INTRODUCING
'TELEMATICS FOR RESEARCH'




TELEMATICS APPLICATIONS PROGRAMME

EUROPEAN COMMISSION
DG XIII C

June 1996


Executive Summary

1. Introduction

2. The Research Community, Telematics for Researchers, and the Information Society

3. Overview of the Telematics for Research Initiative of the EC and related Initiatives

3.1 Rationale

3.2 Objectives

3.3 Context

3.4 Approach

3.5 Participants

3.6 Domains of Research

3.7 Workplan

3.8 Related Initiatives

4. Present Status of the Telematics for Research Initiative of the EC and related Initiatives

5. Future Issues

5.1 Meeting the Bandwidth Needs

5.2 New Positioning with respect to the Commercial Internet

5.3 Identification of New Challenges

6. Conclusions

Further Information

Glossary

Annex 1: Project Descriptions


Executive Summary

The present paper provides information on objectives, scope and nature of activities performed in the framework of the 'Telematics for Research' sector of the 'Telematics Applications Programme' of the European Commission (EC), DGXIII C/E. It is addressed to decision makers in industry, the research community and politics, to raise awareness about the potential benefit of the Sector and encourage participation, co-operation and investment.

One of the key areas which can have a catalytic impact on the evolution of the Information Society is the research community, where the Information Society vision has been a reality for some time already. In the late 60's, the researchers were the first community world-wide to take advantage of remote access to computing resources. Throughout the following decades, the research community, expanding on a global scale, created the Internet, and Europe's contribution to it, the World-Wide-Web (WWW).

The EC is actively providing support at the European level address these issues and to meet the telematics needs of the European research community, in particular through the Telematics for Research initiative within the Telematics Applications Programme of DGXIII C/E. This support acknowledges the increasingly international and collaborative nature of research, the need for high quality and cost effective research to maintain Europe's global competitive position, and is driven by the rapidly evolving telematics requirements of researchers with the constant need for support in pushing back the frontiers.

Whereas the development of telematics infrastructures for research has been advancing steadily at the National level, the trans-European situation is lacking far behind. As an example the current national telematics infrastructures available to the researchers are working at capacities up to 155 Mbit/s whereas the corresponding international connections in general only works at 2 Mbit/s capacity. This discrepancy prevents international deployment of advanced applications and makes the working of existing applications difficult when used at international level.

It is for this reason that Telematics for Research activities primarily focuses on the trans-European aspects in order to capitalise on the results achieved at the national level. Interconnection and interoperability of networks and applications shall help in removing the geographical barriers, and assist in promoting the vision of a seamless pan-European telematics infrastructure for access to knowledge and enhancing European collaborative research.

The Telematics for Research activities aim at demonstrating the benefits of advanced telematics tools and infrastructures for collaborative research work, at improving access to research results, and at accelerating the creation of standards, products and services. The activities are also part of a decisive policy to contribute to the process of technology transfer, the evolution of the European Information Society and overall European cohesion.

The implementation of the initiative departs from the principle that the necessary technology base is already available, e.g. resulting from national actions or from EU Research and Technology Development programmes in areas as information technology (ESPRIT) and advanced communications technologies and services (ACTS). Projects are user-driven and a life-cycle model involves users at all stages, starting from market and requirements analysis and concluding with the validation of a demonstrator in a close-to-real usage environment. Demonstrations represent about 50% of project resources and typically cover a period of one to two years. The EC's contribution towards the project cost is reduced as the project gets closer to exploitation in order to stimulate investments and the market creation effect.

All participants in the projects are linked into a co-operative framework. Researchers at universities and in industrial and academic research centres, users at science and technology parks, at educational institutions, government organisations and value added companies, are considered as leading edge users and early adopters of new applications. European industry is integral part of that collaboration, as telecom operators and Value Added Service providers, equipment and software companies, are provided with the necessary framework to gain experience with new applications and network services, and evaluate new products and prepare for their full commercial exploitation.

