Πέμπτη 14 Δεκεμβρίου 2023
Divani Caravel
Αίθουσα Βεργίνα

Research-oriented Workshop:
“Modern Research and Development Projects:
Creating the Pillar for Investment and Innovations in the ICT Converged (Vertical) Markets”

Organized and coordinated by:
Dr. Ioannis P. Chochliouros
Telecommunications Engineer, M.Sc., Ph.D.
Member of IPv6 Hall of Fame
Head of Fixed Network R&D Programs Section

Research and Development Department, Fixed & Mobile
Core Network DevOps & Technology Strategy Division, Fixed & Mobile
Hellenic Telecommunications Organization S.A. (OTE)

Τel.: (+30) 210-6114651
Email: ichochliouros@oteresearch.gr


The present Workshop entitled as “Modern Research and Development Projects: Creating the Pillar for Investment and Innovations in the ICT Converged (Vertical) Markets” within the framework of the Infocom World 2023 Conference and Exhibition aims to deal with several potential challenges rising from ongoing EU-funded research (i.e., either specific projects and/or wider innovative frameworks) allowing to identify, describe, evaluate and assess corresponding network and services solutions, especially from the 5G/5BG operational framework, that will boost the telecommunications market as well as other relevant vertical markets to higher levels and, in parallel, will create the framework for realizing investments and promoting innovation, for the benefit of all involved end-users (corporate, residential, State Authorities, organizations and many more).

The Workshop is organized in twelve (-12-) thematic Sessions comprising in total of forty-three (-43-) distinct presentations, so that to present both the scope and results of related 5G EU-funded projects as well as to identify further opportunities for growth. There are strong conceptual interactivities and common “grounds” between the thematic contexts of these sessions. The proposed distinction can be assessed as “indicative” and as “oriented to related ongoing EU topics”, following, among others, the 5G-PPP/H2020 and/or the current Horizon Europe / SNS framework.
In particular, twenty-three (-23-) European projects are discussed, while there are six (-6-) sessions with more than one presentations dedicated to a specific European project. The other sessions are aligned to current European research initiatives and have been structured in a way to “better depict and/or to elucidate in more depth” the corresponding domains.

In the following sections we discuss, in each one, the corresponding fundamental context per case, together with references to the scope of the related EU-funded projects.

Session 1 intends to focus upon the framework of the on-going OASEES European Project. The “core” aim is about creating a new programmability framework that will allow edge devices to work together in a decentralized and secure way, using advanced technologies, taking full advantage of 5G facilities. In particular, OASEES aims to create an open, decentralized, intelligent, programmable edge framework for Swarm architectures and applications, leveraging the Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) paradigm and integrating Human-in-the-Loop (HITL) processes for efficient decision making. OASEES’ vision is to provide the open tools and secure environments for swarm programming and orchestration for numerous fields, in a completely decentralized manner.
An important aspect in the intended process is identification and identity management, in which OASEES “targets” the implementation of a portable and privacy preserving ID federation system, for edge devices and services, with full compliance and compatibility to GAIA-X federation and IDSA (International-Data-Spaces-Association) trust directives and specifications. This situation solidifies the need for an integrated enabler framework tailored to the edge’s extreme data processing demands, using different edge accelerators, i.e. GPU (Graphics Processing Unit), NPU (Neural Processing Unit), SNN (Spiking Neural Network) and Quantum. OASEES proposes a dynamic, decentralized, agile and secure architecture for collaborative smart nodes at the edge, supporting heterogeneous device communication, backed by the DAO paradigm integration. Of particular importance is OASEES’ relevance to a set of six distinct vertical use cases (related to eHealth applications, smart grid management, high mast inspection, structural safety assessment for buildings, smart factory over I4.0 and predictive maintenance for wind turbines), engaging a diverse set of stakeholders and being able to promote innovation in the market.

