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LOCalization and analytics on-demand embedded in the 5G ecosystem, for Ubiquitous vertical applicationS

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - LOCUS (LOCalization and analytics on-demand embedded in the 5G ecosystem, for Ubiquitous vertical applicationS)

Reporting period: 2019-11-01 to 2021-04-30

Project overview
Context-awareness is essential for many existing and emerging applications. Context information greatly relies on location information of people and things. Global navigation satellite systems are denied in indoor environments, current cellular systems fail to provide high-accuracy localization, other local localization technologies (e.g. Wi-Fi or BT) imply high deployment/maintenance/integration costs. Raw spatiotemporal data are not sufficient by themselves and need to be integrated with tools for the analysis of the behaviour of physical targets, to extract relevant feature of interests.
LOCUS is improving the functionality of 5G infrastructures to: i) provide accurate and ubiquitous location information as a network-native service; ii) derive more complex features and behavioural patterns out of raw location and physical events; and iii) expose them to applications via simple interfaces. Localization, together with analytics, and their combined provision “as a service”, will greatly increase the overall value of the 5G ecosystem, allowing network operators to better manage their networks and to dramatically expand the range of offered applications and services. The current freedom to act on 5G system design and availability of software network paradigms and AI techniques uniquely combine in this historical moment to make it possible to radically improve the future network by endowing it with accurate on-demand localization and analytics.
LOCUS will showcase its solutions in the framework of three scenarios: Smart Network Management based on Location Information of 5G equipment; Network-assisted Self-driving Objects; People Mobility & Flow Monitoring, including emergency services.
Project vision and related updates
The project vision, first defined in a draft paper in November 2016 and then included in the LOCUS description of work (March 2019), is, in our view, always more of interest in terms of scientific interest, technology developments, market prospects and user needs. LOCUS aims at natively incorporating within the network infrastructure the technologies, hooks and application programming interfaces needed to enable, and foster, location/context-based services, together with powerful business analytics. Localization and related analytics should be fully integrated in the cellular world: the 5G network and its evolution, both in the short and in the long term, should address not only communication but also localization and sensing functionality. This vision is not only still very actual, but it is even fully in line with future evolutions of the network, namely 6G. In fact, the recently published "6G white paper on localization and sensing" (https://arxiv.org/abs/2006.01779 ) makes the same point:
"In contrast to 5G and earlier generations, (in 6G) localization and sensing will be built-in from the outset to both cope with specific applications and use cases, and to support flexible and seamless connectivity... Typically, wireless networks are praised for their communication features alone, while their inherent localization and sensing benefits are overlooked."
The role of localization in 6G discussed above is also confirmed by the recent white paper of the 5G I.A.: ‘European Vision for the 6G Network Ecosystem’ (https://5g-ppp.eu/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/WhitePaper-6G-Europe.pdf) released on June 7, 2021.
Summing up, LOCUS is actively working to contribute to make its updated and enriched vision a reality and to contribute to the path towards expected 6G improvements.
The main achievements of the project so far are:
• Complete definition of scenarios and use cases, which are representative of trends and market drivers, the operators’ perspective and indicative vertical application needs
• Extension of the use cases envisaged in the original project description of work to include tracing solutions for keeping track of contacts between people to help fighting the COVID-19 outbreak
• A high-level functional architecture, together with the description of all functions and components of the LOCUS Platform (see figure)
• Techniques to capture the IMSI/SUPI, in the framework of large-scale experiments for testing location security; adaptive attack detection strategies via statistical signal processing and anti-spoofing techniques
• A framework for secure access to LOCUS platform data to ensure LBS privacy, and exploration of privacy issues and solutions in the context of COVID-19 tracing procedures
• Derivation of advanced performance results in 3GPP compliant simulations for several use cases with multiple localization techniques
• Development of innovative signal processing techniques for enhanced 5G localization and considering also the integration with heterogeneous technologies
• Framework for device-free localization in cluttered environments together with theoretical bound considering the 5G numerology. Experimental results for device-free localization with mmWave systems
• Definition of location enabled network management functionalities
• Analytics techniques targeting several LOCUS use cases, relying on machine learning and neural networks and validated using open data sets
• An effective communication and dissemination strategy within and outside the consortium, including several journal and conference publications
• An active collaboration with the main standardization bodies, led by a focus group created within the consortium
• Development, deployment and operation support of a geo-location based tool, exploiting the data pre- and post-processing and analytics functions designed in LOCUS
• Two co-signed contributions by LOCUS partners to 3GPP.
The advances with respect of the state of the art are documented in several conference and journal publications, in addition to project deliverables, and concern mainly: the system architecture, compliant and integrated with the 3GPP one; location security and privacy solutions; localization algorithms; AI techniques for location-based analytics; design and implementation of a virtualization platform; smart network management exploiting location information and analytics; definition and enabling of new Location-based Services. The project is now finalizing the work on design WPs, continuing the design of applications exploiting the functionality defined up to now and started the proof of concepts, where selected use cases will be showcased.
In the following we report the more mature results or those that show a higher potential to be exploited.
• Work carried in WP2 on security and privacy: dissemination and disclosure (using responsible disclosure means when appropriate) of the issues and vulnerabilities which we are duly analysing and contributing to expose
• Innovative signal processing techniques for enhanced 5G localization and integration of 5G with heterogeneous technologies
• Smart network management functionalities
• Advanced techniques for analytics extraction
• Tracing solutions to help fighting the COVID-19 outbreak
• Development, deployment and operation support of a geo-location based tool, which will exploit the data pre- and post-processing and analytics functions designed as part of the LOCUS architecture/platform
• Two co-signed contributions by LOCUS partners to 3GPP
• Two patent applications from NEC and two patent applications from Ericsson as a result of the technologies developed in LOCUS in WP5 and WP3, respectively.
LOCUS system architecture