The application domains cover research communities with advanced requirements for innovative applications, e.g. biotechnology, climatic research and earth observation, astronomy and high-energy physics. The implementation of the initiative is based on open calls for proposals on the basis of a workplan which covers the following tasks: `High bandwidth trans-European interconnections of research networks', `Remote collaboration and teleworking', `Information services for researchers', `Applications for Access to Research Results', and 'Support issues specific to Telematics for Research'.

The Telematics for Research team is working on international co-operation in a number of related initiatives, to enhance the links with CEE countries in the frame of the PHARE and COPERNICUS programmes. The works complement other related programmes, notably the IT and ACTS programmes, and the G7 Information Society initiative of Global Interoperability of Broadband Networks (GIBN).

At present, a number of projects have been launched within Telematics for Research, covering all domains of the workplan. One of the most prominent projects, jointly initiated with the IT programme, aims to establish and validate the first commercial-grade European-wide interconnection of national research and educational networks with access speeds up to 34 Mbit/s. The project is a major breakthrough and involves all the European networking organisations in collaboration with a number of large European network operators.

Other projects relate to the experimental interconnection of major European telematics test-beds on the basis of an European ATM-based network, a joint activity with the IT and ACTS programmes, applications for remote control of scientific experiments and facilities in astronomy and plasma physics, and demonstration of remote collaboration for joint analysis by geoscientists of remote sensing satellite images. Another set of projects are concerned with the verification of new improved tools for multimedia-based collaboration, and Word-Wide-Web extensions allowing for better access to information and communications within groups of researchers.

The participation in projects is equally strong from industry, educational and academic research institutions and demonstrates the strong industrial interest in this domain.

The Telematics for Research initiative has already started a number of significant activities and will continue to support European telematics for researchers. New challenges will include the cost-effective provision of adequate telematics facilities within constrained budgets and further enhancement of synergies with other application sectors and user communities. The fast technological evolution continues and enabling technologies such as 3D and virtual reality, will be integrated and validated in advanced research applications with potential spin-off value for other application domains. Further support to international co-operation will continue, e.g. in the context of G-7 GIBN and related to Central and Eastern European and Mediterranean countries.

For the longer term vision, preparations for the 5th Framework programme are starting where the topic of telematics for research is expected to remain one of the horizontal issues to be addressed.

With its future initiatives, the Telematics for Research initiative will be working actively to promote an appropriate level of activities and funding in order to be comparable to competitor nations in the world-wide Information Society. This will be vital in order to meet the requirements of the European research and education community of the 21st century.


1. Introduction

The purpose of this paper is to provide information on objectives, scope and nature of activities performed in the framework of the 'Telematics for Research' sector of the 'Telematics Applications Programme' of the European Commission, DGXIII C/E.

The report intends to further increase awareness of on-going and planned activities and position them in the broader context of telematics for researchers in general, and the European Commission Research and Technology Development and Demonstration initiatives and Information Society activities in particular.

The report is addressed to decision makers in

· industrial and academic research and researchers in general, as developers and users of telematics applications,

· software companies, telecommunications operators, Value Added Service and information providers, as the providers of software, equipment, services, and information in support to telematics applications,

· Government officials, setting the program and funding frame of related initiatives at European level.

The report is intended to raise awareness about the potential benefits of telematics for research and encourage participation, co-operation and investment:

- for developers and users in collaborative research leading to the re-engineering of their working processes and ultimately to a more effective European R&D;

- for providers in industry to help technology transfer and to prepare for the exploitation of new markets.

- for motivating policy makers and funding bodies to continue and increase support to the European R&D community and their partners.


2. The Research Community, Telematics for Researchers, and the Information Society

The concept of the Information Society has now been generally accepted by governments world-wide. The European Council of ministers has adopted the European Commission (EC) white paper and action plan on the Information Society. The promise of a Global Information Infrastructure, as announced in the G7 Information Society Summit in February 1995 in Brussels, has extended this vision to a world-wide concept.

But the compelling vision of the Information Society is still for many people a very abstract term used by politicians and government officials. The main problems facing the majority of the population in Europe are issues like unemployment and sustainable quality of life. The main challenge is to transform the Information Society vision into tangible initiatives which can alleviate these problems in Europe and world-wide. The Information Society requires very large investments in order to achieve these goals, and investments should principally come from the private sector, with the public sector playing mainly a catalytic and enabling role.

