by Crystal Sharp
aking as its theme ‘I’s to the Future: Invention, The Seventh European Framework Programme (FP7) has
Innovation, Impact, the 2008 ICT (Information and made the Future Internet theme core to European Union (EU)
Communication Technology) conference attracted funding for ICT. About €600 million (about $811 million U.S.)
more than 4,000 delegates to Lyon, France, in late November will be devoted specifically to the theme in 2009–2010, making
(http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/events/ this the single largest research program in this field worldwide.
ict/2008/index_en.htm). This important forum, held bien- The funds will finance collaborative projects, bringing together
nially, showcases European research and presents opportu- industry and academia from all over Europe and beyond.
nities for discussing and debating public policy priorities Industry will be adding more than €400 million (about $540 mil-
and for learning about European funding for ICT research. lion U.S.) in the next 2 years to these projects, bringing the total
Leading policymakers and visionaries from academia and sum to about €1 billion (about $1.35 billion U.S.) for 2009–2010.
industry discussed the challenges to sustaining European The ICT conference recognized the internet’s evolution
competitiveness within a rapidly evolving technological into an aggregator of new technologies and a networking
environment. vehicle for myriad connective devices (mobile devices, sen-
Exhibits presented the results of more than 100 ICT proj- sors, and radio frequency tagging), social networks, and
ects, including extremely innovative collaborative projects wireless services. This challenges society to develop a new
for health data grids; smart-home intelligent control, mon- essential infrastructure capable of providing high band-
itoring, and metering systems; assistive technologies to width capacity, higher computing performance, private and
enable older persons to remain active in their communities; secure data storage, and communication and interoperabil-
semantic search technologies, and more (http://ec.europa ity between multiple and different devices.
.eu/information_society/events/ict/2008/exhibition/index Simultaneously, innovative ICT applications critical to
_en.htm). All student reporters received a Zpen, which the well-being of humankind (energy, transportation,
writes on any paper and converts handwritten text to digi- health, and digital libraries) are being developed and deliv-
tal content that can then be downloaded to a computer. I ered via the internet, widening social, economic, and pro-
wish I had one of those! ductivity boundaries and creating new value chains.
THREE MAIN PRINCIPLES Networks of the future: Autonomous and spontaneous
In her opening remarks, Viviane paradigms will be key features of the networks of the future.
Reding, European Commissioner Spontaneous and opportunistic networks such as wireless
for Information Society and Media, sensor networks, ad hoc networks, and smart communicat-
advocated three main principles ing object networks will provide optimum service and con-
that should be the basis for policies nectivity to end users; autonomous networking schemes
to ensure that Europe better har- will be used as a means to control the increasing complex-
nesses the pote