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20 Mar, 2014

Four user-driven projects shaping tomorrow’s Internet

Brussels, 18 March 2014 (European Commission MEMO) – With some 2.5 billion users world-wide, today’s Internet is an established part of our lives. But new challenges are arising all the time and Europe needs to think ahead so that Internet can continue to offer new services, applications and business opportunities.

From 18th to 20th March, more than 400 European scientists, researchers, business people, users, service and content providers will attend the Future Internet Assembly (FIA) in Athens @FIAAthens2014 to discuss tomorrow’s Internet.

Vice-President of the European Commission, responsible for the Digital Agenda @NeelieKroesEU said today: “Today’s Internet has already transformed so much of our world. And it is developing fast. Yet already, you can look ahead to some of tomorrow’s changes – the shape of the Future internet. Not just a new platform – but a springboard for economic growth, in Greece and across Europe” (SPEECH).

VP Kroes also visited an exhibition featuring some 90 projects funded by the EU.

4 user-driven projects shaping tomorrow’s Internet

App developers

SMEs & developers, get support to create your own creative applications! 18 major European research centres and companies such as BBC and Walt Disney have joined their skills in the FIcontent initiative. Their objective? Drive innovation at the crossroads of content, media, networks and creativity. @FIcontent aims at developing and experimenting across Europe cutting-edge ICT platforms devoted to applications and services in the areas of social connected TV, smart city services, and pervasive games.

Take social TV for example: discovery applications are being developed. Starting from a movie that you like, you will be able to discover other movies having similar criteria, as same actors or same director. An application based on location similarity (movies whose action is set in the same area) or on temporal similarity (movies whose action is set in a similar time period) will also be experimented.

Any European stakeholders, particularly developers and SMEs, willing to innovate and boost their business can access and use the open platforms. Whilst doing so they will receive support from the FIcontent companies and research centres. FIcontent is part of the Future Internet PPP. Watch the video.

Smart Toys

The next generation of toys will be connected: this is a real Internet of things #internetofthings application! These smart toys will not only entertain but they will also be educational or even therapeutic aids. Your child’s future companion will interact with various smart environments. When at home, the toy will be able to connect to PCs and online games to deliver personalised content. When visiting theme parks, zoos, and museums, the companion will serve as an assisting and educational device. The toy will, for example, tell fun facts about the exhibit, monitor your child’s level of interest, provide directions and schedules to help organise the time during the visit.

More comic strips

This smart toy and its applications are being developed by CALIPSO. This EU-funded project builds Internet Protocol (IP) connected smart object networks with novel methods to attain very low power consumption, thereby providing both interoperability and long lifetimes.

Smart parking

Another great use case investigated by CALIPSO is smart parking. Want to do some shopping in the city centre? Check your mobile phone: an application will tell you if there will be a place available next to your favourite shop when you arrive. How? Thanks to a system combining data related to your expected time of arrival, traffic flows and sensors in the ground. These new technologies in the field of the Internet of things are expected to appear on the market by 2015.

Smart meters

Greek schools are reducing their carbon footprint with new Internet technologies. The Internet Protocol (IP) governs the way data is sent over the Internet. The latest version is IPv6, but most government and public services still rely on IPv4. How to make the step? The GEN6 project @GENv6 can help.

Six pilots with different focus and environments have been launched. In Greece, for example, Power of 10 provides energy efficiency-related services over IPv6 to 50 schools. Students receive information on their school’s consumption patterns via a web application that accesses directly intelligent smart meters. Such an advanced system would not have been possible with IPv4.

The pilot aims at reducing school buildings’ carbon footprint by at least 10% by raising awareness of energy consumption and sharing of best practices. Information is stored and processed using cloud computing and disseminated to the schools, enabling comparison and promoting competition for the most energy-efficient school.

The pilot involves the Greek Research & Technology Network (GRNet) @grnet_gr, the Computer Technology Institute & Press “Diophantus” (CTI) and also a start-up company, Intelen @intelen.

Smart trains

Swedish trains are now in the #cloud. How to improve the communication between on-board personnel and the rest of the company? This was one of the challenges faced by the Swedish Rail Operator Tågkompaniet. The company decided to use MobiCloud to take full advantage of smartphones, increase efficiency and reduce costs.

@MobiCloudProj is a collaborative platform for developing, deploying and managing mobile cloud apps for business-critical scenarios. The system ensures that relevant information is delivered to the right employee at the right time. The Tågkompaniet apps are used for fault and status reporting as well as to access the latest timetables and operational information. Tasks that used to take days and involve excessive paperwork can now be completed in real-time by workers. For example, damages to train seats or lavatories are now reported – together with pictures – by employees and the maintenance team can directly plan and arrange the repair. The system is currently being used by 400 train-based staff members, and 15 back-office workers including traffic controllers and company management.

The international construction and engineering group Costain is also using MobiCloud. The system has increased staff time efficiency and improved the ability to retrieve accurate records by replacing paper processes. The Site Diary solution is used on different construction sites. It enables staff to report tasks and progress on a project and record weather conditions automatically. Read testimonials of staff members using the system.

Leading the way with EU industries & SMEs

Since 2007, €2 billion of EU funding has been invested in developing the future Internet. A similar amount will be available under the new research programme Horizon 2020 #H2020 (2014-2020).

In particular, two bold new public-private partnerships (PPP) have been launched:

  • The Future Internet PPP, @EC_PI_PPP is entering its last phase, running up to 2016. This third step ensures that technological developments and trials evolve into seed-type activities, generating actual take-up of innovative Internet apps & services; €100 million is being put on the table to help some 1000 small businesses and start-ups do so. 16 consortia have just been selected to act as “accelerators” in this process and connect local partners. In this way, the FI-PPP stimulates regional smart growth. Watch the video.
  • The 5G PPP was launched last December and is off to a great start. EU investment amounts to €700 million while private contributions are expected to reach at least €3.5 billion by 2020. @NeelieKroesEU recently called on telecom industries to reach a global consensus on #5G (SPEECH) and highlighted the new applications that will be made possible with this network.

For new technologies to flourish, they need a favourable regulatory environment, including having access to an open internet via fast broadband, as well as cross-border free roaming. This is why the European Commission launched the Telecommunications Single Market package #connectedcontinent.