Connecting at EuCNC 2018

Team Martel are back from a busy but rewarding edition of EuCNC that was held last week in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Clocking up its 27th edition, this European telecommunications and networking conference has been around since the founding stages of the European Union and it’s a major event where European communication networks researchers, innovators and policy makers meet.

Martel's Monique Calisti and Pavlos Fournogerakis from the EC

EuCNC’s tagline this year was “5G and beyond”, so focus was squarely on the latest progress on the 5G developments and adoption, taking a forward-looking perspective at next generation networks for several vertical market segments. For Martel, discussions, contacts and work in Ljubljana confirmed we are fully aligned with the strategic vision of the industry and doing our part to realise it, both as active players in the 5G PPP context and as members of the 5G Infrastructure Association.

Martel was involved as an active player in several projects: eWINE, ORCA, FLAME, To-Euro-5G, Fed4FIRE, and EXCITING; presenting projects’ results and upcoming initiatives via booths, special sessions and workshops.

eWine project booth at EuCNC

For the first time, Martel also showcased our own product, Orchestra Cities, at the 5G PPP SMEs booth. Orchestra Cities is a smart city platform, developed in cooperation with Ubiwhere and Therapaenis, which delivers a data and IoT-driven solution allowing the collaborative creation of Smart Cities involving different stakeholders through Open APIs and Open Data.

EuCNC was also a great validation of the strong and trusted relations we have developed with our partners. Together we were able to present our shared projects’ results widely and promote the impact of the activities that we are pursuing with top players across the research and innovation landscape in Europe and beyond.

Monique Calisti from Martel talks tech

Sitting down after her trip to EuCNC, Martel executive director Dr. Monique Calisti took some time to talk technology, innovation, and the future of interconnectivity.

Q: How is the European Commission supporting the implementation of 5G?

A: It was really great to see where the industry is going and how the European Commission is supporting the continent’s leadership in this global challenge. 5G is turning into a deployable technology, and clearly hyperconnectivity as enabled by 5G is affecting profoundly how effectively digital transformation is transforming the European market and society.

Q: What were the main takeaways of this EuCNC?

A: 5G deployment is on the horizon, but not fully outlined

  • There are several testing and validation initiatives on their way, but we need to ensure the whole EU innovation players have access to them to accelerate time-to-market.
  • Clarity on spectrum allocation is increasing, although more work, also at regulatory level, needs to be done.

In general, I think 5G is still far from accomplishing its full promise and Europe must change gear in the global race not to be left behind. This essentially means Phase 3 of the 5G PPP is crucial and all key stakeholders should align on priorities and concrete plans to ensure rapid uptake of 5G beyond isolated initiatives.

5G PPP booth at EuCNC

Q: From what you saw, where is the future of the field?

A: Discussion around the future beyond 5G has started. There are several aspects that will need further work and major investments that need to be considered:

  • radio continuum, from low to high frequency seamless use
  • connectivity between 5G and satellite communications
  • high performance packet processing (HPC) for 5G;
  • cloud native networks
  • user experience centric networks
  • use cases requiring beyond 5G KPIs to be improved, especially for critical applications in healthcare and industry 4.0

I expect to see in the next year more clarity on how all the bits and pieces will combine into viable solutions that are not only performant, but cost-effective. This will require to also understand what kind of implications a number of technologies such as IoT, AI, blockchain, etc., will contribute to shape the next generation communications.

Q : In terms of innovation, what was most remarkable?

A: At EuCNC I got to mingle with a great crowd – universities, SMEs, industrial representatives and smaller players, all full of enthusiasm and truly taking advantage of the event to push their business to market. I think the most innovative aspect, very tangible this year, was to see that the 5G community is embracing others in a more systematic way, including the IoT-LSP, the satellite community, the software/cloud computing one, the next generation internet initiative, but also the Big Data players.

Q: What about next year?

A: As active players in the 5G PPP arena, we have already started working on EuCNC 2019, that will be co-located with the 7th Global 5G Event. Martel’s team is already coordinating with our partners on various fronts to make it a memorable event. This must become the appointment at which concrete deployment of 5G and its impacts in various vertical market segments will be showcased.