If there was ever any doubt, we are learning more and more that content still reigns over the internet – technological advances just make it that much easier to share what people create or have to say. One EU programme, FI-Content, is making sure Europe remains at the cutting edge of content creation as the Future Internet evolves.
A total of 18 research centres, along with major media and telecom players – including the BBC, Walt Disney Company and Technicolor – have joined forces in the EU-backed FIContent initiative, which is keen to drive innovation at the crossroads of content, media, networks and creativity.
FI-Content partners offer six ‘experimentation sites’, or open platforms devoted to applications and services in the areas of social connected TV (i.e. multiscreen interaction, personalised TV, user tracking and privacy), smart city services (contextualisation, live info, sharing and communication), and pervasive games (augmented and blended reality, toys, installations and city-wide gaming).
What’s more, these facilities are open to any European stakeholders, particularly developers and SMEs with innovative Future Internet ideas. FI-Content partners can support access to these open platforms through open calls (see box). Germany’s Pixelpark, for instance, offers a ‘social network platform’ enabling smart city applications, such as better interaction between users, and the ability to create text posts, upload media assets and create status updates.
Indeed, FI-Content, which is part of the Future Internet Public-Private Partnership (FI-PPP, see pages 13-15), focuses on five main content areas:
- Games and virtual environments: the delivery and interactive use of content, in most cases in a social relationship with other players
- Professionally-generated content: production and distribution of content for and by professional broadcasters, combined with end-user needs
- User-generated content entertainment: production and sharing of content by regular consumers
- High-end B2B services: a major evolution in the way business stakeholders share or exchange huge volumes of content data, opening the way to new business and service models
- ‘Edutainment’ and culture: content consumption by end-users requiring specific new features for educational and cultural purposes and using novel education methods
Today, more than 50 % of internet traffic is video or audio, and this percentage is expected to grow dramatically as more mobile content is generated, thanks to widespread smartphone use. Video and audio are also the most demanding applications – in terms of processing power (content production) and transmission capabilities (content delivery functions) – and thus provide challenging test cases for the Future Internet.
The FI-Content project offers several use cases which make extensive use of media content, and provide useful inputs to the EU-backed FI-WARE initiative (see also pages 26-27). To illustrate these, FI-Content has provided indicative scenarios demonstrating key breakthroughs and technical challenges.
Among the many Future Internet applications and services, those involving large content files (e.g. multimedia) are likely to play an increasingly important role as a technical driver for the sort of rich interactive communication experiences being explored through the project, according to the FI-Content team.
- FI-Content – http://mediafi.org/ and open calls http://mediafi.org/open-call/
- FI-PPP – https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/future-internetpublic-private-partnership