Session 2 focuses on the innovative scope of the on-going Smart5Grid 5G-PPP Project. The inclusion of 5G creates major opportunities for investments and growth in the energy vertical market. Based on the framework of the Smart5Grid effort, this session emphasizes on some among the proposed use cases with direct market impact covering a diverse set of applications. Smart5Grid proposes a novel architecture and develops suitable Network Applications (NetApps), able to be used by third parties. 5G networks constitute an important ingredient for the development of smart grid technologies, allowing the grid to “adapt better” to the dynamics of renewable energy and distributed generation. Smart grid capabilities promise to control easier bi-directional power flows and to monitor, control, and support distributed energy resources.
The 5G mobile networks will help to integrate previously unconnected devices to smart grids for accurate monitoring and improved forecasting of their energy needs. Managing energy demand will become more efficient, requiring less investments, as the smart grid will be able to balance easier the energy load, to reduce electricity peaks, and ultimately, to reduce energy costs. 5G shall enable better efficiency, observability and controllability of the power system, especially at the distribution side. Energy suppliers will be able to collect and store power grid related data at much faster rates, ensuring secure and stable power supply, while risk mitigation and fault management will become simple and more straightforward.
In this session, specific emphasis is given inter-alia about potential opportunities offered to serve both energy market operators (Transmission System Operators (TSOs) and Distribution System Operators (DSOs)) and telecom market operators providing 5G, as in cases describing: (i) Real-time Wide Area Monitoring between Greece and Bulgaria and; (ii) Millisecond Level Precise Distributed Generation Monitoring and Maintenance in Renewable Energy Resources (RES) Installations.

Session 3 is focused around the scope and the activities of the on-going DATAMITE European Project that foresees to revolutionalise the European Data Market by helping users, such SMEs, large enterprises and public administrations, to better monetize, govern and enhance the trust of their data, empowering them to become new relevant players in the data economy.
DATAMITE empowers European companies by delivering a modular, open-source and multi-domain Framework to improve DATA Monetizing, Interoperability, Trading and Exchange, in the form of software modules, training, and business materials. In particular, this project unleashes the monetization potential at two levels, that is: (i) At internal level, users will have tools to improve quality management of their data, the adherence to FAIR (Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability and Reusability) principles, and will be able to upskill on technical and business aspects thanks to the multiple open-source training materials the project will generate. Therefore, data will become trustable and more reliable also in other paradigms like Artificial Intelligence (AI); (ii) at external level, keeping users in control of their data will provide new sources of revenue and interaction with other stakeholders. The architecture envisioned for DATAMITE enables DIHs (Digital Innovation Hubs) sandboxing, becoming a potential instructor on their onboarding of SMEs and low-tech SMEs into the data economy. Together, DATAMITE’s solutions will function as a catalyst to boost data monetization in the European productive fabric.
DATAMITE will validate the results in three (3) different use cases with a total of six (6) pilots, demonstrating that the related framework is interoperable and usable in different domains and user needs, as: (i) Intra-corporate, multi-domain data exchange; (ii) data trading among Data Spaces, and; (iii) integration with other initiatives as Data Markets, EU AI-on-demand platform or DIHs. Sectors of prime importance covered by the pilots are: agriculture, energy, industrial and manufacturing and climate.

Session 4 is structured around the context and the vision proposed by the activities of the on-going NANCY European SNS Project.
The overall aim of NANCY’s effort is about introducing a secure and intelligent architecture for the beyond the fifth generation (B5G) wireless network. In particular, leveraging AI and blockchain, NANCY enables secure and intelligent resource management, flexible networking and orchestration. In this direction, novel architectures, namely point-to-point (P2P) connectivity for device-to-device connectivity, mesh networking and relay-based communications, as well as protocols for medium access, mobility management and resource allocation are to be designed. These architectures and protocols will make the most by jointly optimizing the midhaul and fronthaul.
By following a holistic optimization approach and leveraging the developments in blockchain, NANCY’s intention is to enable end-to-end (E2E) personalised, multi-tenant and perpetual protection wireless networking by developing three complementary technologies for beyond 5G systems in an integrated and innovative way. Based upon three distinct pillars, NANCY will: (i) Develop new radio access network (RAN) technologies using blockchain, that will boost the dynamic scalability of network capabilities by enabling the coordination of existing business and individual infrastructures, while, at the same time, offer unpresented high security and privacy through post quantum cryptography (PQC) – (Pillar I); (ii) employ Machine Learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to transform beyond 5G RANs into intelligent platforms and introduce new service models to telecom/ISP and individual providers – (Pillar II), and; (iii) exploit the opportunities emerging for multi-access edge computing (MEC) in order to provide almost-zero latency and high-computational capabilities at the edge – (Pillar III).
These are expected to enable truly distributed intelligence and transform the network to a low-power computer. Finally, in order to accommodate the particularities of the new RAN that are generated due to the use of novel building blocks, such as blockchain, multi-access edge computing (MEC) and AI, a new experimentally-verified information-theoretic framework will be designed and presented, being able to support technological innovation and propose new business models.

