In the constantly evolving field of multimedia in Europe, both private organisations and public institutions are facing several key problems:
- Multimedia operators need up-to-date, reliable information on the opportunities available at the European level (for example, calls for proposals, important events, large international initiatives). At the moment, it is not easy to receive this kind of information in a structured and reliable way.
- There is also a need to be involved in discussions which take place at the European level with a view to defining future actions, and to be able to contribute to such discussions.
- Public institutions (such as the EC and national governments) need to be aware of trends and developments in the multimedia market in order to shape public policies according to real user needs.
The main objective of MAGNET is to contribute to solving the problems above, by creating an infrastructure which will foster dynamic interaction and the circulation of information horizontally (i.e. at the level of operators) and vertically (i.e. between public institutions and operators).
The ultimate goal is to create a leverage effect throughout Europe, fostering the take-off of the multimedia market across the continent. More specifically, MAGNET will have a multiplier effect on the action of the Multimedia Special Interest Groups (SIGs) taking part in it (namely, Italy, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Norway, Spain, Portugal and France). By and large, and taking into account national peculiarities, the goals of a typical SIG are:
- To represent its members as a critical mass both at national and international levels.
- To facilitate contacts, at national and international levels, between members with the aim of setting up technical, commercial and scientific partnerships.
- To provide members with accurate and up to date information about opportunities and activities taking place internationally.
- To identify and, whenever possible, implement and provide useful services for the members.
It is clear that these individual objectives can best be achieved through close cooperation among all the European SIGs. Therefore, another objective of the first phase of MAGNET, funded through the present contract, is to promote the MAGNET idea and to attract the participation of European countries which are not yet involved. A very significant role in this respect will be played by the quarterly plenary meetings which will have the goal of bringing together the working parties in order to make the collaboration tighter, and to exchange views and information with as many as possible external, qualified entities (public administrations, other areas of the EC, and other associations working in the same domain).