Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

From Experimentation to Future Internet

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The Internet is a complex and evolving place where any technological development may have multifaceted and surprising consequences. Experimentation and testing in a realistic, large-scale environment is required at an early stage, even though some of these ideas may only be implemented in the long term.
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Internet systems are currently too complex to be entirely designed in advance. They must be thoroughly evaluated in realistic environments, with the engagement of stakeholders, in order to validate not just functionality but also user acceptance and economic viability.

The wide and growing variety of Future Internet systems and networking solutions being tested and evaluated makes it ever more challenging and expensive (in both time and budget terms) for researchers to build their own ad hoc virtual laboratories.

Private-sector experimenters face the twin challenge of using open, shared experimental facilities while at the same time needing to protect their assets or findings. FIRE will liaise with active organisations in the field of innovation and link directly with industry, such as the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT), to foster the transition from experimentation to validation and then to market.

Currently, researchers can, in the best-case scenario, access a small number of facilities with specific configurations and purposes, albeit with various limitations and restrictions. The concept of Experimentation-as-a-Service (EaaS) constitutes a move from the current model of federation-by-design, to ad hoc, on demand federation and reconfiguration of facilities and platforms, with potentially different purposes and focuses and which were not initially supposed to be federated, in order to meet the researchers' needs.

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