Session 5 deals with the initiative for the establishment and operation of modern 6G-IA experimentation facilities within the SNS framework.
The session incorporates material and information coming from the on-going 6G-BRICKS Project and the 6G-SANDBOX Project, being the two among the three actual European projects aiming at developing EU-wide experimentation platforms that can incorporate promising technical 6G enablers for their further validation. “Key aspects” for these projects are the reusability and ability to evolve of the experimental platforms over the lifetime of the SNS programme. Accessibility and openness with well-defined and clearly-documented technological and business interfaces are also considered key assets of the infrastructures to be developed.
More specifically, 6G-BRICKS aims to deliver a new trusted, agile and evolvable 6G experimentation facility, building on the baseline of mature ICT-52 platforms, bringing breakthrough Cell-Free (CF) and RIS (Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces) technologies that have shown promise for beyond 5G (5BG) networks. 6G-BRICKS focuses on advanced use cases in holographic communication, metaverse and digital twinning, showcasing the benefits of 6G breakthrough technologies and architecture. This project will demonstrate the technological feasibility of “better than 5G” KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) in terms of capacity, reliability, location accuracy and energy efficiency and will validate a set of KVIs (Key Value Indicators) jointly defined with 4 ICT-52 baseline projects (i.e.: MARSAL, REINDEER, RISE-6G, HEXA-X). Among the core ambitions are: (i) the support of disaggregated and programmable Software-Defined Infrastructures (SDIs), adopting virtualisation, softwarisation and O-RAN compliant interfaces to promote modularity and reusability; (ii) the offering of a fully decentralised management plane, supporting zero-touch orchestration of computer and communication resources based on Explainable AI; (iii) the offering of a Compute Continuum abstraction framework supporting a disaggregated wireless X-Ηaul, and; (iv) the delivery of breakthrough technologies towards a 6G-RAN (Radio Access Network) via distributed Cell-Free and RIS. 6G-BRICKS will so provide a secure and trusted Experimentation Facility for multiple concurrent tenants and experimentation platforms, based on Explainable AI and Machine Reasoning. All enablers will be delivered in the form of reusable components with open APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), termed as “bricks“.
On the other hand, the 6G-SANDBOX Project brings a complete and modular facility for the European experimentation ecosystem in the pathway towards 6G. The target is at technologies and research advances, that span over the entire service provisioning chain, and refer to user/data, control and management planes. In this direction, 6G-SANDBOX introduces the concept of Trial Networks, which refers to fully configurable, manageable and controlled end-to-end networks, composed of both digital and physical nodes. Meant to create tangible and long-term impact, the 6G KPIs and KVIs that will be quantified with the facility, will be released to any interested party; while the set of developments and APIs that will be produced, will feed an open repository as an initial step to move the contributions and the lessons learned beyond that project’s boarders and define a European 6G library.
This session has also included information from the original context of the EVOLVED-5G Project, focusing on aspects about experimentation and validation openness for long-term evolution of vertical industries in 5G era and beyond. It particular, it has included description of the achieved an “all-in-one” 5G Network Application programmability suite.

