Opportunities and Challenges in the Digital Economy: an Agenda for the Next-generation Internet

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Dept of Computing


We propose a Research Cluster to explore the opportunities and challenges of the Digital Economy. The Internet is driving many powerful convergences in media, devices and infrastructure provision. These convergences hold the promise that the next-generation Internet could be a very powerful and universal platform where a great deal of economic and social activity could take place. Given the universal nature of the Internet this platform would break down the traditional distinctions between, say business and the general public, and anyone from any sector could be a provider or a user of these services.If properly realised the benefits from these developments could be considerable. However, they will not happen automatically, there are many issues that need to be tackled before they can be fully achieved. Given the nature of the Internet these issues are as much economic, social, legal and regulatory as they are technical and, critically, these issues have been tackled together to provide an holistic and complete solution.We have assembled a multi-disciplinary consortium that includes talented and experienced research workers in all the fields necessary to address these issues and have established relationships with major stakeholders in the next-generation Internet. The Cluster is led by Imperial College, the University of Oxford and the University of Southampton. The Research Cluster would conduct an open investigation to identify the topics that need to be addressed and produce a roadmap or research and development agenda to tackle them. The Cluster proposes to hold two open workshops at the beginning and end of the one year study to involve the community as much as possible and to create expert Working Groups to address the critical issues. All these deliberations will be conducted in an open manner using Web 2.0 community networking techniques.The outputs of these deliberations will a programme of linked actions to drive forward the development of the Digital Economy. These will comprise multi-disciplinary research programmes, commercial exploitations, social or legal actions or regulatory recommendations. The Reserch Cluster will also be used to identify the coalitions, again both research and commercial, best suited to take forward these proposals.


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