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User-centric Middleware Architecture for Advanced Service Provisioning in Future Networks

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - CASPER (User-centric Middleware Architecture for Advanced Service Provisioning in Future Networks)

Reporting period: 2018-01-01 to 2019-12-31

CASPER brings together experts from industry and academia, from cross-sectorial research areas having complementary background, with the long-term goal to analyse and exploit QoE towards designing and developing efficient schemes for managing multimedia services over SDN/NFV technologies. Special attention is devoted to the development of a middleware architecture composed of innovative QoE estimation mechanisms and QoE monitoring protocols for optimizing service delivery and providing key input to CEM (Customer Experience Management) policies. In the first two years of the project, all efforts and funding were focused towards the realisation of a fully-integrated and multi-disciplinary program on the development of QoE network optimisation modules. In particular, CASPER works towards the following overall Research and Technological objectives:

Research objectives
1. To study, design and optimise QoE estimation mechanisms for multimedia services.
2. To study, design, and optimise QoE monitoring protocols.
3. To analyse, design and optimise advanced QoE-driven service management policies.

Technological objectives
1. To develop a System Level Simulator (SLS), where the QoE estimation and monitoring schemes, and the QoE-driven service management policies will be evaluated under realistic scenarios.
2. To develop a hardware proof-of-concept testbed, where the most promising schemes identified via the SLS will be integrated and tested in a real-working environment.
3. To integrate QoE exploitation functions into real devices, where a meaningful subset of the middleware architecture will be implemented in commercial devices and network entities for real-life experimentation.
The project has been successfully completed, fulfilling all the targets defined in the DoA. The technical work progress has been conducted according to the planned methodology, the promised ToK per beneficiary have been delivered, and secondments from all the beneficiaries have been completed. More precisely:

Regarding the research and technical work:

WP2 (Middleware Architecture Definition and Requirements Description) has been completed successfully in M12. Research activity on two tasks, namely i) QoE-exploitation scenarios and system requirements and ii) end-to-end middleware architecture for QoE service provisioning has been documented in Deliverables D2.1 and D2.2.

WP3 (QoE Estimation Mechanisms and QoE Monitoring Protocols) started in M7 and was completed in M30. WP3 has produced research outcomes in the areas of i) QoE modelling and estimation schemes and ii) QoE monitoring and QoE signalling protocols, documented in Deliverables D3.1 and D3.2 respectively.

WP4 (Design and Optimisation of QoE-driven Service Management Policies) followed the exact same duration with WP3. Its research results regarding i) the proposal of a QoE management framework and of CEM schemes and ii) the investigation of QoE-driven service management policies have been documented in Deliverables D4.1 and D4.2.

WP5 (Development and Validation of Proposed Modules) started in M22 and was successfully completed in M42 providing simulation results and performance evaluation following the integration of WP3 and WP4 modules. Moreover, within WP5, the CASPER middleware architecture has been developed, while the produced testbed has been validated and evaluated in terms of QoE and QoS-related metrics. This work has been documented in the Deliverables D5.1 D5.2 and D5.3.

Finally, WP6 (System Integration and Proof-of-Concept) run between M37 and M48, namely until the end of the project. In this WP, a comprehensive experimental assessment of the CASPER testbed in a realistic environment has been performed. The full testbed as well as the related performance evaluation is included in Deliverable D6.1.

Regarding the dissemination and knowledge sharing activity, the work is summarized below:

- The CASPER consortium has organized three workshops, and specifically together with IEEE CAMAD 2017, IEEE WoWMoM 2018, and IEEE CAMAD 2018
- A number of contributions, available as Open Access, have been published from project fellows (available in Zenodo & Research Gate)
- Eleven newsletters were issued (http://gain.di.uoa.gr/casper/dissemination.html)
- CASPER brochures and a CASPER poster were released
- A twitter account and LinkedIn group were created for CASPER
- The CASPER approach and research achievements were presented in more than 14 public events as described in Deliverables D7.2 and D7.3 of the project
- A press conference was given at the EUCNC 2017 conference
- Two articles related to CASPER have been published in online newspapers (the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia and the Greek site FortuneGreece.com)
Innovative research work has been conducted during the project duration regarding the following aspects:
- Thorough analysis of the QoE notion
- Identification of the stakeholders interested in QoE-based service and network management
- Definition and description of major CASPER communication scenarios
- KPIs identification and technological requirements analysis per communication scenario
- Description of the CASPER middleware architecture, including configurations per scenario
- Description of the QoE management support framework
- Analysis of QoE estimation models, including a thorough study on parametric QoE estimation
- Release of the CASPER QoE estimation and modelling tool
- Proposal of a joint Resource Allocation - Dynamic Pricing scheme to optimise QoE
- Proposal of a network-side QoE monitoring and signaling SDN-based solution
- Description of the CASPER service management framework and QoE policies on top of Neutral Networks
- Development of a simulation framework tailored to the communication scenarios of CASPER
- Quantification of the performance of the CASPER targeted communication scenarios regarding QoE
- Development of the QoE orchestration logic inside the CASPER testbed proposing a POX SDN-based QoE Controller
- Implementation of the HTTP Adaptive Streaming server-client logic in the testbed
- Release of the CASPER testbed, proof-of-concept and performance evaluation

The topics under investigation in CASPER have a direct impact on the society and the related stakeholders, for a series of aspects, listed below:
- CASPER provides expertise in key research areas related to service provisioning to a set of ambitious researchers and developers.
- CASPER focuses on user-centric service and network management, an area which appears signs of industrial exploitation and consumer interest.
- The program follows a human-centered approach, designing solutions that target at the satisfaction of the end user when consuming a service. This approach entails a degree of personalisation in service delivery, which enforces an era of more “fair” telecommunication services.
- The holistic approach of CASPER is expected to incentivize a collaboration paradigm between Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and Over-The-Top service providers (OTTs), by providing a technologically feasible realization where feedback from MNOs is enabled and application-awareness is enforced.
- The final CASPER middleware architecture is delivered as a software solution enabling its exploitation from smaller telecom players and start-ups, who by taking advantage of the results of the project could be able to create new business activities, such as specialized products for quality monitoring and benchmarking.
CASPER concept
CASPER testbed
CASPER QoE-based orchestration architecture