CORDIS - EU research results



Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2015-11-30

The project aims at distributing ultra-accurate and traceable timing through optical fibres. The goal is to provide timing information for the Galileo Time System and for customers requiring highly dependable distributed synchronization applications. The target customers include government authorities as EGA (for the Galileo surface segment) and customers in Telecom, Smart-Grid, stock market and highly accurate positioning markets (conventionally dependent on satellite signals). The use of terrestrial timing distribution allows National Metrology Institutes (NMIs) in charge of Galileo Time Validation Facility to compare their clocks and steer to UTC, maximizing the traceability of Galileo System Time and enhancing its accuracy. In addition, this allows deploying a terrestrial time network for industrial applications, traceable with respect to UTC and Galileo, robust against GNSS signal problems and providing redundant time services for critical infrastructures.
The purpose of this project is to confirm a business plan and develop in detail an appropriate strategy to penetrate the market. This includes a proper market analysis (existing markets and emergent applications), partnership strategies and concrete commercialization plan for those sectors. In phase 1, we will focus on exploring the specific characteristics of different potential customers and final application sectors.
We have worked towards studying specific requirements for timing and synchronization in the framework of different sectors: Smart Grid, Telecommunications and also briefly the finance market.
We have contacted (only at a very preliminary stage) strategic partners in these sectors to gather technical information about their needs and evaluate different market penetration strategies.
The main results consist in brief business cases in the framework of Smart Grid and Telecommunications; and also preliminary contacts with some relevant partners in these industrial sectors.
The final results of the project during Phase I are the following:
 . Complete markets identification and economical quantification of the different alternatives.
 . Full identification of required product and services. They are:
a) Time as a Service: traceable time from GST or NMIs provided by means of terrestrial timing optical fibre links. This includes the technical specifications of the equipment, value chain and business model.
b) Timing product for securization of GNSS receivers as time source for critical infrastructures.
 . Well defined Business cases in Space and critical infrastructures like in the Smart Grid and Telecommunications sectors.
 . Plan for market penetration strategy in these sectors.
 . Rise of interest in relevant actors (potential strategic partners in these sectors).

The societal implications would also be significant. Our solution will enable new solutions, increasing the current GNSS market penetration from 18% to more than 22% by increasing GNSS dependability in a market highly concerned with availability and security issues. Smart Grid is intensively integrating ICT and GNSS receivers for time distribution, which makes it rather vulnerable to jamming attacks. The integration of White Rabbit in Smart Grid will make this critical infrastructure safer. On the Telecommunications sector, the integration of White Rabbit will allow enhancing communication bandwidth and efficiency in a much finely distributed Telecom network for 5G. Particularly, the market opportunity here described will have a global impact on the economy by improving safety of key EU services based on fully dependable and traceable timing-based services using Galileo GNSS receivers.
The socio-economic impact is estimated high. Seven Solutions is working towards translating White Rabbit Technology (currently widely used in scientific facilities) into actual industrial products towards massive markets. The socio-economic impact of the integration of this technology into these massive markets is estimated high. The worldwide multi-industry use of precision clocks (masters and slaves) was estimated to be in the range of $220-260 Million as of 2013, with moderate to good growth but having some constraints on the services and markets that they can drive. The GNSS receivers installed in the three main segments (Telecom, Energy and Finance) in the EU28+Norway should reach 276,000 units in 2020, with a plateau for the next years. The increment of dependability of the GNSS-based timing sources will make possible to increase these figures by growing the penetration into the existing markets. Moreover, the use of high accurate synchronized base stations in the existing Telecom market would also allow novel applications such as Indoor location based on Telecom infrastructure, which is a very high volume market estimated in 2.5 Billion euros in 2015. All these contributions will produce a very high socio-economic impact, improving the safety of EU citizens and simultaneously helping to consolidate leading role of EU on novel disruptive services.
Long distance time distribution through optical fibers between elements on Galileo Ground segment