The international race to invent the future of the Internet is well under way. Europe can build on its strong technological capability to position itself in the new world Internet order. Society is undergoing a paradigm shift, the evolution of the society and the Internet being now tightly interconnected. With over 1.5 billion users worldwide, the current Internet is a great success in terms of connecting people and communities and increasingly forms the support for the functioning of both economy and society. Daily life increasingly relies on the Internet in the developed world and is bringing economic development of emerging economies.
However, today's Internet was designed in the 1970s to support communication between computing systems for communities of technically expert users. The paradigm shift in society and the opportunities enabled by new technological advances in devices, place completely new requirements on the evolution of today's Internet. Future Internet will enable a multitude of new application sectors leading to the development of new markets.
Considerable effort has already been devoted to defining options and concepts which could form the basis of Future Internet to support a sustainable society. The dimensions of the Internet by and for People, the Internet of Contents, the Internet of Services and the Internet of Things supported by Network Infrastructure will form the Future Internet. European organizations, can if given the right opportunity, significantly contribute to the shaping of the Future Internet, by building notably on the strongholds of Europe as well as on a long tradition in R&D collaboration. Such a collaborative effort can bring about a greater effectiveness on R&D spending while spurring innovation and hence contributing to the Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs. Recent turmoil in the financial markets has changed the context of R&D investment for the coming decade. The potential shortage of investment finance is driving a new level of focus on return for investment. Europe must invest now to simply be at the competition edge in the coming years.