Anyone who has ever built a house with Lego knows too well that it’s only as strong as the foundations, and sometimes the bigger it gets the bigger the chance of collapse. This is where we find ourselves with the internet of today. How can Europe build its economic house on firmer foundations? Initiatives such as FI-WARE and FI-LAB are doing their part to make sure the seeds of innovation are not squandered when it comes to the Future Internet (FI).

The EU-supported FI-WARE project is developing an ‘ecosystem’ around building blocks which makes it easier for the developer community and entrepreneurs to come up with innovative applications. The project is a cornerstone of the Future Internet Public-Private Partnership (FI-PPP) scheme – see also pages 5 and 13 – and delivers technology building blocks called ‘generic enablers’ (GEs) which can be used by a large set of applications in any industry. Examples are cloud hosting, ‘big data’ analysis, marketplace creation, Internet of Things management, security monitoring, identity management, etc.

Around 50 GEs have been developed to date, many of which are made available via FI-WARE’s Open Innovation Lab (FI-LAB). This lab provides a cloud facility, where third parties can set up and configure – free of charge – the virtual infrastructure (computing, network, storage) to run, test and validate their own experimental Future Internet applications.


Such applications will be able to make use of services provided by global or dedicated FI-WARE GE implementation ‘instances’ and the FI-LAB Cloud – collectively referred to as FI-LAB Services. Relying on dedicated FI-WARE Security GE implementations, applications deployed on FI-LAB will boost identity management and control for end-users.

Due to limited capacity and expected high demand, use of FI-LAB Services will be subject to certain restrictions in terms of resources allocated, access time and service levels provided (based on the ‘best-effort’ principle).

“FI-WARE wants to ease connection of the FI-LAB to experimental facilities to enrich the offering for third parties,” notes the project team. Examples include APIs for smart cities or digital-home living labs or other smart spaces.

That way, the team continues, FI-LAB will not be limited to “innovative technologies” alone, but it will also provide access to real data which, combined with these technologies, provide a greater value-added.

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“I think there’s an opportunity for great innovation – and an opportunity for Europe …
Because, make no mistake, research and innovation will keep powering change …
Tomorrow’s internet landscape could look very different …”

(Commissioner Neelie Kroes speech ‘Creating tomorrow’s internet’ at the launch of Future Internet Labs, London)


Campus party for LAB launch

On 3 September 2013, Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda, launched FI-LAB, a platform for Future Internet experimentation, at the Campus Party in London. FI-LAB was created by the FI-PPP project FI-WARE as a ‘live instance’ of the project’s generic enablers. FI-LAB is available to developers for free experimentation with the technology.