One of the key communities which can have a catalytic impact on the evolution of the Information Society is the research community, where the Information Society vision has been a reality for some time already. In the late 60's, the researchers were the first community world-wide to take advantage of remote access to computing resources. Throughout the following decades, the research community, expanding on a global scale, created the Internet, and Europe's contribution to it, the World-Wide-Web (WWW).

In 1996, 75% of the Internet growth is derived from commercial users. Internet technology is widely applied to corporate networks, the Intranets, and over half of the Fortune 500 companies are making use of World-Wide-Web technology. The annual growth rate for WWW hardware and software is in the range of 100% and annual investment is estimated at 5 billion USD by the year 2000.

The Internet and WWW both are excellent examples of the creativity of the R&D community and show its ability to successfully translate vision into action. They are proof of the market's readiness to invest in new technologies and their exploitation in other communities, once they have been successfully demonstrated in the R&D community. This pioneer role of the research community as leading edge developers and users of new applications and services is acknowledged by economies world-wide.

The shift from textual to multi-media information is pushing the demands to the telecommunications infrastructures, where much higher transmission capacity and quality is needed. It is also pushing the frontiers for the development of new applications and services on the basis of the rapidly emerging enabling technologies.

Within the research community these technologies and services are being implemented in advance of the commercial markets and are demonstrating the associated capabilities and positive effects across a broad range of application domains. This is being done in collaboration with industry and telecommunications providers.

The advanced users within the research and education community are able to deploy these new applications early, but they require access to leading edge telecommunications facilities in order to fully exploit and demonstrate the potential of the new applications.

These issues and the importance and potential catalytic effect of telematics for researchers in the context of the emerging Information Society have been recognised politically:

· At the national level most European countries have established advanced research and education networks that are all part of a national strategy for the implementation of the Information Society concepts.

· Within the EU 4th Framework Programme, Telematics for Research has been included as a specific sector in the Telematics Applications Programme.

· In 1994, the Bangemann Report to the European Commission, identified the European research community and its role in the strategic application project "A Network for Universities and Research Centres" with the general objective to link 30% of European research centres and universities through advanced communications networks by 1997 and with extension to other European countries as this becomes technologically feasible.

· Under the US National Information Infrastructure (NII) initiative of 1993, the US research community, in the frame of the High-Performance Computing and Communications programme (HPCC), was assigned a key-role in the NII applications development and demonstrations

· At the international level the project Global Interoperability for Broadband Networks (GIBN) has been launched in the G7 Global Information Infrastructure context. This project has the objective to establish trans-continental links between all major national high speed network test beds and research networks in order to create a world-wide test bed for advanced multi-media applications on the basis of new broadband communications technologies.

It can be concluded, that the leading role of the research community and telematics for researchers has been acknowledged by economies and governments world-wide, and that the research community is in an excellent position play a leading role in the evolution of the Information Society.


3. Overview of the Telematics for Research Programme of the EC and related Initiatives

The European Commission is actively providing support at the European level to the meet the telematics needs of the research community. A set of initiatives have been launched, mainly in the context of the Telematics for Research sector of the Telematics Applications Programme.

The Telematics for Research sector is one of the 9 main sectors of the Telematics Applications Programme, one of the major Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) Programmes of the EU 4th Framework Programme (1994-1998). As the other sectors of the Telematics Applications Programme, it aims at the promotion of the competitiveness of European industry, at helping to improve the efficiency of services of public interest, and stimulate job creation through the development of new telematics systems and services.

3.1 Rationale

The use of advanced telematics is a key element in the increasingly international collaborative RTD activities, where groups of researchers need to work together and share multi-media information, knowledge and expensive research facilities across regional and national boundaries.

High quality research is essential for maintaining Europe's global competitive position, as well as for sustaining quality of life and developing the structures which will underpin the information society of the 21st century.

