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Social Network (SN) environments are the ideal future service marketplaces. It is well known and documented that SN users are increasing at a tremendous pace. Web 2.0 and SN Sites (SNS) have attracted more than 125 million regular users within just 5 years of existence. The number of the potential customers is huge, coming from almost every societal class, cultural background, and age. The requirements are: a computer, a browser, network access, and the natural need for socializing. The latter results in a great number of SN service consumers who, through their interactions, create complex social graphs that are valuable to them.
Taking advantage of these social dynamics as well as the vast volumes of amateur content generated every second, is a major step towards creating a potentially huge market of services. Application developers can be anyone from an individual home user who plays around with Facebook, to a company exploiting the SN spaces to deliver its services. Providing developers with cross-platform tools that enable them to manage the dynamically generated content and complex social interactions by allowing them to build, deploy and potentially sell services that combine data and functionality from two or more different SN services disregarding the underlying SN implementation, will create an agile and profitable market of services and will bring the Internet of Services concept a step closer to realization.
A study launched by the European Commission[i] on user-created content (UCC) revealed the true potential and dynamics of the social graph and of content as well as indicated an opportunity for Europe. Exploiting this opportunity the SocIoS outcomes are expected to be consumed primarily by the SN users, where Europe holds a leading and active role, rather than by the SN sites which are dominated by the US stakeholders. The SocIoS framework will provide an alternative for service provision and consumption in the SN space adding a European perspective and alternative.
[i]i2010 EU Study on “User-Created-Content: Supporting a participative Information Society”. A part of this study: “Europe's growing army of bloggers and SNers can generate new services and growth, says study”, is available from: http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/newsroom/cf/itemdetail.cfm?item_.... The full study including an executive summary is available from: http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/eeurope/i2010/studies/index_en.htm