2nd CI-FIRE Industry Workshop, 24 March 2015, Brussels

Takeaways from the 2nd CI-FIRE Industry Workshop Future Internet Testing – Opportunities for European Businesses, 24 March 2015

Workshop hosts: CI-FIRE, FUSION, FanTaaStic Broker Service of EIT ICT Labs, AmpliFIRE

VenueThe Studio at the Egg in Brussels

PRESENTATIONS: FIRE Community Workshop and 2nd Industry Workshop | Profiles of experts (Chairs, speakers & panellists) | Insights - a collection of interviews and position papers for the workshop

Large-scale experimental deployments and test solutions are becoming increasingly important also to address security risks of IoT. World-class European test bed services offer companies the support they need so they can test, not guess, the added value of new products and services before taking them to market. This is the best way to make sure only the right products get to market, quickly and effectively.

The main focus of the 2nd CI-FIRE Industry Workshop was on the business case for software and hardware testing before taking new future internet products and services to market. The Workshop brought together representatives from Europe's FIRE initiative (Future Internet Research and Experimentation), innovative businesses and experts from both small business associations and the Internet of Things. Insights is a special publication for the workshop featuring interviews and position papers on user stories, emerging trends, test services and open call opportunities. 

Staying ahead of the curve
The future internet offers lots of new ways for businesses to be innovative and competitive in their respective markets. New advanced capabilities mean companies are now able to deliver more personalised applications, products and services. New revenue streams created by future internet technologies are opening the door to market innovations in ways just not possible a decade ago. Leading ICT companies are also looking to savvy SMEs to boost their innovation and offer important incentives for their R&D projects on IoT, cloud and big data. Businesses that don’t embrace the opportunity will struggle to survive as their competitors disrupt the market.

Testing the future today
The workshop featured several cutting-edge test bed services covering a range of technologies, from wireless networks and software defined networking to cloud computing and IoT, alongside innovative educational services capturing the market for massive online courses (MOOCS). SmartFIRE offered international perspectives, showing how leading European organisations are breaking new ground by sharing know-how with partners from South Korea. 

The presentations and discussions highlighted the importance of using test beds to test and validate new products and services for the future internet before taking them to market. It also showcased the FanTaaStic Broker Service of the EIT ICT Labs as a way of helping to sustain test beds and capitalising on FIRE resources, expertise and federations. FanTaaStic supports the business innovation life cycle at every stage so businesses don't waste time developing something that won't work. CI-FIRE presented its business innovation framework designed to help FIRE test facility owners create new services with added value in the marketplace.
Business User Showcase

Businesses, large and small, have already benefitted from using FIRE test facilities but have received little attention at related venues. CI-FIRE invited two SMEs to come long and highlight the benefits from their point of view. Advantages include access to expertise and resources that most small firms simply can't afford. Support from FIRE now means that Routek, a Spanish SME, is now commercising new, cost-efficient devices while IN2, a UK-based SME, has developed a new digital service having also tested it for scalability. 

Panels on Market Perspectives and Business Opportunities for small businesses

Giogio Micheletti from IDC offered interesting insights into market trends in the shift towards "smart environments" that cross several traditional vertical markets enabled by cloud, IoT and big data analytics. Mirko Presser, chairman of the IoT Forum, highlighted the increasing importance of testing close to the users in the IoT domain. He also invited the FIRE community to gain a better understanding of user needs as key to bridging the gap between cutting-edge research and the market. Fabrizio Davide from the CROSS project showed how FIRE is helping to deliver new services for the most vulnerable members of society through a Multi Service Platform that is bringing socially sustainable innovations.

Serafim Kotrotsos, co-founder of start-up Incelligent showcased the firm's innovative solution for smart networks as a potential user of FIRE. Raph Crouan from Startupbootcamp IoT explained new business opportunities that new trends are bringing, offering advice on improving user experience and support. Ronan Breen from the European Business and Innovation Network highlighted the need for flexibility when dealing with SMEs so the support and testing services better fit their specific needs. Fenareti Lampathaki offered perspectives on fostering digital innovation in the enterprise by offering practical guides on funding and market opportunities.

Co-location with Net Futures
Co-location with Net Futures 2015 Conference and Exhibition, 25-26 March, offered additional opportunities to showcase FIRE success stories and facilitate interaction between FIRE test facilities and SMEs via the FIRE stand by identifying concrete opportunities, matching news with test services and offering businesses practical tips on how to get started.