The telematics requirements of researchers evolve continuously and very rapidly with the possibilities of emerging technologies and services which means that there is a constant need for support in pushing back the frontiers. Failure to do so risk putting a roadblock in front of European industrial and academic research and hinder the evolution of the European Information Society.

3.2 Objectives

Telematics for Research initiatives shall promote a leading edge position of Europe in the development and deployment of telematics applications. They shall aim at providing better tools and infrastructures for collaborative RTD work, at improving access to research results, and at accelerating the creation of standards, products and services.

They shall lead to a framework where access to facilities, expertise and information is provided when required, e.g. where multi-disciplinary research teams can be created flexibly without the need for co-locating teams. Ultimately, this will stimulate the re-engineering of the R&D approach, for shortening development cycles and cutting costs, as the time to recover R&D investments is decreasing.

Telematics for Research shall help and contribute to the evolution of the European Information Society, contribute to the European cohesion, integration and support of less favoured regions, and provide support to application sectors of societal benefit, e.g. environment and education.

3.3 Context

The European model of research networking provision is comprising local research and university networks, national structures, and trans-European interconnection services.

A number of European national research networks are already implementing high speed networks nationally, operating at speeds of 34 Mbit/s and higher up to 155 Mbit/s. This development is driven by several factors, most notably:

- The continued growth of demand for existing services

- The development of new applications based on multi-media content. The research community is active in Europe wide collaborations to develop such applications, which require much more telecommunications capacity and quality than current applications.

- the availability of new telecommunications technology, principally Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) which is suitable for cost-effective transmission of real-time video and multi-media communication.

However, whereas the development of telematics infrastructures for research has been advancing steadily at the National level, the trans-European situation is lacking far behind. As an example the current national telematics infrastructures available to the researchers are working at capacities up to 155 Mbit/s whereas the corresponding international connections in general only works at 2 Mbit/s capacity. This discrepancy prevents international deployment of advanced applications and makes the working of existing applications difficult when used at international level.

It is for this reason that Telematics for Research initiatives primarily focuses on the trans-European aspects in order to capitalise on the results achieved at the national level. Interconnection and interoperability of networks and applications shall help in removing the geographical barriers, and assist in promoting the vision of an all pervasive pan-European deployment of advanced applications in support of European collaborative research.

3.4 Approach

Telematics for Research projects are user-oriented rather than technology driven. They apply basic enabling technologies within information - and telecommunications technology, e.g. results from the IT programme or the ACTS programme.

There is a strong underlying policy to emphasise the impact of these activities on the research user community itself and also the potential catalytic effect on the broader markets. This is being achieved by applying a so-called life-cycle approach to the projects, where market analysis and direct involvement of users in all stages of the projects are considered as essential elements for success.

Telematics for Research projects start with an analysis of researchers needs, and researchers are associated at each stage of a project's life. The project phase of validation in a real-life environment, typically of one to two years duration, receives particular priority, and represents 50% of project resources. The Commission contribution towards the project costs is reduced, as projects gets closer to the market, in order to ensure a strong commitment towards the project from the partners involved, in preparation of a possible subsequent exploitation.

Beyond their demonstrations objectives, Telematics for Research have the potential and aim at providing vital building blocks required for advanced telematics services in general. These building blocks are made available for demonstrations and use in other application domains of research and beyond.

3.5 Participants

All participants in Telematics for Research initiatives are linked into a collaborative framework.

The research community, as user and developer of telematics, is considered as a pioneer of the Information Society, and its leading edge users are seen as early adopters of new applications. The open and collaborative spirit of the community provides the ground for conceiving and testing of advanced applications prior to their migration into other communities. The user communities comprise research centres and universities, science and technology parks, educational and distance learning institutions, government and administrations, libraries and information providers, and value added service providers.

European industry is integral part of that collaboration, as telecom operators and VAS providers, equipment and SW companies, are provided with the necessary framework to gain experience with new applications and network services, and evaluate new products, and prepare for their full commercial exploitation.

3.6 Domains of Research

Telematics for Research is focusing on innovative applications in research, which require advanced telematics and network services. Examples of research disciplines include:

· Biotechnology, e.g. telematics for accessing databases of DNA sequences and related data

· Climatic research and geosciences, e.g. telematics for access to satellite observation data and its distribution, and for real-time joint analysis of image data.

