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Vertical Innovations in Transport And Logistics over 5G experimentation facilities

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - VITAL-5G (Vertical Innovations in Transport And Logistics over 5G experimentation facilities)

Reporting period: 2021-01-01 to 2022-06-30

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 stages to production depends highly on the availability of flexible and intuitive tools and APIs for design, management and orchestration of services. VITAL-5G aims to address the following key challenges for the adoption of 5G in production services by T&L industry verticals:
A. 5G orchestration tools often maintain a network-centric vision, and very specific semantics (network-related)
B. There is a substantial mismatch of backgrounds existing between Telcos and Verticals in: a) where the network services can be deployed and trialed and how the various elements are interconnected; and b) the vertical applications logic often designed to rely on a flat “always-on” IP connectivity among interconnected functional elements
C. A significant number of packages for 5G/NFV experimentation have been produced so far, but most of these elements describe network-only services or apply to small trial experiments.
In this context, VITAL-5G taking into consideration these limitations, will release a flexible platform (Figure 1) adapted to serve the specific needs of the T&L sector focused on the creation, deployment, management and validation of Network Applications (NetApps). VITAL-5G will operate on state-of-the-art experimentation facilities to validate 5G-enabled T&L Vertical solutions and applications in real-life conditions. In particular, three T&L experimentation areas (Port of Antwerp, Galati Port on Danube River, Athens logistics hub) will be used for validation of T&L services developed by consortium partners or 3rd parties, making use of the VITAL-5G experimentation platform and its NetApps open repository.
Three main use cases (Figures 2,3,4) have been selected to showcase the capabilities of the VITAL-5G platform and NetApps for the T&L sector. These 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.
The 3rd party enrolment, will allow to expand the validation of the VITAL-5G platform with closer-to-market NetApp scenarios thus significantly assisting in providing a baseline for a T&L NetApps business ecosystem.

VITAL-5G aims to:
1. Drive and foster the development and sharing of novel vertical-specific and vertical-agnostic NetApps for the T&L sector by supporting open source tools and an open repository for flexible and interoperable deployment through its platform.
2. Deliver an open, virtualized 5G-enabled testing and validation experimentation facility, which will provide the means for relevant T&L stakeholders to deploy and benchmark the performance of their innovative NetApps on top of a 5G network.
3. Demonstrate the benefit and showcase the added value of 5G connectivity for advanced logistics services across European warehouses, sea and river ports, creating a functional value chain for highly automated freight transportation.
4. Provide customized and virtualized access to network and T&L infrastructure resources, enabling dynamic tailor-made service provisioning to 3rd parties (such as SMEs) to validate their applications over resources otherwise unavailable to them, thus boosting confidence prior to actual service deployment.
5. Enable novel business models development for open, integrated and cooperative services across multiple domains, addressing specific T&L use cases and to justify the investment from key stakeholders.
6. Foster the development and advancement of a T&L centered ecosystem, which will drive the European integration of 5G services into the T&L vertical, by bringing together key vertical stakeholders with SMEs developing cutting-edge technology and applications.
The work performed and main results achieved by the project so far follows:
- VITAL-5G has provided a detailed definition of the 3 use cases addressed by the project, identifying 5G network and NetApps requirements.
- VITAL-5G has delivered a first version of the system specifications and architecture (Figure 5) as well as initial NetApps blueprints (Figure 6).
- The project is completing the network deployment in the 3 nodes and the extensions to the related vertical facilities along with an early version of the VITAL-5G platform and online repository. Preliminary versions of various NetApps have been implemented and onboarded in the VITAL-5G system, where they are tested and continuously improved.
- An experimentation and a validation methodology has been established as well as the methodology to drive the trial experiments to ensure the proper configuration of testbeds and the correct recording and documentation of trial results.
- Significant effort has been put to the creation of synergies and the capacity building program of VITAL-5G to attract 3rd parties willing to test the VITAL-5G project solutions as well as to build new NetApps and services targeting the T&L sector leveraging on the ones offered by the project. The initial efforts made during the first reporting period will lead to the growth of the VITAL-5G ecosystem in the second period of the project.
- A detailed market analysis has been conducted. The outcomes of this analysis feed the business plan and IPR strategy. A first version of the project’s commercialisation strategy has been set up, followed by the development of the VITAL-5G’s Data Management Plan (DMP) as well as the setup of processes for monitoring of the VITAL-5G innovative outcomes.
- The project’s results of this period were disseminated to all target audiences through the participation in various 5G-PPP activities and publications, the publication of 8 conference proceedings, the production of several videos (including organised events) as well as the release of the project’s online repository, all of which were disseminated using online and printed media.
The progress beyond the state of the art, the expected results until the end of the project and the potential impacts are summarized below:
- Definition of unified and vertical-oriented information models for NetApps blueprints and packages, to facilitate the design, implementation and sharing of new NetApps from multiple stakeholders, including SMEs, for the creation and delivery of 5G-enabled T&L services.
- Conclude the development of the VITAL-5G platform software components, and the development of software assets of the VITAL-5G NetApps. Integrate the components to the VITAL-5G platform in order to realise the VITAL-5G E2E system.
- Finalize all the VITAL-5G infrastructure upgrades & extensions, with the activities related to the 5G system components integration, E2E integration into a single system and testing, providing the interoperability of the different HW and SW elements.
- Perform full trials to acquire results from the various trial sites and continue the experimentation and validation activities for NetApps and vertical services of the internal use cases, collecting the related KPIs.
- Make available the developed assets through the VITAL-5G Online repository and onboard and guide 3rd party experimenters to set-up their own trials and experiments.
- Further develop the commercialization strategy and business plan esp. related to the VITAL-5G platform as well as focus on the innovation management activities of the VITAL-5G outcomes.