As exciting as the technology advances of 5G are, its real future lies in successful and widespread take-up by the vast array of vertical sectors that stand to benefit from its features. But this take-up won’t happen automatically – a rich and constant dialogue both at the technical and application levels must arise between the technology providers and the vertical industry stakeholders. That was the vision of the VIS5G Workshop: to nurture this dialogue into self-sustaining momentum.
The carefully selected “Second Wave” of 5G PPP R&I projects represent the diversity of vertical sectors targeted in Europe for maximum 5G uptake. Here’s a quick overview of key projects and their respective sectors:
A Highly Interactive, Incisive Verticals Workshop
The VIS5G Workshop kicked off with a keynote by Darko Ratkaj from the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), who shared his insights on how 5G will enable public service media content, but also highlighted the responsibilities that 5G will have in supporting public service media providers in fulfilling their remit – for example, through adequate network coverage, security, reliability, and resilience. He was followed by a second keynote from Erik Ström of Chalmers and the IRACON project (Inclusive Radio Communication Networks for 5G and Beyond). Erik described the challenges of extending 5G technologies in order to maximize 5G inclusivity – that is, to support connectivity at any rates, with any devices, and in any scenarios, such as indoor environments that produce anomalous fading phenomena. He mentioned new approaches such as “model hybridization” which help to deal with the uncertainties introduced by non-deterministic effects.
A series of project presentation sessions introduced the participants to the diversity of 5G-PPP vertical sectors, starting with John Cosmas of Brunel University in a presentation on the Internet of Radio Light and its prospects for dramatic improvement of services in indoor environments. Nicola Ciulli of Nextworks reported on 5GCity, a project for mastering the combination of heterogeneous sensing and data acquisition networks, pools of computing and storage resources, and various fixed/mobile network technologies that will make up a 5G Smart City. He placed special emphasis on the potential role of “neutral hosting” in pulling it all together. Pasquale Andriani of Engineering then described the ambitions of the 5G-MEDIA project to implement use cases involving tele-immersive media, smart & remote media production, and content distribution, while emphasizing the importance of hiding the complexity of the 5G “plumbing” from the developers. A presentation prepared by Georgia Poziopoulou of Avanti Communications introduced the audience to the promise of utilizing satellite technologies to help achieve adequate 5G coverage in wide geographic areas – while noting the challenges of the characteristic latencies. Michael Boniface of IT Innovation gave insights into media service delivery, including considerations of personalization, localization, interactivity, and mobility. An exciting set of 25 different trials will be conducted with the likes of the Disney Corporation, utilizing the FLAME software based 5G platform.
The project presentation sessions segued into a vigorous and lively panel on the topic of Future Trends in Media Distribution. The panelists highlighted a number of issues, such as the need to decouple the content delivery techniques (such as broadcasting) from the user expectation or experience. 5G software-based platforms enable broadcasters to mix match different delivery option, including the ‘long tail’ of user generated content, as in the classic soccer mums example, where a local football match is recorded for distribution to a small set of users. The discussants also highlighted the need for a new approach to the relationship between Mobile Network Operators and public agencies such as the EBU, moving away from a situation of wariness of regulation to one of trust and collaboration.
After lunch, two more keynotes launched the afternoon session. First, Mikael Fallgren of Ericsson presented the activities of the 5G V2X Deployment working group, describing their emphasis on use cases and business aspects, along with spectrum usage, infrastructure capabilities, security, and safety. Given the articulated automotive supply chain, Mikael noted the importance of getting all stakeholders in the supply chain onboard. He was followed by Mingzoo Wu and Shih I Chen on aspects of the Factory of the Future, such as a need for reconfigurability, flexibility, safety, reliability, and much more.
That set the stage for the next project presentation on manufacturing in Clear5G, made by Haibin Zhang of TNO, who explained that within factories there will be private (physically or virtually) factory wide 5G networks tailored to particular needs of individual sites. David Gomez-Barquero of UPV followed with a presentation of the 5G-Xcast project, outlining the complexities of delivering public warning use cases, including the capability to localize warnings, reach devices in sleep mode, capability to reach all people including those with disabilities (hearing, vision etc.). Representing NRG-5, John Davies of BT and Miha Smolnikar of JSI then presented the key issues around 5G for Smart Energy, including increased digitization and prosumerisation due to distribution energy generation, renewable energy sources etc. They also highlighted the need for stability, resilience and high availability, as well as a need to enable fault localization, isolation/self-healing, energy re-routing, etc. The project presentation session was wrapped up with a presentation by Mikael Fallgren of Ericsson on more aspects of the 5GCAR project.
The workshop concluded with a wide-ranging discussion of the Impact of 5G on Verticals. The panelists were in general agreement that there is still too much focus on traditional business models, whereas 5G will raise new questions about exactly who should and will pay in the end. The advent of the GDPR will have a profound impact on security and legal aspects across all verticals. Looking toward the future, the discussions noted a need to approach new verticals not yet represented, such as water supply, as well as a need for those so-called “killer applications” that definitively demonstrate the full power and promise of 5G over the gamut of vertical industries.
Key Takeaways from the Verticals Workshop