· Astronomy, e.g. telematics for accessing and operating remote telescopes.

· High energy physics, e.g. telematics for accessing and sharing of large scale experiment facilities.

3.7 Workplan

The implementation of the initiative is based on open calls for proposals on the basis of a work plan. Telematics for Research work plan was defined with direct involvement of a large set of sector actors from different research disciplines and industry. Through this extensive consultation a workplan was developed which forms the basis for the implementation of the initiative.

The workplan is divided into the following task areas:

High bandwidth trans-European interconnections of research networks,

· with the objective to pilot and validate the increase of the capacity of trans-European interconnections of research networks towards 34 Mbit/s and 155 Mbit/s. This includes also the necessary actions to ensure that the quality of service to the research user communities is as high as possible. The provision of means for the successful integration of existing European research networks will also be an objective.

Remote collaboration and teleworking,

· with the objective to develop and validate applications enabling groups of researchers to work and share information both interactively (that is, in real time) and non-interactively, across geographical boundaries, so improving the cost effectiveness of research.

Information services for researchers,

· with the objective to develop and validate the specific multimedia information services needed to establish a seamless information infrastructure for researchers, including the application of tools to enable user communities within research to develop, structure and gain remote access to multimedia information.

Applications for Access to Research Results

· with the objective to develop and validate the experimental deployment of information services that allow efficient and transparent access to research results. Develop procedures and practices to allow providers of research results to make these results available, with due respect to intellectual property rights and integrity of the information, so as to encourage technology transfer and exploitation.

Support Issues Specific to Telematics for Research,

· with the objective to provide a strategic drive to the deployment of pan-European research networking on the basis of the various application pilots by setting up co-ordination and support structures and common management services and other accompanying measures.

3.8 Related Initiatives

It is an important part of the EU policies to enhance the links with Central and Eastern Europe, and the establishment and interconnection of related research networks is part of that policy.

The Telematics for Research team is working to help Central & Eastern European countries to develop their research network infrastructures using financial instruments from the PHARE and COPERNICUS Programmes of the EU. This involves establishment of interconnections of the national research networks to the rest of Europe and beyond and support to workshops and tutorials in co-operation with NATO in order to facilitate transfer of experience and best practice.

Telematics for Research complements related elements of the Information and Communications Technology programmes, notably

· the Information Technology (IT) Programme, in particular High Performance Computing and Networks,

· the Advanced Communications Services and Technologies (ACTS) Programme, in particular Interactive Digital Multi-Media Services and High Speed Networking

Telematics for Research furthermore complements a central element of the Global Interoperability of Broadband Networks (GIBN) project of the G7 Information Society initiative. GIBN, on the European side initiated by France, Germany, Italy, UK and the EC, provides a common basis for the promotion of joint R&D, demonstrations and pre operational trials of advanced high speed services and applications, encouraging the establishment of international interconnection of national an continental research and university networks.


4. Present Status of the Telematics for Research Programme of the EC and Related Initiatives

Within the Telematics for Research initiative a number of projects have been launched which exemplify the potential catalytic role that can be played by the research community as front-runners of the Information Society.

Below a graph of the current projects is shown, including their relationships.


Some examples of projects are described in the next section. In the annex a complete list of current projects can be found.


High Speed Interconnection of National Research and Education Networks -

Creating a pan-European Backbone network for Research and Education.

The area of High speed interconnections of research networks is central to Telematics for Research. Despite the comparatively small budget available, the European Commission was able to launch a call for proposals in December 1994 by joining forces between different EC research programmes.

The key obstacle to progress in this area in Europe is commercial unavailability of international telecommunication lines at 34 Mbit/s speed and the restrictive overall telecommunication costs in Europe. It was vital to get into a real European collaboration between the national research networks and their telecommunication network providers to address the issue of high speed interconnection of research networks.

Two main projects have emerged which reflect that collaborative spirit, TEN-34 and JAMES. These projects will be running during the period 1996 to 1998.

