Contribution to the European R&D roadmap for Cloud-to-Edge-to-IoT
Abilian responded to a call for expressions of interest from the European Commission, contributing its vision and expertise on the future of Cloud-to-Edge-to-IoT research and innovation.
The European Commission is supporting a new strategy on the next generation Cloud-to-Edge-to-IoT continuum with more intelligence and autonomy at the edge as part of Horizon Europe Cluster 4. R&I investments have been focused on establishing core technologies and emerging system concepts based on Cloud and Edge computing paradigms.
DG CONNECT has launched an expression of interest to help guide the Commission on future disruptive trends, radically new visions and emerging changes in Cloud-Edge-IoT research and help structure future R&I policy for the 2025-27 work programme.
The Cloud-Edge-IoT continuum is evolving rapidly, and the integration of new standards and technologies is driving the need for more intelligent and autonomous systems at the edge. Beyond 2025, the development of a Cloud-Edge cognitive computing continuum will be crucial to advance the automation and dynamic adaptation of resource management between IoT devices and Edge and Cloud architecture models. Identifying emerging trends and drivers of change is therefore key to shaping the future of European research and innovation programmes.
Two factors in particular motivate us as a European company whose business and R&D activities are founded on the values and principles of digital sovereignty and open source software:
Digital sovereignty** should play a key role in the development of a cloud-edge-IoT continuum in Europe, enabling our block to retain control over its digital infrastructure, services and data. This will ensure the protection of citizens' privacy and security, promote innovation and economic growth, and enable the development of new technologies and services tailored to the needs of the European market. By fostering a strong digital economy and supporting European start-ups and SMEs, digital sovereignty contributes to the overall economic prosperity of the region, while promoting control, security and innovation in the digital sphere, in line with European values.
Open source and open standards** play a crucial role in the development of the Cloud-Edge-IoT continuum as they offer many benefits, including promoting collaboration, accelerating adoption, ensuring interoperability and reducing costs. These open approaches can help create a more inclusive and collaborative ecosystem for developing innovative solutions that can benefit everyone. While the potential fragmentation of standards and securing the OSS supply chain can pose challenges, these can be overcome through collaboration, the development of widely adopted open standards, rigorous testing and validation, and the creation of companies, communities and organisations within the OSS ecosystem.
Currently, the Cloud-Edge-IoT continuum is undergoing a transformational shift towards hyper-distributed computing, leveraging automation techniques to optimise resource management across all devices and computing models. Software engineering challenges are also emerging as developers strive to manage the complexity of these distributed systems. Numerous standards and open source projects are vying for the attention of developers and the adoption of users.
Here are some of the research challenges we have identified at Abilian R&D Lab:
Interoperability: The cloud-edge-IoT continuum involves the integration of various devices, systems and platforms, which can pose interoperability challenges. Developing standard (open) protocols and interfaces for seamless communication and data exchange between these devices is a major challenge.
Security, privacy and data sovereignty** : The cloud-edge-IoT continuum involves the processing and transfer of sensitive personal, corporate or government data, which can make them vulnerable to cyber-attacks, and should remain under the control of their respective owners/custodians. It is therefore of the utmost importance to guarantee data security and confidentiality.
Intelligence at the edge**: As processing power is transferred to the edge, it is necessary to develop intelligent devices capable of performing complex calculations and making decisions in real time. The development of hardware, algorithms and models to enable intelligent decision-making at the edge is a major research challenge.
Efficiency**: Enabling efficient management and orchestration of resources across the continuum to enable dynamic adaptation and automation.
Scalability and heterogeneity**: the cloud-edge-IoT continuum involves a large number of different devices and systems, which can pose scalability problems. The development of scalable architectures, programming languages and platforms capable of adapting to the growing number of devices and systems and the heterogeneity of data formats and protocols is a major challenge.
Open standards and free software**: The development of open standards and open source platforms (software and hardware) for the cloud-to-touch-IoT continuum can help promote interoperability, innovation and competition, while ensuring digital sovereignty and privacy. The programme should also encourage the sharing of data and knowledge to advance research in this area, including the use of open data initiatives. The development of these platforms, standards and best practices is a major challenge for research in order to guarantee the security and reliability of systems.
Promote the use of the Open Cloud to enable collaboration, innovation and ownership in the development of the Cloud-Pointe-IoT continuum, and to accelerate the digital and ecological transitions through human-centric technologies and innovations:
Adaptation and customisation**: Supporting the development of applications and services tailored to the specific needs and requirements of different sectors and user segments.
User-friendliness and accessibility** : Developing user-friendly interfaces and experiences that enable users to interact easily with the system and access its capabilities is a major challenge. This means understanding users' needs and preferences and designing interfaces that are intuitive, attractive, accessible and adapted to users with diverse needs.
Trust and transparency**: As the cloud-edge-IoT continuum involves the processing and transfer of sensitive data, it is essential to guarantee trust and transparency in the system. Developing mechanisms that enable users (individuals or organisations) to understand how their data is being used, to control its use and to migrate it from one platform to another, is a major challenge.
Data portability**: The ability to move data between different systems or platforms, which is becoming increasingly important in the context of the Cloud-Edge-IoT continuum, and presents many challenges related to data and technology heterogeneity, security, interoperability, confidentiality, scalability and standardisation.
Ethical considerations** : The cloud-pointe-IoT continuum may pose ethical issues related to privacy, security and fairness. Developing ethical frameworks to guide the design and use of the system is a major challenge.
Personalisation**: Developing personalised experiences that meet the needs and preferences of each user requires leveraging data and AI to gain insights into user behaviour and preferences, and tailoring experiences accordingly.
Co-creation: Involving users and stakeholders in the design and development process requires the development of participatory design processes that allow users to provide information and feedback on the system and contribute to its development.
➔ Our full response in English PDF, 4 pages.