Future Internet Platform

Our Future Internet (FI) platform provides access to the University’s ‘smart campus’ infrastructure, as an innovative playground to both industry and academia partners, in order to facilitate rapid application development, prototyping, deployment and testing of 'internet of things' services and applications.

The FI platform thus forms part of the ‘smart campus’ infrastructure upon which we can mount both research demonstrations and host industrial participation. The infrastructure consists of a number of sensors positioned around the campus and connected back into a cloud computing environment and high-speed core network that allows physical and remote access to users via the Internet, academic networks (JANET/GEANT) and public testbed platforms such as PLanetLab. This infrastructure fits well to the idea of 'internet of things' playgrounds’ for SME’s to experiment with various application scenarios. Our Future Internet platform is made up of two main activities as described below.

Smart Campus Infrastructure

The Smart-Campus project is based on an EU project SMART Santander and an EPSRC Digital Economy project, REDUCE, on people and energy reduction. The aim is to create an inter-disciplinary experimental environment for future IoT enabled smart spaces here called the Smart-Campus. Smart spaces are environments that are enhanced by IoT technology providing machine perception of and interaction capabilities with the real world.

On top of this infrastructure a large variety of highly innovative computer based services can be realised with the objective of enriching staff/student experiences in a physical environment, improving the efficiency of organisational processes and enhancing the quality of life of staff and students across the campus. In this respect the campus represents a small community and models larger ecosystems such as cities. This allows experimentation on new innovative richer and environmentally friendly services involving for example context and energy saving.

The Smart-Campus facility has the following main objectives:

  • Serving as an experimental research facility for the 'internet of things', in order to ensure the competitiveness of our research and the University in this emerging high impact research field. This will form a basis for high quality research outcomes that are increasingly required to be based on real-life experimentation and offer a unique research environment to attract further industrial collaboration and future research income
  • Enabling a real-life smart environment that allows student and staff at University to directly benefit from the demonstrators and outcomes of innovative research in this area. It will allow the realisation of a variety of smarter services and applications, improving the quality of University services and staff and student experience across the University campus in areas in which they are introduced, while contributing to a more sustainable University organisation
  • Providing an ecosystem for innovation and the organic growth of research demonstrators, providing a foundation of continuous knowledge transfer of research result to commercialisation. By re-using promising individual demonstrators of innovation as building blocks, more powerful solutions can be demonstrated over time, leading to improved visibility and increased industrial exploitation of the individual innovations.

The Smart-Campus infrastructure not only provides for technological innovation but is a stage to provide exciting opportunities for interdisciplinary research using the community across the University and outside.

FI-platform Infrastructure

The main objective of the FI platform is to provide both physical and remote converged access to the University’s smart campus infrastructure. Some of the characteristics of the FI-platform are highlighted below:

Open, Standardised, Modular, Extensible and Scalable

  • Physically and remotely accessible industrial and academic partners
  • Support future research
  • Pluggable Internet Platform
  • Showcase the activities at ICS
  • Aid in the bid of other research projects.

Industrial use of the demonstrator

The smart campus IoT playground supported by the FI platform forms the demonstrator for access by industrial partners. Such a system together with its built in community of users would not otherwise be available to industry. It can be easily accessed either by physically installing customised sensors in the network or updating those already in existence. It will also be possible to set up a sub network and configure it remotely. Applications for academic and industrial partners include but are not limited to the following:

  • An opportunity to participate and to be kept abreast in the research of Future Networks while having access to early trials of new concepts and technologies
  • Sandbox type testing of new services and applications
  • On-site and Off-site, affordable access to the latest and state-of-the-art technologies
  • The ability to carry out interoperability tests with multiple vendors in their own time
  • Access to a  live network and community of users to simulate real-life scenarios
  • Access to the expert knowledge base provided by the university
  • Access to standardisation information and implementations before they are commercialised.

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Institute for Communication Systems
James Clerk Maxwell building
University of Surrey