Digital Single Market
Digital Single Market Newsroom

News :: Building on EU-Japan ICT

Building on EU-Japan ICT

(17/07/2014) The joint ICT research programme between the EU and Japan has quickly gained momentum with the first coordinated call yielding six ambitious collaborative projects. Net-it-be takes a look at the progress of three: ClouT, GreenICN and FELIX.

The EU-Japan ICT R&D Collaboration brings together the European Commission, the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication (MIC), the National Institute of ICT (NICT) along with European and Japanese industrial players, leading universities and R&D centres, such as Orange, Telefonica, NEC, KDDI and Panasonic.

The first ICT EU-Japan coordinated call, issued in 2012, addressed a range of ICT topics, including wireless communications, optical networks, cyber-security, cloud computing/Internet of Things (IoT), federated SDN test-beds and green networking. Japanese and European experts evaluated the submissions and six projects – one per topic – were selected and launched in 2013. One year later and the projects are reporting strong progress.

ClouT – get smart!

The ClouT project, for example, is the first European-Japanese collaborative project combining the IoT and cloud computing technologies to help cities get smarter through better resource management and citizen involvement. Based on a common cloud and IoT reference architecture, the project is aiming for near-unlimited processing and storage capacity harnessing the power of the ‘things’ and ‘people’ in smart cities, and will produce platform-level tools and services to facilitate IoT application development, deployment and supervision.

ClouT has put out the first version of the reference architecture from which early software components have been developed. Four applications have been developed in each of the pilot cities; Santander and Genoa in Europe, Mitaka and Fujisawa in Japan.

The partners in ClouT, including world-class ICT companies and research organisations, have met regularly to deepen R&D collaboration between the regions. ClouT co-organised with the SUCRE and OCEAN projects a workshop about current IoT and cloud computing research in Europe and Japan, and the prospects for future collaboration.

Topics highlighted during the event included: cloud integration and interoperability; big open data management for the Cloud of Things (CoT); Software-Defined Networking (SDN) interconnection and orchestration; and trust-, security-, privacy-enhancing technology for the CoT.

"Information-Centric Networking (ICN) is a new paradigm where the network provides users with named content, instead of communication channels between hosts."

--GreenICN team

A meeting in April with colleagues from MIC delved into evolving smart city initiatives in Europe and Japan

GreenICN – it’s all about the information

"Information-Centric Networking (ICN) is a new paradigm where the network provides users with named content, instead of communication channels between hosts," note the partners in the EU-Japan GreenICN project. But research on ICN is at an early stage, they continue, with many key issues still open, including naming, routing, resource control, security, privacy and a migration path from the current internet.

Bringing together several Japanese and European universities and companies active in the field, the three-year collaborative R&D project addresses ICN challenges relating to complexity and scalability; push services; security and privacy; migration paths; routing efficiency; and applicability in disaster scenarios.

The general design is driven by application scenarios and covers the architecture, middleware, and underlying network support. The network level provides name-based forwarding that can be used to build richer forwarding schemes. There are two application scenarios being pursued by GreenICN: information delivery in fragmented networks with intermittent connectivity in the aftermath of a disaster; and scalable and efficient video delivery in both normal and disaster situations.

Work has focused on the architecture, routing, network-level publish/subscribe, congestion control, and priority-based forwarding, as well as name-based replication. The project’s proposed network architecture is founded on name-to-name (‘internames’) communication.

The main scientific results of the project so far include the description and analysis of application scenarios, in particular a disaster-recovery scenario in which energy resources are scarce and network connectivity is partial and intermittent. The team has also come up with an initial architectural framework including the definition of a name-based ‘addressing scheme’ and corresponding name-resolution services. Other output includes an energy model of an ICN router, a performance analysis and traffic engineering for energy-efficient ICN; and a formulation of a publish/subscribe service built on ICN. The consortium also produced an initial demonstration of GreenICN based on a real estate advertising application.

"Since the overall ‘big-picture’ vision for GreenICN is crucial for the success of the project, it is important that [we] focus on integrating and harmonising the contributions of each work package within a coherent GreenICN architecture," notes the team.

Consortium partners have already published several scientific papers and contributed to international standards, with more expected in the remaining timeframe, especially related to network communication in disaster recovery – a mark of the strong collaboration between the European and Japanese partners.

FELIX – solid foundations for federated SDN

The FELIX project, meanwhile, brings together leading Japanese and European actors in the Software-Defined Networking field. The project provides an ideal platform to create, monitor, validate and manage Future Internet (FI) SDN developments using the network applications and solutions made possible thanks to the EU-Japan collaborative programme.

The project has defined six specific use-cases and grouped them into two major clusters –the data domain and infrastructure domain – to reflect the primary application areas and stakeholders. Key features of the data domain case include delivery of distributed data by setting data flows over the network (data on demand); pre-processing and fast delivery of virtually real-time (satellite) data to geographically distant locations (i.e. from EU to Japan and vice-versa); and high-quality media transmission over long-distance networks.

The FELIX infrastructure domain case focuses on more robust, advanced, efficient – in terms of energy and cost – use of federated and dispersed Future Internet resources (i.e. across different continents), and includes work on SDN for data mobility services, so-called ‘follow-the-sun/follow-the-moon’ principles, and disaster recovery measures (i.e. remote data centres based on ‘infrastructure-as-a-service’ principles).

The project is reporting "solid progress" on the architectural foundation and software tools needed to implement these use-cases. According to a recent CORDIS news report, FELIX has been defining the common framework for federated FI-SDN test-beds – an important step towards more fine-grained network management and control systems to execute distributed applications over the federated infrastructure. Early demonstrations are expected during 2014.

More information

Learn more about GreenICN

Learn more about FELIX

Learn more about ClouT

Learn more about Future Networks on CORDIS and EU-Japan S&T cooperation