The TEN-34 project is an EC joint initiative between the Telematics Applications and Esprit/IT research programmes of the EU within an overall envisaged EC contribution of 30 MECU towards the total costs, a contribution initially covering 50% of costs and being phased out within two years of operation. The project aims to deploy trans-European networking facilities which will provide complementary international capacity to allow the national research networks to be interconnected into a pervasive European-wide research network. This production traffic network will address both the requirements for greater international capacity and will aim to support the emerging multimedia applications used by researchers across Europe. TEN-34 aims to establish the first European-wide IP service with access speeds up to 34 Mbit/s based on commercial grade offerings from service providers.

With involvement of all the research networking organisations in Europe in collaboration with a number of large network operators, this initiative is a major breakthrough. It will have a significant market creation effect and allow service providers and equipment providers alike to experiment with service provision in a heterogeneous multi-provider supply situation.

The JAMES project is a joint initiative between the Telematics Applications, the Esprit/IT and the ACTS research programmes of the EU within an overall envisaged community contribution of approximately 10 MECU towards the total cost. The JAMES project is responding to the need for advanced pan-European communication infrastructures which can support experiments with new advanced applications, as a follow-on to the European ATM-Pilot which closed end of 1995. Through the JAMES project, national research and education networks will be able to interconnect at the European level on the basis of an ATM based communications platform in order to conduct advanced applications experiments without interfering with the normal production traffic. The JAMES project allows for maturing advanced technologies and applications in advance of the market to mutual benefit for both users and providers of the technology involved.

The infrastructure provided through JAMES and TEN-34 may also potentially be interconnected world-wide (Canada, US and Japan) as part of the G7 Global Interoperability for Broadband Networks initiative. This will create a European part of a world-wide test bed for advanced applications, with high potential for accelerating the development of new advanced services and applications globally.

Another set of projects focus on the development and demonstrations of advanced building blocks for more generic telematics applications in research, and at building and demonstrating advanced and innovative telematics applications, responding to specific user requirements.


Innovative Application Development and Demonstration,

- Enhancing the Means for Collaboration -

Examples are presented here to illustrate the nature of initiatives for building and demonstrating innovative applications, responding to a specific need of a well identified research user community.

· The REMOT project aims to develop and demonstrate a generic approach to allow remote control of scientific experiments and facilities This involves real-time operation and relies on a capability for fast feedback of high information volumes from the experiment to the scientist. Astronomers will demonstrate remote operations of telescopes located at distant places in different parts of the world, plasma physicists will perform validations in remotely accessing expensive experiment facilities. Extensive use will be made of available tools from the Internet domain, such as WWW and MBONE. Internet, ISDN and ATM are considered network infrastructures.

· As an example of a project covering elements of remote collaboration and teleworking, the MANICORAL project involves a group of European geoscientists who analyse data from remote sensing satellites to predict climatic changes, using a collaborative communication platform to interwork remotely with supercomputer researchers. The project will make use of video and shared workspaces allowing dynamic visualisation of data and experiments. It will help in learning and developing new collaborative cultures in distributed research communities and allow interactive access to data from different geographical user locations.

The following examples illustrates the nature of initiatives for the development and demonstrations of advanced building blocks for more generic telematics applications in research.

· The MERCI project, will develop better tools for multimedia collaboration in Europe and ensure their interoperation on various computing platforms, e.g. PC or Workstations, and networking infrastructures, such as ISDN or Internet. It will address highly compressed audio, video and shared workspace, multimedia servers, security and distributed management and control. The project will make tool sets available for demonstrations in other sectors of the Telematics Applications Programme, and several industrial organisations will investigate how their business can be helped by applying these tools, e.g. how it impacts on their products.

· WEB4GROUPS is an example of a project developing and applying group-communications solutions to the benefit of researchers in environment, a city authority, a distance learning institution, and individuals. The project is based on WWW-extensions and email gateways, allowing open or closed group communications, extending the concept into non simultaneous computer conferencing including pictures, sound and messages in several languages. The results will benefit communication within groups of people with common interest, e.g. enable enhanced communication between citizens and local authorities, research and educational institutions.


