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Advanced MUltimedia SErvices for residential users

Objective

The aim of the AMUSE project is to carry out experiments on the provision of interactive and distributive multimedia services to real residential users (in the order of ten per trial island). Services will be demonstrated in field trials carried out in different islands, using a state-of-the-art end-to-end ATM infrastructure (from Terminal Equipment to Multimedia Server), through various types of Access Networks.

A number of experiments are planned to thoroughly assess both service and technology aspects related to the adopted delivery platforms.
Demonstration of multimedia services delivered to real residential users through trials using experimental platforms: the first trial started in Munich on May 14, 1996 and closed on August 19; the second trial started in Milan on September 9 and is still running; the third trial started in Basel on October 21 and closed on January 20
Experiments on trial interconnection (Italy/Portugal, Germany/Switzerland)
Design and development of a first set of diverse appealing applications, with attractive contents ensured by a number of content providers
Assessment of preliminary results of trials and experiments: positive indications in terms of infrastructure performances and user acceptance of the offered services
Dissemination, exploitation and advertising of the activities carried out and the results obtained, and contributions to standards bodies, publications, press releases, presentations and demonstrations
Integration of platforms for trials in Reykjavik and Mons (start 1997)
Specification of up-graded ADSL access technology for advanced Phase 1
Development and integration of functionalities/units for Switched Video Broadcasting (SVB)
Preliminary Requirements specification of Network Architecture, Interfaces and Services for Phase 2
Development of the DSM-CC U-N Session Manager Unit
Preliminary design specification of Phase 2 set-top box chip
Launch of Contents Providers Forum
Promotion and active participation in the activities of the Chains (currently leading the SII chain) and Domain 1

Next achievements planned
Requirement specifications for Network Architecture, Interfaces, Protocols and Services for the new access technologies deployed in phase 2 (ATM PON and HRF)
Definition of the objectives, platforms and guidelines for Phase 2 experiments, taking account of the results of Phase 1 and the evolution of the state-of-the-art
Definition and development of new services and applications for Phase 2
Completion of the advanced set-top chip (OMI)
Analysis of results from Content Providers Forum
Expected Impact
Established synergies within the consortium, both inside and outside the project framework, are expected to have a positive impact on the performance of European business. Dissemination of results will further contribute to raising awareness of and demand for advanced communications and services in an area which is strategically important for Europe.

Main contributions to the programme objectives:
Main deliverables
The project demonstrated the provision of interactive and distributive multimedia services (with support of MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 streaming), including fast access to Internet, to real residential users. Services have been demonstrated over an end-to-end ATM infrastructure in 11 field trials which have been carried out in 7 different locations; Basel, Milan, Mons, Munich, Aveiro/Lisbon and Reykjavik.
Contribution to the programme
The trial results have helped to drive the new strategies for the provisioning of advanced multimedia services. They have shown the way towards a more rapid and effective deployment of broadband technologies. Validation of advanced access network systems prototypes is already impacting products and services.

Technical Approach
The project will consist of two phases, each one resulting in demonstrations as follows :

First demonstration phase
services supported by switched ATM end-to-end connections
ADSL, HFC and FTTC/FTTB access network technologies
ADSL upgrade from 4 to 8 Mbit/s downstream and from 64 to 640 kbit/s to allow for higher interactivity and higher quality video
low-medium interactivity services supported
MPEG1 audio/video;
provisioning of Switched Video Broadcasting (SVB), using multicasting capabilities and zapping control

Second demonstration phase
extended support of DAVIC 1.0 specs
advanced ATM PON access network in the Italian trial and Hybrid Fibre-Radio (HFR) in the German trial
more user-friendly and interactive services: Tourist/Cultural Info, Infomercial, Personalised News,...
MPEG2 audio and video
low cost, highly integrated set-top box with enhanced user interface, developed with the funding of the OMI Programme

Besides collecting results to validate the viability of the adopted solutions, a discussion Forum on Contents and Services will be set up, involving content and service providers in order to assess indications for content creation/delivery.
Summary of Trial
User trials involving real residential users are foreseen in the project framework, relying on different national trial islands. Each trial will be characterised by different access network typologies (ADSL, HFC, FTTC/FTTB, ATM PON, HFR), service offerings, categories of users and national regulatory rules and constraints.
Key Issues
In the service domain, the project plans to:
demonstrate the provision of advanced multimedia services to real residential users in a number of different areas: entertainment (e.g. movie on demand, broadcast services), commercial (e.g. home shopping), information (e.g. news on demand), education (e.g. distance learning)
thoroughly evaluate the user perception and acceptance of the demonstrated services
demonstrate the possibility of offering high quality multimedia services with different levels of interactivity, ranging from no interaction (e.g. broadcast services) to a reasonably high level of interaction (e.g. teleshopping and teleworking)
analyse the relationship between Interactive Multimedia and Internet and the possibility of accessing them via different terminal equipment, from PCs to set-top boxes, taking careful consideration of the evolution of the latter towards Network Computing Devices
In the delivery platform domain, the project expects to achieve the best overall system solution by addressing the following key issues:
effective integration in each trial island of a number of different equipment components supplied by different manufacturers
adoption of alternative access network solutions (e.g. ADSL, Hybrid Fibre Coax, ATM Passive Optical Networks) in the different islands
good compliance with B-ISDN and emerging DAVIC specifications
demonstration of the benefits associated with the adoption of a switched ATM network to offer the flexibility and bandwidth allocation specifically required to support audio-visual and multimedia services
viability of the adopted system choices for supporting new services

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

Italtel
Address
Piazzale Zavattari 1
20019 Settimo Milanese Milano
Italy

Participants (24)

ATEA
Belgium
Autor - Tecnologias Multimédia
Portugal
Centro Studi e Laboratori Telecomunicazioni SpA
Italy
Address
Via G. Reiss Romoli, 274
10148 Torino
Deutsche Telekom AG
Germany
GPT Ltd
United Kingdom
IDEA
Belgium
INESC
Portugal
McCann Erickson
Italy
NTUA
Greece
Nyherji
Iceland
OnLine Media
United Kingdom
Orckit
Israel
Portugal Telecom-CET
Portugal
Post and Telecom Iceland
Iceland
SIEMENS AG
Germany
Address
Wittelsbacher Platz 2
Siemens Nixdorf
Germany
Siemens Switzerland
Switzerland
Sirti SpA
Italy
Address
Via G.b. Pirelli, 20
20124 Milano
Swiss Telecom PTT
Switzerland
Telecom Italia SpA
Italy
Address
Via S. Dalmazzo 15
10122 Torino
UNIVERSITAET STUTTGART
Germany
Address
Holzgartenstrasse 17
70049 Stuttgart
UNIVERSITY OF ICELAND
Iceland
Address
Sudurgata 1
University of Bonn
Germany
Videotime
Italy
Address
Viale Europa 44
20093 Cologno Monzese