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Convergence proposes the enhancement of the Internet with a novel, content-centric, publish–subscribe service model based on the versatile digital item (VDI): a common container for all kinds of digital content, including digital representations of real-world resources. VDIs will serve the needs of the future Internet, providing a homogeneous method for handling structured information, incorporating security and privacy mechanisms. CONVERGENCE subsumes the following areas of research:

· definition of the VDI as a new fundamental unit of distribution and transaction;

· content-centric networking functionality to complement or replace IP-address-based routing;

· security and privacy protection mechanisms;

· open-source middleware, including a community dictionary service to enable rich semantic searches;

· applications, tested under real-life conditions.

This book shows how CONVERGENCE allows publishing, searching and subscribing to any content. Creators can publish their content by wrapping it and its descriptions into a VDI, setting rights for other users to access this content, monitor its use, and communicate with people using it; they may even update or revoke content previously published. Access to content is more efficient, as search engines exploit VDI metadata for indexing, and the network uses the content name to ensure users always access the copy closest to them. Every node in the network is a content cache; handover is easy; multicast is natural; peer-to-peer is built-in; time/space-decoupling is possible. Application developers can exploit CONVERGENCE’s middleware and network without having to resort to proprietary/ad hoc solutions for common/supporting functionality. Operators can use the network more efficiently, better controlling information transfer and related revenues flows. Network design, operation and management are simplified by integrating diverse functions and avoiding patches and stopgap solutions.

Whether as a text for graduate students working on the future of the Internet, or a resource for practitioners providing e-commerce or multimedia services, or scientists defining new technologies, CONVERGENCE will make a valuable contribution to the future shape of the Internet.



Chapter 1. Approaches for the Development of Information Centric Networks

The new generation of applications is following the trend of user-centricity where users are not seen just as consumers, but are active participants, sometimes being the application itself. Likewise, the trend of content or information-centricity is already being adopted, where content and no longer location is being the main driver of network-based operations, more specifically of routing operations. This chapter analyzes the main limitations of current Internet architecture to support such trends and consequently provides an overview of the emergent Information-centric Networking (ICN) paradigm, addressing design principles, evolution scenarios and potentialities. Furthermore, the main research initiatives conducted in the last years concerning the ICN paradigm are presented and discussed.
Fernando Almeida, Teresa Andrade, Nicola Blefari Melazzi, Richard Walker, Heinrich Hussmann, Iakovos S. Venieris

Chapter 2. CONVERGENCE Architecture a Concise Overview

Conceived as a network of Hosts, the Internet is evolving into a network of content and services. To meet new demands associated with this evolution, CONVERGENCE proposes a novel content-centric architecture, supporting a publish-subscribe paradigm for this enhanced Internet. The strategic goal of the project is to design, test and refine this framework using one or more available experimental facilities. This chapter starts by providing a description of the major concepts and challenges that guided the conception and design of the CONVERGENCE architecture. It then describes, with some level of detail, the devised solution, in terms of its components, corresponding high-level functionality and hierarchy. It concludes by illustrating how such architectural components can be used, with the presentation of concrete deployment scenarios.
Maria Teresa Andrade, Nicola Blefari Melazzi, Charalampos Patrikakis, Richard Walker

Chapter 3. The Network Level (CONET)

CONET (Convergence Network) is the network-layer of the CONVERGENCE project. It is an Information Centric Network, which extends the CCNx one in several aspects, including routing scalability, transport mechanisms, security handling, integration with IP, etc. This section describes services and functionalities of CONET and reports some performance evaluations, carried out through laboratory and PlanetLab test-beds.
Andrea Detti, Stefano Salsano, Nicola Blefari Melazzi

Chapter 4. The Content Level (CoMid)

This chapter provides the description of the overall architecture of the content level of convergence: the CONVERGENCE Middleware (CoMid). The chapter starts with the presentation of the MPEG-M standard, which provides the foundations for CoMid, then proceeding with a complete description of this architectural level. The key components of the Content level comprise a diversified set of middleware engines to manipulate Versatile Digital Items (VDIs), a Community Dictionary Service (CDS) and a Semantic Overlay. The set of middleware engines were partially borrowed and/or adapted from MPEG-M and partially designed and developed from scratch within CONVERGENCE, adopting the same design principles. The CDS and the Semantic Overlay, newly designed and developed by CONVERGENCE, when used together with the middleware engines, enable the semantic, content-based, publish-subscribe functionality of the platform.
Angelos-Christos G. Anadiotis, Aziz S. Mousas, Angelo Difino, Charalampos Z. Patrikakis

Chapter 5. The Versatile Digital Item

This chapter provides the definition of the Versatile Digital Item, the basic unit for data distribution used within the CONVERGENCE system. It explains how the VDI builds on, and extends the scope, of the MPEG-21 Digital Item to build a self-contained data package that can be used to encapsulate any kind of digital information in an information-centric, publish-subscribe framework. This chapter details some of the most relevant aspects pertaining to the structure of the VDI, its identification, its connection into sequences, and its logical interweaving into a fabric of inter-VDI relationships. It also explores some implications of the above aspects on the system’s operations.
Helder Castro, Angelo Difino, Giuseppe Tropea, Nicola Blefari Melazzi