Access to RTD Information and Results,

- Improving Access to Knowledge and the Innovation Cycle -

Further projects have been launched in order to improve the information infrastructure for European researchers and to find better ways to locate information and knowledge. The DESIRE project is putting substantial effort into this topic and the ADVISER project will be experimenting with new innovative approaches for making RTD results available in a structured form suitable for searching in order to improve the innovation cycle and avoid unnecessary replication of RTD activities.


The figure above shows the current distribution of participants in the projects and this graph shows clearly both a strong participation from industry and education in the sector activities.


5. Future Issues

5.1 Meeting the Bandwidth needs

Liberalisation of telecommunications will bring a totally changed supply situation which will lead to a decrease in the costs of telecommunications in Europe in the longer term. However, these costs are still a limiting factor for the deployment of advanced telematics within the research community in Europe, especially in the less developed regions of the European Union, Central and Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean region.

The general problem of the research community having leading edge requirements in advance of the commercial market will continue to exist and support measures to overcome these problems will continue to be necessary and must be actively pursued by governments in collaboration with industry.

Financing of telematics for research will continue to be problematic since the user demand is growing exponentially. Even with the projected reduction in communication costs, the current growth curve cannot be sustained into the future. The creativity and innovation which created the Internet must be put to work in order to help resolve this problem and further research is needed in this area.

The Telematics for Research initiative expects to work to support this process at the European level through current and future projects.

5.2 New Positioning with respect to the commercial Internet

The emergence of the Information Society is also having an impact on the research community. The Internet is no longer controlled by the researchers and it's continued evolution will require rethinking on the core telematics needs of the research community as opposed to the overall Internet user population which is now taking their own momentum. There is a need in the future to focus on priority issues which are specific to the research community and which are not already catered for by the overall Internet applications and services.

5.3 Identification of new challenges

More advantage shall be taken of the R&D community as pioneer of new and advanced telematics solutions and its role in the creation of the Information Society shall be confirmed.

New measures shall enhance synergies with other application sectors and user communities, and the creation of user fora organised according to research disciplines may be considered, as a means for future dissemination of project results and promotion of best practice.

Developments and demonstrations shall further focus on innovative application domains of research. Particular attention shall be given to domains showing the willingness and financial commitment to exploit the results, and providing critical mass to enable synergies within their discipline and beyond.

Projects supporting the introduction of competitive network service supply in support to application demonstrators shall be conceived. This shall contribute to the creation of the required support structures, and connectivity/capacity across multiple network service suppliers, with compatible Quality of Service arrangements and accounting Principles. Other projects may deploy 3D technology and virtual reality for their applications, or demonstrate the benefits of information caching and mirroring. New projects shall enable the migration to next generation Internet protocols (Ipng), commercial multicasting, and study the possibilities of Gigabit networking.

Active participation in the G7 Global Information Society GIBN initiative will be continued to help improve the global co-operation in this domain and to facilitate the continuous provision of adequate infrastructures to interconnect the world of research. With the same motivation, it is intended to continue the support to research networking in the CEE countries.

For the longer term visions preparation of the 5th Framework Programme are starting, where new initiatives supporting Telematics for Research should emerge.


6. Conclusions

It can safely be concluded through the overview provided and the examples mentioned that the research community is already playing and will continue to play a key role in the evolution of the Information Society and the associated telematics infrastructures.


The evolution of technology is very fast and the research community has the ability to continue to push the frontiers of the possible well in advance of the commercial markets, with significant downstream market creation effect.


The value of Telematics for Research to other sectors is evident and a strong synergy can be observed in particular in the areas of education and training and libraries. E.g. the higher education community has started to exploit the opportunities offered by recent developments in Telematics for Research to enhance the quality of education and to offer more cost-effective use of available educational resources across geographical barriers.


The Telematics for Research initiative will position itself with respect to the changing Internet landscape and will identify new priorities specific for the communities it is serving.


With its future initiatives, the Telematics for Research initiative will be working actively to promote an appropriate level of activities and funding in order to be comparable to competitor nations in the world-wide Information Society. This will be vital in order to meet the requirements of the European research and education community of the 21st century.


