NetFutures is the main event for EU research and innovation under DG Connect and had over 1,000 attendees this year. The main event was opened by Commissioner Guenther H. Oettinger, followed by Arnis Daugulis, Deputy Secretary of State for Latvia and Sara Mazur, Vice President and Head of Research, Ericsson. During this opening session the official documentation launching the Alliance on Internet of Things Innovation (AIoTI), a high profile EU industrial initiative, was signed by the Commissioner and board members of Bosch, Philips and Sigfox.
Other Keynotes at the event included David del Val Latorre, President and CEO Telefonica Research and Development, Matt Brittin, Vice President, Google UK, Robert Madelin, Director General DG CONNECT, Carlo Ratti, Director of the Senseable City Lab MIT and Mario Campolargo, Director Net Futures, DG CONNECT.
FORGE was heavily involved in the event. The FORGE methodology and infrastructure for supporting educational ecosystems around Future Internet Research and Experimentation (FIRE) facilities was presented in two preceding workshops. We were also present in an invitation only FIRE/GEANT meeting. GEANT is the pan-European research and education network that interconnects Europe’s National Research and Education Networks (NRENs), connecting over 50 million users at 10,000 institutions across Europe and operating at speeds of up to 500Gbps. During the FIRE Board meeting a FIRE Steering Group was established to oversee, generate and execute a plan for the long term sustainability of FIRE facilities and testbeds. John Domingue was seconded to this body due to his expertise associated with educational ecosystems and setting up and leading networking research institutions.
One of the highlights of the conference was the Perfect Pitch Panel where eight projects each selected by the head of their home unit competed against each other in terms of market readiness and take-up and overall economic and societal impact. Within this session John Domingue gave a live demo of the FORGE iBook including the on-the-fly creation of a simulated internet on a shared area running on a KMi server and setting up and running internet experiments on iMinds w-iLab.t test facility running in Ghent. The first demo is part of a collaboration between FORGE and Cisco where we are extending their Packet Tracer software which is used to train over 1 million network engineers globally each year. To keep the crowd entertained (the event ran from 5-7pm) a live band played during the breaks and a live cartoonist was employed (see figure). We were very happy to have been officially awarded the ‘Hottest Pitch’ prize which was presented by Mario Campolargo, the Net Futures Director.
All in all it was a really great week – watch this space for more updates on FORGE results!