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

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - LOCUS (LOCalization and analytics on-demand embedded in the 5G ecosystem, for Ubiquitous vertical applicationS)

Reporting period: 2021-05-01 to 2022-10-31

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.

The main high-level innovative characteristics of the project include:
·       the definition and implementation of an end-to-end service-based architecture with built-in security and privacy, which takes into account the challenges of handling sensitive data;
·       the development of innovative signal processing techniques to enhance the 5G localization accuracy towards the theoretical bound by also exploiting heterogeneous technologies such as multi-RAT, multi-carrier, multi-connectivity and mmWave to be integrated within the LOCUS platform;
·       the development of algorithms and techniques for device-free localization and the proposal of its integration within the main localization system to provide richer contextual information;
·       the design of advanced analytical methods (prediction and multimodal data processing) for the use of localization information in network management;
·       the realization of advanced analytic mechanisms, which will leverage on the abstracted location information, and power advanced applications based on geolocation information and corresponding advanced analytics;
·       the design and implementation of a flexible virtualization platform that can natively extend the 5G network orchestration layer to more efficiently implement and serve applications requests beyond connectivity;
·       the integration and management of virtualized localization data collectors and processors into the virtualization platform to implement the LOCUS localization and analytics “as a service” model;
·       the contribution to the 3GPP working groups RAN and System Aspects and Architecture (SA): concept development and specific solutions for the Rel-17 3GPP study item and work item on NR positioning enhancement, and analysis of potential topics for consideration in the upcoming Rel-18 work.
The main achievements of the project are:
• Complete definition of scenarios and use cases, which are representative of trends and market drivers, the operators’ perspective and indicative vertical application needs
• Finalisation of the LOCUS Architecture, which is mapped to existing standards and enables the on-demand Analytics as a Service (aaS) system.
• Investigation of vulnerabilities in 5G authentication protocols and study of various privacy attack classes; exploration of adaptive (deception/masking) attack detection strategies and detection of location security attacks on non-3GPP systems;
• Development of innovative signal processing techniques for enhanced 5G localization; Derivation of final results in 3GPP compliant simulations for several use cases with multiple localization techniques.
• Development of methods to improve each single technology through geometric and machine learning algorithms, and to fuse diverse RAT-independent technologies with cellular measurements for positioning, advancing the state of the art in each field of investigation, targeting specifically: (i) Wi-Fi at sub-6 GHz, (ii) Wi-Fi at mmWave, (iii) NR and UWB, LTE, (iv) Wi-Fi and UWB, (v) NR and GNSS, (vi) NR, Wi-Fi and UWB.
• Derivation of fundamental performance limits for Device Free Localization (DFL); Experiment with real outdoor channel measurements at 28 GHz using the 5G VINNI testbed at Samsung UK together with indoor UWB and mmWave MIMO radars
• Definition of location-enabled network management functionalities grouped under four main use cases: (i) “Knowledge Building for Network Management”; (ii) “Location-aware Network Planner”; (iii) “Location aware Network Optimization”; (iv) “Location-aware Network Diagnosis/Troubleshooting in 5G”. Deployment of the virtualization platform in the LOCUS testbed; Consolidation of the LOCUS MANO towards the final prototype
• Research and development of new services and related functionalities, which were successfully integrated into relevant proofs-of-concept;
• A COVID-19 focus group involving many partners has been formed to develop efficient tools for flow monitoring and controlling the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
•   A LOCUS Platform prototype setup in the OTE testbed and the successful realization of 3 proof-of-concepts;
• A number of 76 peer-reviewed works, among joint and individual, have been already published, mainly in top-tier journal.
• LOCUS project will publish a peer-reviewed Wiley-IEEE book together with other experts on localization and positioning. The book is expected to be published in 2023.
•  The standardization work has led to a total of 32 standardization contributions and 5 open-source contributions.
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.

Three proof-of-concepts (PoCs) were successfully realized:
•  PoC1 demonstrates the LOCUS Platform Capabilities, in delivering real-time positioning and actionable analytics for network management.
•  PoC2 goal is to simulate operation of logistics in a seaport terminal where Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) are used to shuttle general cargo freights between the reception and the warehouse area at goods arrival in the seaport and between the warehouse area and the crane during the loading operations.
•  The purpose of PoC3 is to demonstrate the delivery of Location-based analytics as a Service to 3rd parties on two different levels.

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