Session 6 deals with the initiative for the establishment of novel architectural frameworks for the support of B5G/6G infrastructures. To this aim, the session collects information and/or updates originating from three related European projects, that is: MARSAL, HORSE and ADROIT6G.
This session incorporates aspects originating from the mature progress of the on-going MARSAL Project, targeting the development and evaluation of a complete framework for the management and orchestration of network resources in 5G and beyond, by utilising a converged optical-wireless network infrastructure in the access and fronthaul/midhaul segments. MARSAL proposes a new paradigm of elastic virtual infrastructures that integrate – in a transparent manner – a variety of novel radio access, networking, management and security technologies, which will be developed to deliver end-to-end transfer, processing and storage services in an efficient and secured way. MARSAL focuses on three pillars to enable a new generation of ultra-dense, cost-efficient, flexible and secure networks, that is: network design pillar, virtual elastic infrastructure pillar, and network security pillar.
For the network design pillar, MARSAL pushes cell-free (CF) networking towards the distributed processing cell-free concept, and enables wireless mmWave solutions, which will be implemented and integrated with existing vRAN elements, while being in-line with the O-RAN Alliance. MARSAL’s second pillar is built based on the Elastic Edge Computing notion, targeting to optimize the functionality of the Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) and the network slicing management systems via a hierarchy of analytic and decision engines. Under its third pillar, MARSAL proposes novel Machine Learning (ML) based mechanisms that guarantee privacy and security in multi-tenancy environments, targeting both end-users and tenants. This will allow applications and users to maintain control over their data when relying on the deployed shared infrastructures, while AI and Blockchain technologies will be developed, to guarantee a secured multi-tenant slicing environment.
Based upon MARSAL’s original framework, other aspects have also been incorporated such as options for wireless X-HAUL evolution towards deploying 6G networks, in parallel with initiatives for network softwarization for enhanced efficiency and performance.
6G mobile network will allow the development of new and innovative network management strategies and software-based paradigms in architecting and operating future connectivity platforms. These platforms will offer higher computing and automation capabilities as well as increased trust, privacy and security. However, the features of such advanced, virtualised and multi-vendor 6G-based infrastructures are still being investigated, and they represent a challenge to autonomous, secure and resilient design. The EU-funded HORSE Project proposes an innovative human-centric, open-source, green, sustainable and coordinated provisioning and protection platform that can inclusively combine advancements in several domains as they get added to the system, including predictive AI and digital twins.
The session also comprises the on-going ADROIT6G Project that proposes disruptive innovations in the architecture of emerging 6G mobile networks intending to realize fundamental changes to the way networks are designed, implemented, operated, and maintained. Such innovations include: (i) AI/ML-powered optimizations across the entire network, for high performance and automation; (ii) Transforming the cellular network to a fully cloud-native network software, which can be implemented across a variety of edge-cloud platforms, including Non-Terrestrial Networks, and; (iii) Software-driven, zero-touch operations and ultimately automation of every aspect of the network and the services it delivers.

Session 7 discusses examples of investments in the market for achieving uninterrupted 5G connectivity. The scope is mainly oriented to the on-going 5G SEAGUL and AMBITIOUS Projects.
Several activities for the development of digital solutions based on 5G (and B5G) technology is currently taking off in many parts of Europe giving businesses and consumers many opportunities for connecting and efficiently interacting with other business partners, service providers, social networks and other market actors. New ecosystems and value networks will evolve and many business opportunities will occur.
The 5G Seamless Roaming for the Greece-Bulgaria Cross-Border Corridor (5G SEAGUL) Project targets the deployment and upgrade of 5G RAN, Core and transport elements along the Greek and Bulgarian highways of the Orient / East-Med (OEM) TEN-T corridor, in order to support Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM) services along the GR-BG section of this corridor. More specifically, approximately 300 kms of highway on the Greek (GR) side and 173 kms of highway on the Bulgarian (BG) side will be covered with uninterrupted 5G connectivity, using two pioneer bands, namely the 700 MHz and the 3.5 GHz bands. The 5G SEAGUL Project has a strong cross-border orientation, as the GR-BG border-crossing point will be extensively covered on both GR and BG sides, using both bands and special focus activities will be undertaken for the optimum network interconnection and roaming / handover configuration, while the smooth handover experienced by connected vehicles will also be measured and validated via real-life cross-border trials. This project uses the CEF2 (Connecting Europe Facility 2) co-funding scheme to speed up the deployment and upgrade of 5G connectivity along the GR and BG highways by 2025, in otherwise deprioritized areas for 5G deployment and thus enabling more efficient, smart, sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility along one of the major EU transport paths.
The main goal of AMBITIOUS is to provide a fundamental technological infrastructure, which will provide advanced data aggregation and clean-up, analytics, AI-enabled forecasting and secure information exchange mechanisms, via a transparent computing continuum infrastructure, to be integrated with existing, mature services (of at least TRL6) of the relevant stakeholders (SMEs), unleashing for them yet unforeseen functionalities and opening up new pathways of commercial exploitation. The envisaged fundamental infrastructure will be provided via the deployment of technological pillars, which will interact with existing services towards supporting the envisioned functionalities.

