Concept and Methodology​

VITAL-5G Overall concept

The pan-European Transport & Logistics (T&L) eco-system is considered one of the main adopters of 5G, and as such, the successful transfer of 5G-empowered services from trials/pilot stages to production depends highly on the availability of flexible and intuitive tools and APIs for design, management and orchestration of their services. VITAL-5G prioritises this ambition and plans to overcome, through its intuitive and production-ready Network Applications orchestration platform with open repository, various limitations that exist today for industry verticals keen to design and deploy T&L virtualised services in a 5G network. The VITAL-5G consortium has identified the following key challenges for adoption of 5G in production services by T&L industry verticals:

Taking advantage of the deep understanding of these limitations, VITAL-5G will release a flexible platform adapted to serve the specific needs of the T&L sector focused on the creation, deployment, management and validation of Network Applications. The conceptual architecture of the VITAL-5G platform is illustrated below.

VITAL-5G will operate on state-of-the-art experimentation facilities to validate T&L Vertical solutions and applications in real-life conditions. VITAL-5G will leverage and enhance a significant background work in 5G conducted by its partners in the context 5G PPP Phase I/II/III, national programs, other collaborative and industry-funded research.

In particular, three T&L experimentation areas (Port of Antwerp, Danube River, Athens logistics hub) will be used for validation of the VITAL-5G platform and its online repository. These facilities have been built in previous R&D projects (i.e. 5G EVE for Athens/Danube and 5G-Blueprint for Antwerp) and/or derived from production 5G rollout initiative (i.e. 5G roll-out in Romania by Orange). These project’s 5G-testbeds are not intended to be integrated in cross-border service deployments, but will be upgraded to support 3GPP Rel.16 and extend radio coverage to the port and warehouse areas as part of technology roadmaps set by facility owners.

Three main use cases have been selected to showcase the capabilities of the VITAL-5G platform and Network Applications for the T&L sector. Participating industry leaders and SMEs have selected these use cases with the aim to validate the most relevant and business-ready scenarios for use of 5G connectivity and virtualized services for (sea and river) port operations, warehouse logistics, complemented by road transport services. Moreover, the use cases will benefit from the associated facility technology upgrades at minimal cost, hence positioned to clearly showcase the added value of 5G connectivity for the T&L sector.

Third-party experimenters will be also enrolled from the network of commercial contacts of the trial facility owners; these 3rd party actors will allow to expand the validation of the VITAL-5G platform with closer-to-market Network Application scenarios and will significantly assist in providing a baseline for a T&L Network Applications business ecosystem, which aims to expand from the three target facilities to many other ports in Europe. VITAL-5G discernibly aims at forming a sustainable T&L ecosystem that is incentivized to use 5G technologies, will foster business innovation, ease synergies among key partners, and will influence the standardization of virtualized components and interfaces.

Network Applications for T&L sector

The particular innovations that will be generated throughout VITAL5G are:

Vertical-agnostic Network Applications

Shown below are the vertical-agnostic Network Applications which will serve general purpose functionalities which can be utilized by multiple participating parties in a variety of vertical use cases.

VITAL-5G Overall Methodology

The methodology followed by VITAL-5G is presented in the following high-level activities:

Activity 1: Develop an efficient functional architecture of the VITAL-5G system in support of the T&L sector including the platform, 5G-testbeds and vertical infrastructures based on thorough market analysis of T&L stakeholder needs, in order to deliver a state-of-the-art experimentation facility.

Activity 2: Onboard, upgrade and extend existing 5G-testbeds from ongoing 5G PPP projects as well as functional and reusable components from their platforms, to create the VITAL-5G T&L experimentation facility, providing a flexible, interoperable and open manner of creating, configuring and monitoring 5G based T&L trials.

Activity 3: Design T&L related Network Applications and onboard them in an open online repository with the respective open tools to facilitate experimentation and vertical stakeholder and SME collaboration, while enabling virtualised and secure service provisioning.

Activity 4: Perform extensive technical and business validations based on real-life 5G enabled Transport and Logistics trials with VITAL-5G consortium partners and 3rd party experimenters, delivering significant insights into the flexibility and scalability offered by Network Applications and the performance improvement of vertical applications thanks to 5G connectivity.