The platform is designed to take advantage of the architecture of the Internet by being a microcosm of it but localised where organisation of the network is in terms of smaller geographical region (rather than the more generalised domains of the larger Internet). This provides various benefits:
Localised by region
The network structure is logically based around geographical regions. In a similar way to many UK based websites having a Top-Level Domain of .org.uk or .co.uk or .uk, the Spring network is broken down to smaller and smaller regions, for example East Sussex is represented by the URI esusx.uk, our organisation is located at the URI cci.esusx.uk or you could even run a geographical subnetwork of hastings.esusx.uk. A major benefit is that information is naturally organised by region.
Distributed and up-to-date information
An individual organisation on the network can add or update information on their own system and this is seen at all relevant points on the network without any need for other organisations to update their websites or databases — propagation of the information is all handled automatically through the communication protocols. Among other benefits, it means that key information is as up-to-date as possible anywhere on the network.
Common and accessible communication
By using common network services designed for specific needs, the organisations on the network can communicate electronically in a standardised way. One benefit is that the information becomes more accessible — for instance structured information can be designed, formatted and reformatted easily and succinctly for a variety of needs like braille displays.
The platform is not limited to the services that we build and bundle. It is designed to be extensible, allowing custom services to be run through the network. As long as other relevant systems on the network share the custom network services, they can be used without requiring support from the rest of the network.
We have the foundation for public key cryptography built into the network. Each organisation has a key-pair and digital certificate generated when they join the network that they can use to be verified by other people, to verify other nodes, to digitally sign data or documents and finally to secure transmission of sensitive information across public Internet channels in a way that only the recipient can understand.