Session 8 emphasizes on the context of assessing AI for the support of cyber resilience and (cyber-) security in modern 5G (or B5G) infrastructures. As networks expand and the number of endpoints multiplies, identifying anomalies and vulnerabilities becomes a critical challenge. AI can be a critical factor to accelerate threat detection and response mechanisms while sifting through extended data sets. This is critical to cyber resilience. AI solutions can identify shadow data, monitor for abnormalities in data access and alert cybersecurity professionals about potential threats by anyone accessing the data or sensitive information, thus saving valuable time in detecting and remediating issues in real time. As a consequence, it is issue of prime importance to understand the overall digital infrastructure context and then to analyse and predict the possible threats and incidents in real-time so that quick and accurate responses can be taken into consideration for ensuring resilience of service delivery. Additionally, collaborative response and sharing of threat intelligence information is necessary to create overall awareness and increase the response capability of all stakeholders within the ecosystem. This session presents innovative scopes as proposed by the frameworks of the on-going PHOENI2X, TRACY, CyberSecDome and ReWire EU-funded Projects.
The PHOENI2X Project aims to design, develop and deliver a Cyber Resilience Framework tailored to the needs of Operators of Essential Services and the EU Member State National Authorities entrusted with cybersecurity. PHOENI2X’s holistic approach integrates Prevention, Detection & Response via a fully-featured baseline toolset into a Cyber Resilience Framework featuring AI-assisted Situational Awareness, Prediction & Response, providing enhanced and up-to-date view of the threat landscape, early warning and attack prediction capabilities, and alert and response prioritization driven by a business impact risk assessment. Through the deployment of PHOENI2X Cyber Resilience Centres, the Operators of Essential Services (OES) will gain: (i) enhanced Situational Awareness with AI-assisted Prediction, Prevention, Detection and Response capabilities, and business risk impact assessment-based prioritisation; (ii) proactive and reactive Resilience Automation, Orchestration, and Response (ROAR) mechanisms, providing Business Continuity, Recover and Cyber & Physical Incident Response, and; (iii) increased Preparedness through relevant Serious Games and realistic Resilience Cyber Range (RCR) Assessment & Training.
The TRACY Project aims to develop cutting-edge data analytics and artificial intelligence solutions to address the challenges of crime resolution by LEAs (Law Enforcement Agencies) while adhering to the regulations set by the European Union and its Member States regarding the collection of evidence data.
In particular, TRACY intends at gaining a deeper understanding of the operational procedures involved in resolving crimes, particularly focusing on data-driven evidence processing. This includes investigating the methods, tools, and type of evidence data utilized. The proposed solution will be an open-source platform that utilizes AI and telecommunications metadata in an fully operational environment, by running large scale pilots on the premises of a LEA participating in this project, while respecting fundamental rights and personal data protection laws, such as the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). For greater impact, the solution will be validated by additional LEAs – partners, with the intention of continued use beyond the contractual completion of the effort.
Organisations across the sectors significantly benefit from digital transformation to support evolving business models, services and customer experience. Despite the benefits of digital infrastructure adoption, there are numerous security challenges that could pose any digital disruption and risks for the critical service delivery and overall business continuity. The CyberSecDome Project will integrate advanced virtuality reality (VR) to extend the capability of the security solutions aiming to enhance security, privacy and resilience of the broader Digital Infrastructure. This project will consider AI-enabled security solutions to provide a better prediction of cybersecurity threats and related risks towards an efficient and dynamic incident management and optimise collaborative response among the stakeholders within the Digital Infrastructure ecosystem.
CyberSecDome aims to provide a set of AI-Empowered security tools used to ensure that every digital infrastructure operates even in adverse circumstances and can recover quickly following cyberattacks. The tools will be used to predict and detect incidents, automate pen-testing, assess ongoing risks, respond to attacks and recover digital infrastructure services in a very efficient manner. Second, CyberSecDome provides its users with an interactive advanced Virtual Reality-based interface that enhances their understanding of the digital infrastructure to protect and enable them with so-called situational awareness about the detected attacks and ongoing risks. Finally, CyberSecDome will facilitate effective collaboration and coordination among the different stakeholders and cybersecurity agencies to prevent widespread disruption due to the domino effect of cyber-attacks and to coordinate sophisticated large-scale incident response strategies.
REWIRE envisions a holistic framework for continuous security assessment of open-source and open-specification hardware and software for IoT devices and the development of cybersecurity certification in accordance with the requirements and guidelines of recent EU regulation Cyber security Act. The proposed scalable and multifunctional cybersecurity platform will ensure the security throughout the life of the IoT devices with continuous security auditing, trust computing and theorem proofs for defining a HW based microarchitecture for enhanced protection targeting to open-hardware / software vulnerabilities. A certification procedure of the audited software and hardware components will propose new software security metrics and establish a layer of trust between stakeholders, utilizing Blockchain and smart contracts.

