The ongoing Internet (r)evolution has changed traditional business and forces it to reinvent itself. Traditional operator-enabled services are losing on their importance due to a variety of new communication services, like chat and social networks, which complement or supersede traditional ones like voice telephony. Technical progress has minimized the need for access-controlled communication services and is moving instead to context based communication, which is presumably available at only marginal or no additional cost.
The main goal of the reTHINK project is to design and prototype a new, non telecom centric, but Web-centric P2P Service Architecture enabling dynamic trusted relationships among distributed applications called Hyperlinked Entities (“Hyperties”) that support use-cases beyond commoditized telephony such as contextual and social communications, M2M/IoT and content oriented services. This project will enable any type of service delivery through specialized end-to-end network quality commitments, powered by specialized P2P and/or Cloud services (delivered as SaaS, PaaS or IaaS).
The major structural difference between the operators approach and the web companies is related to a recurring concept in the deployment of ICT solutions: full deperimeterisation of services. Operators today cannot directly compete at a global level because their services are not and cannot be provided outside of the deployed and owned network. The services operators provide are tightly coupled with the network’s functionalities and its geographical extension. They however offer a very weak kind of deperimeterisation deriving from their secure and interoperable environment with trusted identities strongly supported by international standards and regulations. Operators may indeed offer to their customers a global and worldwide access to the network with a very limited set of services thanks to roaming agreements. It is worth noting that this last point also appears as the main weakness of the actual web companies where most of their deployed services produce silos of users authorizing only intra-domain interoperability with weakly trusted identities (most often) based on a valid email addresses.
The reTHINK project can play a crucial role in setting up an architecture that will ultimately allow operators to provide deperimetrised services and compete with large web companies. The reTHINK architecture will also provide extensible APIs designed for service developers, and will be based on secured, certified and portable identities. It will be demonstrated through an Open Source prototype that will ensure its ability to be deployed in the medium term, as well as its compliance with the more relevant use-cases. This prototype will be open to innovative parties so that its extensibility will be proven.