities must take and share responsibility for the environment.
The Environmental sector is investigating the benefits of providing access to better environmental information to the citizens and to local, regional and national authorities across Europe. Facilitating information flows between different actors is fundamental to improving Europe's environment. Effective management of emergencies require rapid response times. Telematics helps in collating environmental data in a form suitable to particular groups of users. Mobile communications systems that enable access to up-to-date information and provide real time decision support allow to save time and to increase efficiency in environmental monitoring.
Examples: Multimedia public information kiosks, air and water quality monitoring and warning systems, labour market information, real time prediction of local air quality for the effective control of traffic, rural-based teleworking, environmental emergency management systems for floods, forest fires and industrial risks, home-based teleworking, tele-services for SMEs, public environmental information services for European cities and regions, public agency partnership.
Actors: Citizens, environmental authorities, local authorities in cities, towns and regions, service providers, European Environment Agency, Chambers of Commerce, industry, information providers, telecom operators, SMEs, large companies, fire brigades, harbour authorities, computer industries, police forces, environmental protection groups, environmental information services.
Telematics Applications for Knowledge
Developing New Tools and Applications for Improving Access to and Sharing Knowledge
Education and Training Top of page
Education and training play a different role today than in the past. Education and training do not stop when children leave school. People continue learning throughout their lives to keep up with changes in the workplace. Lifelong learning will help to bring about the new Information Society.
The Telematics Applications for Education and Training sector is developing cost effective applications that allow people to learn what, where, when and how they want.
Providing people with equal access to lifelong learning is a major social challenge. High speed communication networks enable teachers to work together and to jointly develop courses. Video-conferencing and computer conferencing provide learners in peripheral regions with access to teachers in the heart of Europe. Multimedia provides exciting, interactive materials and applications for learning at home, at school and in the workplace.
Researchers Top of page
The global competitiveness of European industry depends on the quality of European research and its ability to transform results into marketable products. Europe's researchers require easy access to up-to-date information as well as to communicate with other researchers, no matter where they are.
Networking services, multimedia E-mail and multimedia conferencing are essential "life-lines" for researchers. In the past, research networks have been developed at the national level, resulting in a patchwork of technically diverse networks.
A major challenge is to create a European research environment. The Telematics for Research sector is developing broadband pan-European networks which interconnect with national networks and have the capacity to support state-of-the-art multimedia facilities such as video-conferencing.
Libraries Top of page
Europeâs 95,000 libraries fulfil many of the cultural, educational and professional needs of European citizens from all walks of life. With the advent of the Information Society, there has been an explosion in resources, generating new demands and fuelling higher expectations. Technological advance has created a new world in which information is produced, accessed and used in electronic form.
The Telematics for Libraries Sector is developing new tools and systems to improve and expand networked library services throughout Europe. Network connections will couple library resources with external assets, providing seamless access to published information from a variety of sources. Alliances between publishers, distributors and librarians will provide new levels of service, accessible from the library itself or directly from homes, schools and offices.
Librarians will have a key role to play in the exciting world of networked knowledge.
Examples: Computer based training, high speed research network, open-library systems, tele-education, tele-operation of experiments, library and information networks, tele-training, remote access to research results, cross-border services, co-operative learning, multimedia E-mail, electronic access to books, journals, documents and multimedia resources, production and delivery of multimedia learning materials, distributed co-operative research, databases of course materials, interactive learning with student support and feedback, distributed learning over World Wide Web
Actors: Citizens, scientists, librarians, publishers, teachers, researchers, documentalists, trainers, academics, students, language-learners, industry, the elderly and disabled, employees, telecom operators, computer industries, service providers, national research network, SMEs, publishers, multimedia producers.
Horizontal RTD Activities
The Building Blocks
Language Engineering Top of page
Language is an essential element of Europe's identity. As the single market develops, the political and commercial interests of the member States are becoming increasingly intertwined. The need for easy and effective business and person-to-person communication has never been greater. The Information Society calls for increased social and economic cohesion, and the removal of exclusion factors due to linguistic, cultural and societal barriers.
The Language Engineering sector is developing applications which help improve information access and interchange across languages. It is integrating written and spoken language processing technologies into telematics services, thus improving their ease of use and broadening their scope across national markets and users groups. New applications such as voice-controlled inquiry systems, multilingual information services and computer assisted translation are providing European citizens and businesses with better information and communication capabilities.
Information Engineering Top of page
Electronic information is a key element in everyday life for computer and network users. The opportunities for utilising electronic information have become potentially unlimited. The challenge is to provide improved information services which will help workers, support decision making and allow citizens to effectively access information.
The Information Engineering sector is developing new tools and applications which will permit easier access to and better usability of electronic information in all its forms.
The work focuses on information content with four priorities: meeting user requirements; improving integration of the tools and methods used at different stages in the information chain; improving the value and usability of information; and managing multimedia content.
Telematics Engineering Top of page
The Telematics Engineering sector is looking at the overall issue of building generic telematics infrastructures in Europe. Whether for instance developing a methodology for evaluating the impact of telematics applications on work processes in health care systems, or guidelines for validating large-scale telematics systems designed to meet user-needs for public services - these research activities are providing techniques which help break down implementation barriers and promote the use of telematics. The sector is also ensuring that information and communication technologies are integrated into the development of telematics applications.
Research in this area is to make a major contribution towards ensuring synergy and cohesion of RTD actions and results across sectors. This is the key to warranting that the TELEMATICS APPLICATIONS programme develops widely applicable solutions which provide Europe with a platform for economic growth and new employment opportunities.
Examples: Automated inquiry and customers services, geographical mediation systems, common software application frameworks, multilingual office automation and communication services, publication of multi-media materials, capture and dissemination of best practices, computer assisted translation, interactive catalogues and newspapers, guidelines for application validation, multimedia brokering, studies on legal and regulatory issues, re-engineering techniques, multimedia in industrial design.
Actors: Administrations, information providers (content owners, publishers, broadcasters), computer industries, telematics systems and services developers, SMEs and large enterprises in areas of manufacturing (aerospace and automotive sectors) and services (software, financial, publishing and education and training sectors), the general public, engineers, telecom operators, researchers, economists, the business community, sociologists, lawyers, public and local authorities, service providers.
All sectors of the TELEMATICS APPLICATIONS programme are supported by accompanying measures providing strategic and techno-economic assistance. With a budget of 43 MECU, they include monitoring of technology and market trends; continuous assessment of the programme activities; organisation of sectoral and cross-sectoral concertation among projects; dissemination and exploitation of research results; specific measures for small and medium-sized organisations. These activities are successfully raising the profile of the TELEMATICS APPLICATIONS programme and assuring its cohesion and consistency.
The "Ten Commandments of the Telematics Applications Programme:
- Focus not only on industrial competitiveness but also on support for other European Union policies.
- Be user-oriented rather and cost-effective rather than technology-driven.
- Start with market research and an analysis of users' needs.
- Associate users' representatives at each stage of a project.
- Focus on multimedia telematics rather than data telematics.
- Concentrate on fewer projects and treat interoperability as a key issue.
- Devote adequate resources to validation in user environments.
- Maximise the generic content of telematics applications.
- Exploit results, including standards, procurement and implementation recommendations.
- Cooperate not only within a research sector (vertical coordination) but also between sectors (horizontal coordination).