Session 9 focuses on the discussion/assessment of challenges towards promoting 5G innovations for vertical sectors with third party services, via the design, establishment, deployment, operation and validation of dedicated open platforms; these will be able of effectively offering access to networks resources used to develop suitable NetApps, on top of 5G virtualised experimental environments to support requirements and developments from specific vertical sectors. This session specifically focuses on (-3-) among the nine (-9-) fundamental European projects of the corresponding initiative (while an additional one related to the Smart5Grid Project has been covered in a previous dedicated section), here dealing with the media sector, the Industry 4.0 and healthcare as well as the Transport & Logistics verticals, correspondingly). Thus the present session discusses:
(i) The case of the 5GMediaHub Project that aims to help EU to achieve the goal of becoming a world leader in 5G, by accelerating the testing and validation of innovative 5G-empowered media applications and corresponding NetApps from 3rd party experimenters and NetApps developers, through an open, integrated and fully featured Experimentation Facility. This will significantly reduce not only the service creation lifecycle but also the time to market barrier, thus providing such actors that are primarily from SMEs, with a competitive advantage against their rivals outside EU. In particular, 5GMediaHUB will build and operate an elastic, secure and trusted multi-tenant service execution and NetApps development environment based on an open cloud-based architecture and APIs; This will be achieved by developing and integrating a testing and validation system with existing well-established 5G testbeds, for enabling the fast prototyping, testing and validation of novel 5G media services and NetApps, thus offering various benefits to the involved actors.
(ii) The context of the 5G-ERA Project that is oriented towards a user-centric paradigm of integrating vertical knowledge into the existing standardised 5G testing framework to improve Quality of Experience (QoE). This project “addresses” the new challenges on experimental facilities for the vertical developers and designers. Robot autonomy is essential for many 5G vertical sectors and can provide multiple benefits in automated mobility, Industry 4.0 and healthcare. 5G technology, on the other hand, has the great potential to enhance the robot autonomy. Use cases from four vertical sectors, namely public protection and disaster relief (PPDR), transport, healthcare and manufacturing shall be validated in the project’s context, by rapid prototyping of NetApp solutions and enhanced vertical experiences on autonomy. These case studies can be regarded as explicit “showcases” of the potential of 5G and 5G-ERA to the acceleration of the ongoing convergence of robotics, AI & cloud computing.
(iii) The VITAL-5G Project intends to advance the already offered Transport & Logistics (T&L) services by engaging significant logistics stakeholders (sea and river port authorities, road logistics operators, warehouse/hub logistic operators, etc.) as well as innovative SMEs. The strategic objective of the effort is to create an open, virtualised and flexible experimentation facility comprised of an intelligent virtual platform, three distributed European 5G-testbeds and associated vertical infrastructure, so that to enable the testing and validation of T&L Network Applications (NetApps) in real-life conditions, by utilising 5G connectivity. VITAL-5G’s vision for NetApps will allow for the development of a strong sectoral T&L ecosystem of vertical stakeholders (internal and external), which will be facilitated via the collaborative open tools and open repository delivered by this project. In such an open format collaboration, multiple NetApps will be developed, reused, enhanced and validated owed to the complementary facilities offered by VITAL-5G infrastructure. The combination of advanced 5G testbeds with vertical specialised facilities and infrastructure through an open service validation platform will create a unique opportunity for third parties (such as SMEs) to reuse the VITAL-5G NetApps as well as to validate their T&L-related solutions and services utilising real-life resources and facilities otherwise unavailable to them, with a view to driving new SME revenues.
By extending the scope proposed by VITAL-5G we also present the on-going HORIZON TRACE Project targeting to offer a universal platform with functionalities related to planning, scheduling, optimization and events management. TRACE practically aims to: integrate, harmonize and orchestrate independent logistics operations with heterogeneous processes; design and implement an intelligent platform for combining open and shared logistics services for enhancing transparent collaboration activities; design and implement the appropriate AI modules for supporting the automated synchromodal services in the logistics domain; implement the appropriate infrastructure for supporting dynamic flows towards the optimization of logistics services; implement a set of European demonstrators adopting intelligent logistics operations in real traffic conditions; perform studies on barriers and opportunities for realizing a logistics networks as well as on novel business models for future logistics operations and on the governance of logistics networks and regulations around Europe and worldwide.