Chapter 6. The CONVERGENCE Security Infrastructure

This chapter describes the Convergence security infrastructure. The core component for Convergence Security (CoSec) has a distributed architecture. It encompasses subcomponents on different computing platforms such as client computers and smart cards, application servers and peers. An essential feature of Co-Sec is the use of smart cards as a secure token. This Convergence token provides sensitive security functions on a tamper-resistant device. The chapter first introduces the concepts and the architecture of the security infrastructure. Based on a description of the basic cryptographic primitives, as well as of the advanced cryptographic schemes applied by the project, we describe the high-level security functions provided for the Convergence middleware and network layer.
Thomas Huebner, Andreas Kohlos, Amit Shrestha, Carsten Rust

Chapter 7. The Adoption of Rights Expression Language in CONVERGENCE

This chapter describes CONVERGENCE’s licensing scheme and its governance, based on the MPEG-21 part 5 standard and on the specific content protection and rights management requirements, identified in the CONVERGENCE use scenarios. In the digital media value chain, Rights Expression Languages (RELs) are used to enable controlled access to digital resources, addressing several different issues from the description of licenses to access and usage control, payments, etc. A REL is an essential component of any security infrastructure supporting differentiated controlled access to digital resources, and providing adequate protection of intellectual property rights. Among these, the project has selected the MPEG-21 part 5 open standard, which can be implemented in XML, and is one of the main current contenders for a general-purpose REL. Our scheme is designed in the light of CONVERGENCE’s ability to distribute and manage any kind of digital resource in a large distributed environment, and this chapter explains how REL data is embedded into the CONVERGENCE data unit, the Versatile Digital Item (VDI) and introduces a basic set of security features, based on digital certificates, for the enforcement of the rights and conditions expressed in CONVERGENCE licenses.
Giuseppe Tropea, Giuseppe Bianchi, Nicola Blefari Melazzi, Helder Castro, Leonardo Chiariglione, Angelo Difino, Thomas Huebner, Angelos Christos-Anadiotis, Aziz Mousas

Chapter 8. Scenarios and Applications for CONVERGENCE

This chapter provides a technical overview and description of the four use cases and their corresponding applications that were developed in the framework of CONVERGENCE Project: Photos in the Cloud and Analyses on the Earth (under the responsibility of partner Alinari), Videos in the Cloud and Analyses on the Earth (under the responsibility of partner FMSH), Augmented Lecture Podcast (under the responsibility of partner LMU) and Smart Retailing (under the responsibility of partners WIPRO and UTI). Each subsection begins with a brief description of the considered use case, where the advantages of CONVERGENCE over current TCP/IP implementations are highlighted. The analysis goes on with the functional description of applications, alongside some implementation details and requirements. In the final sections of the chapter, the basic CONVERGENCE tools are described along with additional proposals for further exploitation of the considered use cases. The implementation of tools and applications was based on: (1) the functional requirements of use cases specified in CONVERGENCE Project Deliverable D.2.2; (2) the definition of the Versatile Digital Item (VDI) described in Chap.​ 5 and specified in CONVERGENCE Project Deliverable D.4.1; and (3) the CONVERGENCE middleware protocols and technology engines described in Chap.​ 4 and fully specified in CONVERGENCE Project Deliverables D.5.3 and D6.3. Moreover, the impact of CONVERGENCE to the end users who evaluated all developed applications is highlighted as well.
Panagiotis Gkonis, Heinrich Hussmann, Alina Hang, Evgeniya Ivanova, Sam Habibi Minelli, Daniel Sequeira, Ileana-Catinca Bobric, Mihai Tanase, Valérie Legrand-Galarza, Francis Lemaitre

Chapter 9. Business Models and Exploitation

This chapter provides the CONVERGENCE business Models for the commercial and non-commercial exploitation of CONVERGENCE applications and technology. The chapter collects the studies of feasibility and implications of alternative exploitation strategies. We identified competing products and services, and evidenced the market risks and threats.
Sam Habibi Minelli, Andrea de Polo, Giuseppe Tropea, Panagiotis Gkonis, Alina Hang, Mihai Tanase, Daniel Sequeira, Francis Lemaitre, Riccardo Chiariglione

Chapter 10. Conclusions and Future Research Topics

The final outcome of the CONVERGENCE project is the full specification and an Open Source implementation of the CONVERGENCE system, which comprises the CONVERGENCE network and middleware levels, as well as a set of prototype applications demonstrating the functionality of the network and middleware in different business scenarios.
Nicola Blefari Melazzi, Teresa Andrade, Richard Walker, Leonardo Chiariglione, Iakovos S. Venieris, Heinrich Hussmann


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