5GMediaHUB: A space to accelerate 5G implementations
5GMediaHUB is an European initiative looking to speed up the testing and validation of 5G media applications and NetApps. Its aim it’s to give the technological partners a fully equipped facility in where they can develop 5G based solutions quickly. Looking for all the needs of these companies is Christos Verikoukis, the Project Coordinator of this consortium, who had the opportunity to explain us a little bit more about it.
What’s 5GMediaHUB and how did it come about?
5GMediaHUB is an Innovation Action funded project as a response of the ICT-41-2020 call by the European Commission. it is an initiative mainly promoted by three teams, the eBOS´s, a hi-tech SME from Cyprus, led by Dr. Loizos Christosfi, the IQUADRAT´s Informatica, a hi-tech software house from Spain, led by Dr. Konstantinos Ramantas and my team at the Centre Tecnològic de Telecomunicacions de Catalunya (CTTC) as a follow-up of the ICT-19 5G-Solutions project. I remember that we started the preparation of the proposal in December of 2019 and we worked very hard under the difficult lockdown conditions.
5GMediaHUB aims to help EU to achieve the goal of becoming a world leader in 5G, by accelerating the testing and validation of innovative 5G-empowered media applications and NetApps from 3rd party experimenters and NetApps developers, through an open, integrated and fully featured Experimentation Facility. This will significantly reduce not only the service creation lifecycle but also the time to market barrier, thus providing such actors that are primarily from SMEs, with a competitive advantage against their rivals outside EU.
What’s your position and work within the project?
I have the honor the serve as the Project Coordinator, my role is to monitor the progress of the project’s results and implement any necessary corrective measures. I will be the interface of between the consortium partners and the European Comission.
You are working for the CTTC (Centre Tecnològic de Telecomunicacions de Catalunya), What are the main projects and activity you are developing now?
CTTC is a non-profit research institution based in Castelldefels , resulting from a public initiative of the Regional Government of Catalonia (Generalitat de Catalunya) under the umbrella of CERCA Institute system. CTTC represents a technological infrastructure gifted with cutting-edge equipment and a highly talented staff aiming in designing the digital society of the future. Our mission is to fill the gap between the industry and academia, to go beyond the traditional fundamental research, and offer innovative solutions to the society.
I am the Head of the SMARTECH Department, and I am leading a team of 14 researchers. We have high reputation both in EC funded projects and scientific outcome. In addition to 5GMediaHub, we are currently coordinating 2 more 5GPP projects (MARSAL and MonB5G propose cutting-edge solutions for 6G wireless networks) and one Marie-Curie Action. Moreover, we are involved in 8 more EC funded projects either offering innovative solutions or as technology providers. To name some of them, 5G-Routes, 5G-Solutions and 5G-EPICENTRE test different verticals over 5G infrastructures.
Back to 5GMediaHUB, what companies and organizations are involved?
The 5GMediaHUB consortium has been formed by a group of 17 organisations from 7 EU member and 2 associated countries, that complement each other in terms of background knowledge, technical competence, capability of new knowledge creation, business and market experience and expertise in the 5G and media domains. The consortium consists of three main groups of partners i) Group 1 technology partners, 5G infra-structure providers, ii) Group 2 media vertical stakeholders iii) Group 3 ecosystem development partners.
What specific services may be of interest to the broadcast sector?
5GMediaHUB aims to provide the following features and capabilities to the broadcast sector:
– A web-based Experimenters Portal with associated User Management for secure and easy access of system tenants to the 5GMediaHUB Experimentation Facility, based on their profile and services they offer.
– A rich set of Experimentation Tools, that offer scheduling, validation, verification, analytics and QoS/QoE monitoring mechanisms to broadcast providers, allowing them to validate and optimise their services in a 5G environment so as to remove uncertainties prior to commercial deployments in real 5G networks.
– A set of re-usable vertical-specific and vertical-agnostic NetApps, i.e. chains of platform VNFs that implement networking, security, resource management and load balancing functions on top of the 5G NFVI, abstracting its details. Thus, vertical applications only interact with the NFVI via easy to use Northbound APIs, that will be offered by the NetApps. Such APIs can easily be consumed by media application providers as it will reduce the complexity and risk of integrations and operations of media related applications.
– A re-usable open-source NetApps Repository that could be leveraged, enhanced and extended by 3rd party NetApp developers for facilitating the fast prototyping and testing of multimedia-based applications and associated NetApps.
– Access to two well-established 5G testbeds (i.e. TNOR’s Oslo and CTTC’s Barcelona) for providing 5G network capabilities to novel broadcast applications.
– An innovative Security Framework that provides secure user authorisation and authentication, software defined perimeter protection and isolation.
– Validation capability of 5G network and service-level KPIs relevant for the media sector that require 5G performance characteristics.
What is the roadmap for the future?
The 5GMediaHUB roadmap will follow the 3GPP standardisation releases R.16 and R.17. This will be achieved through two iterative and consecutive testing cycles, with each testing cycle lasting for 8 months (i.e. Testing Cycle 1 from April 2022-September 2022, and Testing Cycle 2 from March 2023-October 2023), preceded by relevant 5G testbeds upgrade, setup, configuration and preparation periods and followed by corresponding parallel evaluation and/or re-design/upgrade improvements periods to ensure a smooth and aligned evolution of the validations of the Experimentation facility through realistic use cases in the media domain.
Therefore, we will be able to test media applications in realistic 5G environments by mid-2022 when the whole platform will be fully operational. We will carry out tests in 6 innovative media applications in the areas of On-site Live Event Experience, Smart media production and Smart media content distribution.
In your opinion, how will 5G change our lives?
5G will be faster and able to accommodate more connected devices than the existing 4G cellular networks, but not only this, it offers lower latency, increased bandwidth, higher reliability and lower energy consumption. These improvements will radically change the way on how people live and work. To give you few examples, with 5G we will be able to download a whole movie from a cloud platform in few seconds, it will allow remote use of robots in surgeries and will improve on-site Live Event Experience. All these improvements open new business opportunities in all these areas
What professional sectors are going to be the most benefit from this technology?
The new technological concepts introduced by 5G will progressively create impact in all vertical industries and our society. The involvement of the vertical industry stakeholders’ in the 5G value chain is a great change comparing to the previous generation of cellular networks. The clear benefits of the 5G technology in several vertical industries as demonstrated by the different research projects, have triggered the interest of several stakeholders from vertical industries such as automotive, energy, factories, health, media, public transportation. All these sectors will be benefit from 5G.
And finally, when do you think 5G will be finally implemented?
As you may realized, 5G is operational, even in a non-standalone version, in several countries and the coverage areas are very board. It is expected that early next year that in most of the countries the stand-alone version of the 5G will available. It has to be noted that even though with the existing operational mode of 5G the achieved data rate by the end user may be 10 times higher than the one from the 4G systems.