Communications Networks, Content and Technology
European Commission Directorate General

Future Internet Research and Experimentation: experimental platforms

Future Internet Research and Experimentation: experimental platforms


Our vision for Europe is to continue steering and shaping the Future Internet in collaboration with other regions of the world. Our strategy is to provide European research centres, universities and companies with testing environments for experimental research beyond the state of the art and for increased competitiveness. Our actions aim at building a centre of excellence for advanced networking experimentation, integrating multiple technologies, creating platforms and tools for application and service development for the benefit of users, and analysing emergent system behaviour.


Our priority is to create and maintain experimental platforms for Future Internet; to support platforms which allow the testing and integration of technologies, tools, services and applications in realistic environments (e.g. smart cities) in view of large-scale deployment; to promote the federation and sustainability of these platforms and the emergence and validation of standards.


Internet systems are currently too complex to be entirely designed in advance and therefore must be thoroughly evaluated in environments that increase realism and stakeholder engagement in order to validate not only functionality but user acceptance and economic viability.Consequently, any consideration of new ways to approach the Internet requires early experimentation and testing in large-scale environments, even though some of these ideas might only be implemented in the medium to long term.Today, sustainable and larger scale European experimental facilities and a paradigm shift are needed in order to facilitate visionary academic research combined with wider-scale, multi-disciplinary testing and experimentation. The FIRE initiative (Future Internet research and Experimentation) creates an open research environment, which facilitates strategic research and development on new Internet concepts giving researchers an instrument to carry out large-scale experimentation on new paradigms.At the same time, other regions of the world (US, Japan, …) have built and are maintaining such type of large-scale experimental facilities.FIRE will build on the current European platforms, extend their experimentation capabilities and permit the access to a larger audience of experimenters in order to retain EU leadership in experimentally-driven research. 


Full-Time Equivalent: 
6.00 full-time equivalent (FTE)

Collaboration with other DGs or agencies:

Funds from FP7, CIP, and H2020. We envisage spending under the Horizon 2020 programme of the order of €52 ml for all priorities (years 2014-15). These are indicative figures to be confirmed by the budgetary process by the end of 2013.
  • 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), Celtic and national research facilities
Experimental Platforms (Unit E.4)

Enlargement of the FIRE experimental facilities coverage

New Future Internet technologies (e.g. 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



Areas of enlargement

Target 6(by end 2014)

Budget devoted to experiments and selected through the open calls

Percentage of total funding to facilities.

Timeframe: 2014



Experiments in open calls

Target 40%(by end 2014)

Funded facilities having enabled open access to un-funded experiments

Percentage of all facilities.

Timeframe: 2014-2016



Open access

Target 33%(by end 2016)

Evaluation by the experimenters on the successful use of the FIRE facilities

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

Timeframe: 2014



Average evaluation by experimenters (lead indicator)

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

Cost reduction declared by the experiments when using the platforms

In comparison with performing the experiment without the FIRE facilities.

Timeframe: 2014-2015



Cost savings

Target 30%(by end 2015)

Project resources (Person-Months) coming from private sector and industry (operators, services providers)

Timeframe: 2014-2015



Private sector Person-Months

Target 35% (stretched)(by end 2015)

Sustainability of the facilities

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

Timeframe: 2014-2015




Target 50% (stretched)(by end 2015)

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 double public investment in ICT R&D to € 11 bn by 2020

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

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