The goal of iNEM4U is to overcome the above problems by means of an open service infrastructure that enables applications to seamlessly combine multimedia content and value-added services from different providers in different technology domains into one integrated multimedia experience (cf. Figure 1). These experiences will be much richer than today’s multimedia experiences because applications have a much wider range of media and services at their disposal and can mix and match them in a way that best fits their purpose. The iNEM4U service infrastructure enables applications to mix content and services from “Web 2.0” providers (Internet domain), end-users (consumer electronics domain), mobile operators (telecoms domain), and IPTV providers (broadcasting domain). An example is an application that combines high quality content from the world of IPTV with community and interactivity services from the Web.
iNEM4U focuses on multimedia experiences in which groups of people consume, share, and interact with multimedia content and also communicate with each other about that content (e.g., a group of people interested in wild-life documentaries). While such experiences are typically very personal, the integrated nature of iNEM4U experiences may ultimately lead to people at remote locations actually sharing a similar experience. This will for instance increase the feeling of “connectedness” with other people or the perception of “involvement” in a particular shared experience, which are crucial factors in many application areas (e.g., in entertainment).
The other goal of iNEM4U is to investigate the business implications of having a cross-domain service infrastructure, which for instance makes it easer for players in one technology domain to make their content and services available to consumers in another technology domain.
The main result of iNEM4U is the cross-domain service infrastructure, which consists of a number of service enablers. The iNEM4U enablers are software components that provide cross-domain support functions through well-defined interfaces and enable applications to provide integrated multimedia experiences. The iNEM4U service enablers make use of existing domain-specific services and leverage existing standards and technologies in these domains. The service enablers can be used by developers to easily build interactive cross-domain applications, but can also be offered as services by service providers. Table 1 provides an overview of the iNEM4U enablers. The project will prototype the enablers and will also build an attractive application that illustrates their use.
Another major result of the project consists of a few “blueprints” of viable business models for integrated multimedia experiences. The prime reason for carrying out this type of work is that the iNEM4U service infrastructure will make it possible to build new value networks and offer new types of multimedia services. The stakeholders in an iNEM4U value network may be new ones but can also be existing service providers that make their services and content available for integration in other service offerings. For example, a telecom operator could make its IMS-based billing services available to third party service providers on the Web so that they can bill their customers through their phone bill. Similarly, a new entrant could combine an IMS presence service, professional content from an IPTV operator, and user-generated content from the Web into a single new service. Besides new multimedia services, the new value networks may also result in also revenue streams across or shared between domains, which in turn may enable domain-specific stakeholders to extend their reach into new markets (technology domains). This work will take existing domain-specific and cross-domain business models into account.