Further Information

Telematics for Research
Central Secretariat
DG XIII/C3
Rue la Loi 200
1049 Brussels, Belgium

Telephone: +32 2 296 8578
Fax: +32 2 299 4586

Electronic mail:

rtdn@dg13.cec.be

World-Wide-Web:

The Telematics for Research Homepage maintained by the SCIMITAR support project at http://www.scimitar.terena.nl/

The Telematics Applications Programme Homepage at http://www.echo.lu/telematics/telehome.html


Glossary

Application A system or service meeting User needs.

Area The TELEMATICS APPLICATIONS Programme consists of five Areas: (A) Telematics for Services of Public Interest, (B) Telematics for Knowledge, (C) Telematics for Improving Employment and Quality of Life, (D) Horizontal RTD Activities, and (E) Programme Support Actions.

Concertation The bringing together of projects in order to co-ordinate their work, exchange information and experiences and build consensus about the use of standards, non-technical co-operation and other aspects of telematics.

Concerted Action An activity designed to achieve information exchange and co-ordination between separate projects or groups of participants both within and outside the Programme.

Demonstration The second stage of the Validation process, involving an Application that has successfully passed the first Verification stage. Demonstration involves testing an application using a large sample of users, looking at aspects such as cost-effectiveness, ease of use, and environmental impact. Any fine-tuning of the technical aspects of the application can also be done at this stage. A successful demonstration opens the way to the potential full-scale deployment of the application.

Demonstrator A prototype application developed in a project for Validation purposes.

Diffusion or Dissemination Making information available to a wider audience about the work and outcome of a project with the aim of increasing the speed of uptake of its results.

Generic Service A service, such as electronic mail, that can be used for a multitude of purposes and adapted to the needs of a particular application.

Interoperability The ability of two or more given systems (devices, databases, networks or technologies) to interact with one another in accordance with a prescribed method.

Research Community The sector for Telematics for Research addresses European researchers and scientists in academia and industry. It refers to 'leading edge' users in research fields such as environmental science and climatology or physics, who have requirements for advanced telematics. Furthermore, it includes users of basic services, essentially providing access to research results.

Sector Each of the first four Areas of the TELEMATICS APPLICATIONS Programme - (A) Telematics for Services of Public Interest, (B) Telematics for Knowledge, (C) Telematics for Improving Employment and Quality of Life, (D) Horizontal RTD Activities - has one or more sectors, such as transport, education and training, libraries or healthcare, where a distinct set of needs, user groups and applications has been identified.

Specific Programme The Framework Programme is implemented through twenty Specific Programmes that carry out RTD in particular domains, such as Telematics Applications.

Support Actions Actions, such as studies, workshops, seminars, conferences, training of researchers and users, or publications that complement the work of the RTD projects. There are sector-specific support actions as well as programme support actions, with the latter grouped under Area E, the final chapter of this document.

Technology Transfer The acquisition and dissemination of technological and applications know-how, produced by the projects and transferred between consortium partners or beyond for broader dissemination.

Telematics The application of information and communications technologies and services, usually in direct combination.

Telematics Application See Application.

Telematics Infrastructure The assemblage of telecommunications and information-processing systems and services that offers a base for telematics applications.

User A person or organisation using a Telematics Application.

Validation Validation involves:

a verification stage, which uses a small but sufficient sample of users in a real-life situation to test the technical feasibility of the demonstrator and also yields preliminary findings on user acceptance, and

a demonstration stage, where a sufficiently large sample of users in a real-life situation provides information on cost-effectiveness, user-friendliness and similar issues, as well as testing the feasibility of the system when used on a large scale.

Overall, the Programme intends to devote a significant share (more than 50%) of the project budget to this validation phase.

Verification The first stage of Validation. Verification involves using a small sample of users, in a real-life situation, to verify whether an Application works from a technical point of view and to see if the users' requirements have been met. In the process, valuable preliminary information about the acceptability by users of the application will be gathered. Applications that pass this verification check move on to the second stage of validation, Demonstration.