Schlagwort-Archiv: FI PPP

The Future Internet Week in Ghent – From the G16, over the Industry Group, FIRA and EFII, to EFIA

This year closes with the Future Internet Assembly as part of the Ghent Future Internet Week. One more the event gathered the majority of European research projects/community around several sessions, workshops, exhibitions, and and and.

Presence of *common suspects* was harnessed to ran an ad-hoc meeting between FIRA (Future Internet Research Alliance) and EFII (Eurpean Future Internet Initative) members. As chairman of FIRA I had the pleasure to present vision and ambition of FIRA and to engage into discussions with EFII members in order to evaluate a potential collaboration of both organizations. Bottom line, this is was and still is the objective of the two communities, despite the number of differences to be sorted out. This is good news.

The meeting reinforced a conviction that complexity of such an joint venture must not be underestimated and after a poorly managed first attempt only a sound framework with clearly defined rules, roles, competencies, objectives, etc will create trust for moving forward. This was proposed and it now remains to be seen if reasonable agreement can be reached that represents the very different stakeholders and related objectives.

At the end the European research community seeks for a “Future Internet” that is fundamentally different and enables Europe to take the lead in future Internet-based economies. Commonly agreed is that such an Future Internet will differ from the current one by consolidation and extensive collaboration across the different sectors, ICT and non-ICT, and from a technology, business, and policy perspective.

Such a vision implies not only technology transformation but mind sets as well. The Internet keeps proving to favor those that accept its openness and global nature instead of those trying to sustain protective approaches. Successful will be those ones, that endorse and assimilate the Internet as an opportunity to collaborate – isnt that what the Internet is all about?

The so-called G16, then the Industry Group, nowadays EFII, as well as FIRA are contemporary witnesses of this change and its pains. For the past two years the two organizations struggled with finding common ground for a multitude of reasons. Still there is a perspective, not least by the implementation of the FI-PPP, which was original motivation to the G16 and then EFII, as well as later FIRA. Lessons learned are that many players were finally able to put heads together and work for the greater good by letting “local” agendas aside (to some extent). If eventually successful? Spring 2011 will tell; as usual writing/submitting proposals is a though job – but the origin of a real challenge at best.

One must not ignore the human dimension in all of this. Sincere consideration of the above leads to a change that has to happen at individual level. FIRA and EFII have proven this. Today I asked to stand down as chairman of FIRA given that original perspectives to founding members were reasonably met. Commitment to these was always a high personal priority to me. This was confirmed and implementation is already on the way. If this exercise will be repeated, I do believe, it could eventually be the natal hour of EFIA, the European Future Internet Alliance.

Comments on the Future Internet Public-Private Partnership (FI PPP)

Roughly two years of preparation, from idea, over program design, to call for proposals for the “Future Internet Public-Private Partnership”. The deadline was passed last Thursday, 2nd of October 2010. It remains to be seen whether the enormous investments eventually pay off.

I believe in the European definition of a “Holistic Future Internet”. It is a rather broad concept; “Networks of the Future”, “The Internet of Things”, “The Internet of Services”, “Security”, “Cloud Computing”, and “Media & Content”. But it is not the range of topics alone, what makes the difference is that these domains are not considered in isolation. Instead, this vision of “Future Internet” is a consolidation of these domains into one global Internet-scale platform. Objective is to turn the Internet into a an open eco-system with low entry barriers and support for innovation in infrastructure as well as application domains. And this far beyond the ICT sector.

This is very different when compared to US-style “Future Internet” research, that is primarily focused on Internet communication architectures (c.f. NETS, FIND, GENI). While the European vision may appeal more complete and more universal, the US definition is more concise and warrant for potentially streamlined progress towards the ultimate objective, the next Internet. It is hard to quantify in terms of investment (social and monetary captial), but one predominant obstacle in European Future Internet research is definitively the “prerogative of interpretation”.

The FI PPP is a proper tool with a reasonable vision and capable provisions. The ultimate challenge, however, is to get the idea of an “open platform” penetrating beyond technology in order to gain support by business strategists. The past has shown that technology alone does not suffice: 25,583 IEEE papers on QoS versus XXX deployments?.

In any case, FI PPP preparations already achieved one significant result, namely the ICT sector entering a (painful) process of collaboration towards this idea of an open Internet-scale eco-system. This process is still at the very beginning and who knows if a beneficial continuation will result. Yet an ambitious platform is there and enough evidence for significant economic potential should be a good motivation.

At the end, “gain is frequently related to risks taken” and Europe is commonly perceived being too conservative, especially when compared to the US. The FI PPPs 300M€ investment prove otherwise.