Session 10 discusses aspects from the development of optical networks as real “enablers” for realizing the vision of the 5th Generation Fixed Network (F5G).
The advanced communication networks require heterogeneous emerging technologies to be combined while enabling various future applications. The integration of 5G wireless and optical technology is considered an unavoidable approach to reach this goal. With its capability to support enhanced fixed broadband, guaranteed reliable experience, full fiber connection, energy-efficient broadband communication, real-time broadband communication, and harmonized communication and sensing, F5G is well positioned to not only support mobile networks, but also complement them to jointly meet the ever-increasing communication demands in the era of 5G and 6G.
PROMETHEUS Project aims at building a multi-purpose photonic integrated circuit that will offer a unified photonic processor. This multipurpose chip is the ideal platform to leverage emerging concepts such as spiking networks, reservoir computing, convolutional optical networks and quantum neural networks. The end-goal is to “address” two key industry-driven applications: high-speed image processing for biomedical/industrial applications (cytometry/laser scanning) and optical signal processing at the network’s edge. This platform will also unlock quantum random number generator (QRNG) modules and as a cyber-secure photonic physical unclonable function (PUF). A photonic accelerator is a special class of processor placed at the front end of a digital computer, which is optimized to perform a specific function but does so faster with less power consumption than an electronic general-purpose processor. It can process images or time-serial data either in an analog or digital fashion on a real-time basis. Photonic accelerators are designed to accelerate specific categories of computing in the optical domain, especially matrix multiplication, to “address” the growing demand for computing resources and capacity.
As the fifth generation mobile networks come into reality, the stage is being set to welcome Beyond 5G and 6G future. The next big thing in mobile networks promises improved optical networks. In this context, the EU-funded ALLEGRO Project will develop a revolutionary novel optical network solution, which can reach drastically higher transmission capacities while maintaining much lower power usage costs and remaining safe for data exchanges. Specifically, it will use loss-less energy-efficient transparent photonic integrated optical switches, an array of data safety improvements, and innovative transceivers while utilising multi-band and multi-fibre technologies and an AI-assisted management and control system for improved operation.

Session 11 is dedicated to the discussion of potential meta-Operating Systems (mOS) for the support of Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT) – Edge – Cloud Continuum.
The rapid expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT) projected to see significant growth through the end of the current decade, signals a paradigm “shift” in the way digital technology intersects with human life. This proliferation of interconnected “things” gives rise to an array of applications, covering a wide variety of (vertical) sectors. This evolution moves us towards the advent of the Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT) – an integration of artificial intelligence with our connected world. However, this transformation poses distinct challenges, specifically with regards to the provision of real-time, secure and trusted support from edge cloud systems, coupled with artificial intelligence. The present session integrates concepts from the on-going European aerOS and NEMO Projects. Our discussion is also extended to assess aspects originating from the TALON Project.
The aerOS Project aims at transparently utilising the resources of the edge-to-cloud computing continuum to enable applications delivery in an effective manner and incorporate efficiently the multiple services deployed on this path. Practically, aerOS focuses on establishing the missing piece: a common meta operating system that follows a collaborative IoT-edge–cloud architecture supporting flexible deployments (e.g., federated or hierarchical), bringing important benefits through the distribution of intelligence and computation – including Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and big data analytics – to achieve the optimal deployment while satisfying any given constraints. The aerOS Project will validate its results in five (5) use cases, addressing: (i) Industry 4.0; (ii) utilities (renewable energy); (iii) smart agriculture; (iv) port transportation and logistics, and; (v) smart buildings.
Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT) is one of the next big concepts to support societal changes and economic growth, being one of the fastest growing ICT segments. A specific challenge is to leverage existing technology strengths to develop solutions that sustain the European industry and values. The ongoing ΝΕΜΟ (“Next Generation Meta-Operating System”) EU-funded Project intends to establish itself as the “game changer” of the AIoT-Edge-Cloud continuum by introducing an open source, modular and cybersecure meta-operating system, leveraging on existing technologies and introducing novel concepts, methods, tools, testing and engagement campaigns. NEMO will bring intelligence “closer to the data” and make “AI-as-a-Service” an integral part of network self-organisation and micro-services execution orchestration. Its widespread penetration and massive acceptance will be achieved via new technology, pre-commercial exploitation components and liaison with open-source communities.
NEMO will introduce innovations at different layers of the protocol stack, enabling on-device cybersecure Federated ML/DRL (Deep Reinforcement Learning). Moreover, NEMO will be “by design” and “by innovation” cybersecure and trusted adopting state of the art mechanisms such as Mutual TLS (Transport Layer Security) and Digital Identity Attestation. NEMO will be validated in five (5) most prominent industrial sectors (i.e.: farming, energy, mobility/city, Industry 4.0 and media/Extended Reality (XR)) and eight (8) use cases in six (6) Living Labs, utilizing more than thirty (30) heterogeneous IoT devices and real 5G infrastructure. The impact will be important in data economy and applications verticals, in particular.
The expected diversity of services, use cases, and applications in I5.0 requires a flexible, adaptable, and programmable AI architecture that optimizes the edge vs cloud AI to maximize the performance of the overall system. In the face of this challenge, the TALON Project introduces an AI orchestrator that envisions transforming the I5.0 into an automated intelligent platform by exploiting advances in edge networks and bringing intelligence near sensors in embedded systems with limited computational, storage, and communication resources, as well as the integration of advanced and adaptive sensors and perception. In this direction, TALON creates a new system architecture that makes the most by: (i) jointly optimizing the edge and cloud resources; (ii) enabling centralized, distributed, as well as hybrid intelligence, and; (iii) transforming the AI network into a low-power computer, which will be able to use underutilized (commercial and business) resources. TALON also supports end-to-end personalised and perpetual security and privacy. Among its innovative features is the proposition of a new architecture to accommodate particularities that are generated due to the use of novel building blocks (such as AI orchestrator, blockchain, edge networking and Digital Twins (DTs)).

