Communications Networks, Content and Technology

Experimental Platforms

Experimental Platforms

Experimental Platforms (Unit E.4)
Goal: 

Our vision is to build a European infrastructure of shared experimental facilities that is of strategic importance for the Future Internet and at the service of the European digital economy and the European society at large. We want European experimenters (academia, industry, SMEs and start-ups alike) to be able to measure, compare and validate results of experimentally-driven research and innovation and to integrate them into new products and services for the benefit of citizens and organisations.

Action: 

Our priority is to create and develop large-scale experimental platforms in realistic environments (e.g. smart cities) for Future Internet; to promote experimentally-driven research and innovation on top of these platforms; to foster the demand for innovative experiments; to ensure that SMEs and end-users can access the needed experimental infrastructure independently of their location; to encompass novel concepts like Experimentation-as-a-Service and Virtual Experimentation.

Situation: 

Internet systems are currently too complex to be entirely designed in advance and therefore must be thoroughly evaluated in environments that increase realism. This validates not only functionality but user acceptance and economic viability as well. Consequently, any consideration of new ways to approach the Internet requires early experimentation and testing in large-scale environments.However, it has become more and more challenging and expensive (in time and budget) for researchers to build their own ad hoc testbeds. Researchers can, in the best case, get access to a small number of facilities with specific configurations and purposes, and with limitations and restrictions of various types.The FIRE initiative (Future Internet Research and Experimentation) creates an open research environment, available for large-scale experimentation. It aims at enabling a larger set of experiments to take place on reliable and benchmarked infrastructures, allowing the experimenters to focus on their research.

Mandate: 
Regulation (EU) No 1291/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 establishing Horizon 2020 - the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020) and repealing Decision No 1982/2006/EC

Input

Full-Time Equivalent: 
13.5
People: 
13.50 full-time equivalent (FTE)
Budget: 
Funds from FP7, CIP, H2020 (mainly Integrated Projects, Coordination and Support Actions, International Collaboration) – in WP2014-15 of Horizon 2020 a budget of approximately 52 M€
Other: 
  • Co-funding by academic institutions, research organizations and private companies participating in the projects
  • Collaboration with other European, national and regional initiatives or programmes, such as the Future Internet Public Private Partnership (FI-PPP), the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and national research facilities.
Outputs

Open access to facilities by external experiments

Timeframe: 2014-2016

Indicators

2541

Percentage of facilities offering open access to experiments

Target 33% (by end 2016)
Source

Periodic reports by facility projects

Experiments selected through open calls

Timeframe: 2014

Indicators

2538

Budget devoted to experiments in open calls as a percentage of total funding

Target 40% (by end 2014)
Source

Periodic reports by facility projects

Enlargement of the FIRE experimental facilities coverage

New Future Internet technologies (e.g. 5G, Mobile and Wireless, Spectrum, Photonics, Sensors, etc) or application areas (e.g. smart homes/buildings, smart cities, ITS, etc.) added to existing projects through the open calls, or covered by new facilities.

Timeframe: 2014

Indicators

2534

Number of areas of enlargement

Target 6 (by end 2014)
Source

Periodic reports by facility projects

Evaluation by the experimenters on the on the successful use of the FIRE facilities, the provision of procedures and tools to implement experimentation-as-a-service

Ability and ease to use the facility, availability of announced functionalities, attractiveness for new users, and outcomes of experiments directly resulting from the facilities capacities.

Timeframe: 2014-2016

Indicators

4318

Average evaluation by experimenters

Target 4 (ranked from 0 to 5) (by end 2016) (2014-2016)
Source

All indicators will be computed based on a survey to the Unit projects. A trial to refine the survey has been run in spring 2014 and will be expanded to the whole portfolio in the autumn.

Number of experiments running on the FIRE facilities

Source  The indicator will be computed at each year-end and will cover experiments from the organisations hosting the facilities and those from organisations only using the facilities. All indicators will be computed based on a survey to the Unit projects. A trial to refine the survey has been run in spring 2014 and will be expanded to the whole portfolio in the autumn. 

Timeframe: 2014-2016

Indicators

4123

Total number of experiments running on the FIRE facilities (lead indicator)

Target 10% yearly increase compared to previous year (2014-2016)
Baseline Number of experiments in 2013 (2014)
Source

The indicator will be computed at each year-end and will cover experiments from the organisations hosting the facilities and those from organisations only using the facilities.All indicators will be computed based on a survey to the Unit projects. A trial to refine the survey has been run in spring 2014 and will be expanded to the whole portfolio in the autumn.

Organizations that are for the first time using one of the FIRE facilities

Timeframe: 2014

Indicators

4314

Percentage of organizations participating in experiments over FIRE for the first time

Target 15% (by end 2014) (2014)
Source

All indicators will be computed based on a survey to the Unit projects. A trial to refine the survey has been run in spring 2014 and will be expanded to the whole portfolio in the autumn.

Results/Impacts

Sustainability of the facilities

Timeframe: 2014-2015

Indicators

2601

Percentage of the facilities still available to experimenters one year after the end of the EU funding

Target 50% (stretched) (by end 2015)
Source

Periodic reports by facility projects

Involvement of private sector and industry (including SMEs, operators, services providers)

Percentage of all organizations participating in experiments, as funded partners or through open access.

Timeframe: 2014-2015

Indicators

2599

Project resources coming from the private sector as percentage of total person-months

Target 35% (stretched) (by end 2015)
Source

Periodic reports by facility projects.

Cost reduction declared by the experiments when using the platforms

In comparison with performing the experiment without the FIRE facilities.

Timeframe: 2014-2015

Indicators

2597

Cost savings

Target 30% (by end 2015)
Source

Periodic reports by facility projects

Increasing new applications and services available on the market and using the results validated by the experiments

Timeframe: 2014-2016

Indicators

4322

Time from idea to testing and validation and then to market

Source

All indicators will be computed based on a survey to the Unit projects. A trial to refine the survey has been run in spring 2014 and will be expanded to the whole portfolio in the autumn.

Reducing the entry costs and expertise level to access large-scale and multi-disciplinary experimental platforms

Timeframe: 2015-2020

Indicators

4324

Entry-costs to access to experimental platforms

Target To track and monitor (2015-2020)
Source

All indicators will be computed based on a survey to the Unit projects. A trial to refine the survey has been run in spring 2014 and will be expanded to the whole portfolio in the autumn.

Shortening the time from idea to testing and validation and then to market

Timeframe: 2015-2020

Indicators

4326

Time to market

Target To track and monitor (2015-2020)
Source

All indicators will be computed based on a survey to the Unit projects. A trial to refine the survey has been run in spring 2014 and will be expanded to the whole portfolio in the autumn.

Link to DG CONNECT's Top Level Targets

  • Europe 2020 - 3% of the EU's GDP should be invested in R&D, complemented by a future EU 2020 Headline Innovation Indicator
  • H2020 - By 2020, one third of all Europe's ICT business investment in ICT R&D in the EU should come from companies created within the last two decades
  • DAE - To halve the proportion of the population that has never used the internet from 30 % to 15 % by 2015

By increasing the participation of the private sector in the FIRE facilities, we would contribute to support and even foster private investment in R&D.

By increasing the number of end-users involved in experiments, we anticipate a growing number of experiments improving the usability and easiness of use of some Future Internet applications.

Through the collaboration with national research facilities, we intend to yield better value from national investment in R&D from the current situation to the EU targets.