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Table of contents
of the current issue

Selected Highlights
The Future
Internet -
Challenges and initiatives

EU approach
towards the
Future Internet

EIFFEL - Shaping
the Future

Trilogy -
Architecting the Future Internet

France Telecom -
A possible vision
of the Future

Telenor - Where should the
Internet be

Interview with
online media
expert Philippe Martineau


Shaping the Future Networked Society

How EIFFEL supports the Future Internet

Petri Mähönen
EIFFEL Project Coordinator
RWTH Aachen University

We are heading inevitably towards the Networked Society. It is important that different actors, including citizens, participate in making it a successful and desirable outcome. The European Union has identified this opportunity and has so far already committed hundreds of millions of R&D funding through different instruments to enable the development of the Future Internet. Among the new projects funded by the EU is EIFFEL, a Support Action that aims to facilitate a high-level think-tank and encourage a collaborative R&D approach of European stakeholders from industry, public institutions, and academia towards the Future Networked Society.

Today’s Internet was never designed to be a critical part of the worldwide economy’s infrastructure and an integral part of our society, but it has become exactly that. The Future Internet must not be seen as a mere technical entity, but as an enabler of the Future Networked Society. This leads to the logical conclusion that new research initiatives and approaches are needed to cover all aspects and more interdisciplinary research is required in this domain.

It is of key importance to achieve a balanced research agenda towards the Future Networked Society. There is a clear need to further support evolutionary, applied, engineering research, based on present industry projections towards the future. But this is not going to be enough to ensure that Europe grasps the great opportunities offered by the Future Internet. The evolutionary path has to be complemented by a portfolio of radical exploratory research activities that will push beyond the limits of existing ideas, architectures and technologies.

The EIFFEL Support Action is designed to ensure that there is enough interaction between the community undertaking exploratory, fundamental-type research and the more engineering based approaches, including the possibility that interdisciplinary approaches are considered and debated outside of the limits of narrow technical projects. The EIFFEL project will set up a pan-European discussion forum and an international technical think-tank for enabling discussions on the future of the Internet, particularly on network architecture and governance issues. Although EIFFEL leverages European experts, it is uniquely an international, peer-recognition based think-tank, which will be embracing experts from around the world.

Technical experts will explore and debate areas relevant to the shaping of the Future Networked Society, study the fundamental challenges of improving the Internet architecture and related technologies, and develop a vision for the Future Networked Society. EIFFEL will facilitate and cross-fertilise scientific investigations targeted at deployable Internet design principles. It aims to be a catalyst through its debates and white papers; it will not do fundamental research, nor coordinate research activities. It will provide a platform for different experts to debate, exchange ideas and build common roadmaps.

Furthermore, EIFFEL will identify research areas that are crucial for the transformation of the current Internet towards the Future Networked Society and support holistic, multi-disciplinary approaches for these investigations.

There are many questions on how the Internet will develop in the future. What has been clearly identified is that the Internet must progress and that the rate of progress must be revolutionary. Once we determine what sorts of transformations are needed, we could start working on how to migrate from today's Internet to the forecasted Future Internet, or the Future Networked Society.

The Networked Society in 2025

A major result of the EIFFEL project will be a vision of the Future Networked Society in the 2025 timeframe, as well as an outline of the technical areas of importance for realizing it. EIFFEL will also build bridges across disciplines and between the different communities in order to shape the Future Networked Society as well as establish the European voice in exploratory research towards it, eventually aiming at constituting the European arm in any international activity.

EIFFEL will also support the coordinated exchange of information between the European research community working in the area and research programmes in other regions of the world, thus contributing to the future harmonisation of viewpoints in technology, governance, privacy and societal aspects related to the Future Internet.

Europe has the opportunity to make a major contribution towards the Future Internet and set the stage for the Future Networked Society. The challenge is now to reach out to build a common European view and act together internationally in shaping the Future Networked Society.

Further information is available on the EIFFEL project website at

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