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Trustful hyper-linked entities in dynamic networks

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - reTHINK (Trustful hyper-linked entities in dynamic networks)

Reporting period: 2016-07-01 to 2017-06-30

-- Context and motivation
The Internet revolution has changed traditional business and forced it to reinvent itself. Operator services are losing their appeal due to the emergence of new communication services, like chat and social networks, which replace, not just complement traditional voice telephony. The service environment has moved on to the web, with operators providing only access and transport. The requirements of web applications to launch interactive communication are gaining momentum, fuelled by technologies that enable browsers to convey interactive sessions.
Operators need an evolution path to match the requirements depicted by Industry 4.0 and Smart City. Currently they provide a limited set of services that are tightly associated with their own network's capabilities, within their geographical reach, or through roaming agreements. These services are regulated, in contrast to Internet applications, which are global and unlicensed. To compete, operators need to gain the agility of the Internet world, and adopt Internet style tools and technologies, while exploiting their assets: trust, network management, real-time systems, and quality-of-service management.
The major structural difference between the operators approach and the web is related to a recurring concept in the deployment of ICT solutions: full de-perimeterisation of services. However, technology progress (4G, 5G) has decoupled access-control from the service, opening the door for web-based voice/video services, via any access type and on any device. This enables operators to enter the market of web-based communications. They can take the role of a ‘Communication Service Providers’ for web calling services. They can also be ‘Network Service Providers’, for delivering the media as a wholesale activity, offerring enhanced web routing with assured quality. Finally they can act as trusted identity providers, offering services that foster intra-domain mobility.

-- Challenge
The project designed and prototyped a non-telecom centric, but Web-centric, P2P service architecture, enabling dynamic and interoperable trusted relationships among distributed services called “Hyperties” (Hyperlinked Entities). Hyperties support use-cases such as contextual and social communications, M2M/IoT, and content oriented services.
Today, browser based technologies enable real-time interaction, and improved media streaming over the Internet, but there are no standards for managing the signalling that establishes sessions between calling parties. The challenge is to provide tools that enable discovery and authentication of the communication parties, allowing for diverse scenarios and services, retaining global compatibility, without creating new closed communication audiences (‘silo’) or proprietary systems.

-- Solution
The framework is based on specialized P2P and Cloud services, delivered as SaaS, PaaS or IaaS. It supports communication services that rely on a mesh of ‘live’ Hyperties at the endpoints that create a ‘virtual’ network within the Internet, while the media is routed through gateways that support policy enforcement for quality and security over the Internet.
The project delivers an architecture that allows operators and service providers to offer de-perimetrised services and compete with web companies. The architecture provides extensible APIs for service developers based on secure, certified and portable independent identities.
The solution will be demonstrated through an open source prototype that supports its mid-term commercial deployment, and its suitability for the relevant use-cases.
The objectives of the reTHINK project are target and result driven. reTHINK will develop a web-centric communication framework and associated functionalities for Hyperties. To achieve its mission, reTHINK will meet the following objectives:
Obj 1: To provide a communication framework that facilitates and supports peer to peer communications. The reTHINK framework will support application provisioning and enablement in line with the perspective of various users/stakeholders. It will consist of four layers: a Hyperty Layer, a Messaging Layer, a Transport Layer and a Trust Management Layer transversal to the first three layers. Fabrics in each layer offer scalable mechanisms for the registration, look-up and discovery of Hyperties as well as communication between them.
Obj 2: To design and develop security and portability features necessary to ensure a secure and trustworthy service, compatible with European/national regulations; to propose solutions to measure the confidence level of identities provided by a th ird party service and realize convergent and multi-party services, relying on a trusted identity provider.
Obj 3: To examine the business impact of the concepts developed by “reTHINK” on today’s communication and services ecosystems as well as content delivery and how they might be transformed in the future. The project will analyze who are the players now and who will participate in the future. It will also asses the impact a concept such as reTHINK will have in the economic sphere and in society in general, especially in the the European community.
Obj 4: To validate its effectiveness by applying reTHINK to a set of use cases that represent the most important application areas, such as real-time audio/video communication, content delivery via Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), and M2M communication enabled by the Internet of Things. The selected application areas (use cases) include classic Telecom services, entertainment, Over-The-Top (OTT) communication services and smart homes.
Obj 5: To realize standardisation and exploitation activities, including the dissemination of results to increase European competence in the WWW and web-driven real-time communication service domain.
The results have been demonstrated and showcased in major industry events, like the CEBIT 2017 and EUCNC 2017.
The project has been initiated by leading European network operators in order to develop a Web-centric service architecture, to strengthen European industry for closer integration of the IT and telecom worlds, enabling innovation for services and applications. The framework enables dynamic trusted relationships among distributed applications that support use-cases beyond commodity voice, such as contextual and social communications, M2M/IoT and content oriented services.
The activities in the project and their market relevance will support the creation of a ‘Future Internet’ network of European researchers. The activities to engage entrepreneurs and developers to trial and exploit the technology will contribute to the sustainability of the solution.
The platform provides opportunities for innovative developers to get their products and concepts prototyped and trialled on leading operator’s advanced service platforms. For this purpose the project plans to organise hackathons as an opportunity for intensive exposure to the project results. Through the planned testbed activities and the engagement of the developer community, the project will establish one large scale validation trial.
The project is reviewed by an advisory board with high profile experts and Internet Industry executives, to create links with related international developments, to promote world-wide visibility of the work and to receive feedback on the progress, supporting global views on open standards and interoperability.
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