Information and Communication Technologies are critical to Europe’s
future. Half of the productivity gains in our economies are explained by the impact of ICT on
products, services and business processes. ICT is the leading factor in boosting innovation and
creativity and in mastering change in value chains across industry and service sectors. ICT is
essential to meet the rise in demand for health and social care and to modernise services in domains
of public interest such as education, learning, security, energy, transport and the environment.
The escalating economic and societal demands, together with the
continued mainstreaming of ICT in a networked economy, raises new challenges which require the
technology limits to be further pushed. At the same time user expectations are changing, with
technology needing to be brought closer to people and organisational needs. It is becoming imperative
to hide technology complexity and reveal functionality on demand, making it very simple to use,
available and affordable, while providing solutions and services that are trusted, reliable, and
adaptable to the users’ context and preferences.
Convergence and interoperability at network, device, service and media
level are key requirements that must be met, so as to enable the provision of end-to-end services at
minimal operational and capital expenditures. Service providers are increasingly being called upon to
develop innovative tools that enable radically simplified service creation and delivery. Well
packaged, easy to use services that can be carried by the subscriber across multiple environments are
key, with simplicity and value being the decision points for subscribers and the critical success
factors for revenue growth. Ensuring the management of converged services and networks with the
expected scale and scope, will require radically new approaches.
This effective progressive shift from "convergence" to "user-centricity",
changes the classical model from a view of killer applications delivered over a variety of
independent infrastructures to one that embraces the demand for a customized user experience across
multiple devices, networks and applications. It is no longer about a few actors in the value chain
but rather about entirely new value chains with novel actors and roles. It is also no longer about
"mobile services" but rather about seamless services that are delivered by an intelligent network
that is context and device aware. Mobility has morphed into an interconnected world where people
seamlessly slip into their personal and professional lives, with almost no borders. All services need
to be equally seamless … available everywhere and all the time.
Information explosion and device proliferation will impose new
approaches to the design and management of an interconnected information infrastructure where all
devices communicate with and understand one another and where the right digital eco-system is created
for the agile enterprise. Pervasive connectivity will however increase vulnerability and privacy
concerns, requiring radically new software solutions, the establishment of “trusted” devices, servers
and gateways so as to accommodate a dynamic network infrastructure and provide end-to-end security,
while containing the damage caused to businesses by malware.
Removing social, geographical, economic and capacity impediments
through the provision of cost effective infrastructures, offering capacity on demand and allowing
an "Always on" network existence, are key requirements. Beyond providing for the
connectivity of humans, significant efforts must be devoted to the deep networking of a myriad of
small, inexpensive, low-powered tags, sensors and actuators, embedded into the physical environment,
interacting and forming wired and wireless networks able to communicate, adapt, act, respond, and
coordinate high-level tasks. Governance issues of such deep networks will be at the center stage.
In such a context, the multifaceted key mission of the EU funded R&D in
ICT, as it is being currently elaborated, is to ensure smooth technological transitions, to
anticipate the likely technological disruptions, to nurture technological development and innovation,
to create the right synergies between key stake-holders, to establish the conditions for new value
chain actors to emerge, to set the right collaborative standards, to stimulate innovative usages, in
essence to shed light into the new world markets and create opportunities that will permit Europe its
enterprises and creators to shape and master the future ICT world landscape.
Mobile phones and other small and powerful portable devices have revolutionized
personal communication and affected the lifestyles of the people in the industrialized world. Following
credible estimates, in a few years there will over two - billions of such portable devices in use.
An emerging trend is the electronic commerce performed using mobile terminals over wireless networks,
often called mobile commerce or M-commerce. Mobile commerce environments are characterized by high
complexity, including myriads of technical and organizational aspects. This property makes it
difficult to distinguish the more fundamental issues, structures, and concepts in mobile commerce
from the hype. To capture the fundamental aspects and objects of mobile commerce environments,
we have developed a model. It covers fundamental structures and persistent entities of the M-commerce
environment, as well as their relationships. Rather than providing technical details of M-commerce
environments, our aim is to model invariant properties that will evidently persist for years to come.
Making use of the abstraction capabilities provided by the object-oriented approach, the model is
represented by OO structure diagrams.
Structurally, we distinguish four spheres of concern: Regulatory
Frameworks, Business Models, Enabling Technologies, and the Global Infrastructure. These are
dependent on each other, but have a relative independence and development logic that is different in
each sphere of concern. In addition, the development logic is different in different regions of the
world. The leading Regulatory Areas are currently Far-East (Japan, South Korea), Europe (European
Union), and USA. These are analyzed in the light of a few examples.