Session 12 discusses various examples and/or related market applications, by identifying results within dedicated business or scientific scenarios. Among others, it comprises presentations coming from several ongoing research projects and related applied initiatives. These can serve as detailed examples of innovation in specific environments/ecosystems of our everyday life and experience.
The detection of vessels at sea that are not self-reporting their position using automated geolocation systems, i.e., dark vessels, poses a particular challenge to maritime domain awareness. Satellites have a unique advantage in dark vessel detection as they can scan larger ocean areas more often than any other surveillance technology. In the present session discussion is dedicated to the use of DownStream Space Applications for maritime security purposes.
Satellites have a unique advantage in dark vessel detection as they can scan larger ocean areas more often than any other surveillance technology. Regulations of the International Maritime Organization require most large vessels to be equipped with automatic identification system (AIS) transponders providing geoposition and ship identification. Many small vessels, including recreational craft and fishing boats, are also AIS equipped voluntarily or because of regional regulatory requirements. AIS transmissions are received globally through networks of shore- and satellite-based receivers and are commercially available. This makes AIS an important component of Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) activities. A difficult challenge for MDA is to detect and monitor vessels that do not report their positions (i.e., the so-called dark vessels). Vessels may “go dark” because of technical failures of position transponders, gaps in coverage by signal receivers, or because they have been turned off purposefully by vessel operators. Most Earth observation satellites orbit our planet at altitudes between 300 to 1,000 km (low-Earth orbit) and scan the surface of our planet daily using a variety of different sensors. Three fundamental classes of sensors are routinely used for vessel detection: optical imagers, synthetic aperture radar (SAR), and radio frequency (RF) geolocation. The latter is quite importance as RF emissions from navigational radar propagate into space where satellites can detect them, thus developing a new methodology for enhancing maritime security. Aspects from the related ongoing MAGINet and EURMARS Projects are discussed. MAGINet leverages satellite imagery for dark vessel detection, showcasing the broad applications of satellite technology. By integrating various EO (Earth Observation) data with AIS data, MAGINet enhances surveillance capabilities, offering a comprehensive solution for maritime security. The EURMARS Project aims to develop a multifunctional monitoring platform with the goal of enhancing and facilitating both the efficiency and cooperation of multiple European authorities responsible for border surveillance. The respective platform will contribute to improving risk and threat management encountered in wide border areas by combining multiple technologies, knowledge and experience of all interested parties in order to mitigate problems such as illegal immigration, drug trafficking and others.
The Municipality of Egaleo (MoE), in Athens-Attica, Greece, participates in various European and national research projects and/or related initiatives, supporting an explicit and direct implementation of smart city applications for the benefit of its citizens. More precisely, MoE carefully implements a “smart city” strategy oriented towards the 5G-oriented vision and challenges. MoE desires to design, deploy and effectively implement a set of “smart city validated applications” to streamline its municipal operations by providing information data and offer innovative facilities to the Egaleo’s citizens. As a results of involvement in R&D projects, MoE not only deploys but simultaneously tests and validates smart cities’ applications to help with a range of issues and operational challenges. These may include applications such as environmental monitoring, security surveillance video cameras, location-based services, traffic monitoring and flow improvement, municipal communications with citizens, support for the elderly and health assistance, digital advertising and many more. All of these constitute a dynamic portfolio, purely being aligned to the strategic vision of offering digital innovations and creating a modern city.