Nokia showcased the use of drones to facilitate efficient rescue operations for first responders at the third consecutive UAE Drones for Good showcase held in Dubai Feb. 17-18 in Dubai Internet City. The Finnish vendor's low weight communication equipment capable of being carried via drones won the international category prize, honored by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince. Nokia project manager Colin Graf von Hardenberg spoke to Telecom Review about the Nokia Saving Lives initiative.
Nokia's main interest at the Drones for Good showcase was to promote its Nokia Saving Lives non-profit initiative and demonstrate the power of technological progress to save lives in natural disasters. The initiative combines a network of partners, drones, applications and LTE communication in disaster areas.
All of these factors need to work together to bring drones into effective use," von Hardenberg told Telecom Review at the showcase. Building a drone can be done with moderate effort, but to bring a drone into a real industrial process requires the integration of every party that plans to participate."
This year's UAE Drones for Good competition featured twenty selected finalists from the UAE and around the globe to showcase the most creative and innovative usage of drones in providing technological solutions to modern day issues. On display during the two-day competition were drone applications for civil defence, search and rescue, healthcare, security surveillance and location delivery. In addition, the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good supported innovation in the artificial intelligence and robotics sector.
The attention was on Nokia at the showcase for demonstrating the creation of an instant high-speed LTE network to establish connectivity between video camera-equipped drones and a control center. In October last year, Nokia became a member of the GSMA Humanitarian Connectivity Charter which aims to support improved access to communication and information for those affected by crisis in order to reduce the loss of life and positively contribute to humanitarian response.
Network connectivity is often the first priority of any rescue operation since it is often compromised in disaster situations. Therefore, Nokia's Ultra Compact Network provides a standalone LTE network to quickly re-establish connectivity to various mission-critical applications including video-equipped drones. Drones can stream video and other sensor data in real-time from the disaster site to a control center, providing inputs such as exact locations where people are stranded and the nature of the difficulty of reaching the locations.
For Nokia Saving Lives, we're showcasing our network technology, our 'network in a box' backpack, and also our drones which have LTE connectivity," said von Hardenberg. If you combine these factors it brings immediate benefits for whomever, but we decided that we want to bring it to rescue and disaster cases."
The 'network in a box' backpack is basically a network that fits into a backpack, and the reason it's in a backpack is because in a certain disaster situation, you might find that you have no connectivity to deal with at all, von Hardenberg explained.
In a disaster situation, the cellular network might be broken down and the rescuers would come in and not be able to find broadband connectivity. Therefore, we took our small cell and integrated a core so that you can now register your own SIM card and have an isolated network on its own. The biggest benefit is that we use drones that can go beyond the camp of the rescuers and stream the video data back - it's a huge benefit if you have an LTE network."
If more than one drone is used then rescue operations will have even more bandwidth to cover," von Hardenberg said. The LTE network package is small - about 5-6 kilos - so it can be transported easily. Users would need a PC to set it up properly and in 5-10 minutes it would be working and could support the drone flight as well as the handsets of the rescue team.
Typically, operators would make sure that their networks function wherever they are, and if they break down after one or two days, they would try to have it set up again. But these one or two days might be critical, for instance, if you have people in an earthquake situation - every hour counts," said von Hardenberg. Today, rescue teams come in and typically have analog handsets so they cannot communicate effectively with broadband connectivity. That's where our network comes in… the network is set up quickly and enables drones to do something that was not possible for rescuers to do before."
Nokia presented two drones at the showcase. One of Nokia's drones was tasked with flying up and analyzing the scenario below which would provide an operator with information about what is happening in the 'disaster area'; while the second drone was tasked with flying over the lake to scan it for 'victims' who, in a real-life scenario, could be caught in a flood.
A major aspect of Nokia's demonstration was the control center. Just having drones fly and stream video isn't enough for a disaster situation," said von Hardenberg. We've introduced a control center which has data analysis integrated."
The Nokia Saving Lives initiative establishes a control center in a disaster location which analyzes data using Nokia Video Analytics technology to derive useful insights that enable quick decision-making for prioritizing tasks for efficient and safe rescue operations. Nokia's Video and Data Analytics solution, together with rescue applications and mission advisor tools, provide the required intelligence for making appropriate decisions quickly.
The vendor also highlighted the fact that its project cannot work without the cooperation of rescue organizations - we want them to take our technology with them," said von Hardenberg.
LTE requires a license to work on the frequency and typically it is owned by the operator. If the operator network is down for a critical 1-3 days, it would be good if operators could say to rescue organizations in advance, 'If something happens in my area, I give you the right to use this solution on our frequency for these 1-3 days, and once we're running again, shut it down.'"
There are many challenges facing the initiative, said von Hardenberg. First of all, drones with LTE are uncommon, so working with partners to integrate LTE into the drone is a challenge for Nokia. Another challenge for Nokia is realizing that rescue organizations and operators must be extremely careful and critical about what type of equipment they use - it requires a lot of testing.
We are currently working with operators in countries to go into testing phases and we are also conducting rehearsal situations with rescue organizations," said von Hardenberg. The initiative is currently being tested with NGOs and will be demonstrated at Mobile World Congress 2017.
Nokia is introducing a broad set of next-generation fiber access solutions that deliver the capacity and latency requirements essential for mobile transport. Nokia's addition of next-generation 10Gbps passive optical network (PON) and point-to-point (P2P) fiber to its mobile transport solution gives operators the capacity, scale and flexibility needed to support network densification in the 5G era.
Nokia's mobile transport solution enables operators to leverage existing passive optical networks used in Fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) deployments and quickly gain the capacity and coverage 5G requires. Eliminating the need to create parallel and dedicated networks, operators can now cost-effectively connect radio cells to a fixed network at scale and gradually introduce more bandwidth as service needs increase. With some forecasting the number of small cells to grow at 38% CAGR through 2021, this flexibility will be critical as networks continuously evolve to better address ultra-broadband demands.
Nokia's mobile transport solution includes a number of new enhancements to its 7360 ISAM FX access node and 7368 ISAM ONT optical network termination devices, delivering the multi-gigabit capacity needed to support the massive throughput requirements and cell densification 5G requires. Nokia's ISAM portfolio combines carrier-grade transport capabilities with best-in-class synchronization support required in 3G, 4G and 5G mobile transport networks, providing operators such as Du and Telefonica with access to the flexibility needed to effectively ready their networks for 5G.
The enhanced mobile transport solution is also being used as part of a Bell Labs proof-of-concept that demonstrates the flexibility of 10G symmetrical PON networks for low latency applications such as mobile fronthaul. By adding gateway functionality to a next-generation PON network, Nokia is able to convert mobile fronthaul CPRI signals to Ethernet. The proof of concept validates the readiness of PON for fronthaul and its Ethernet-based evolutions for the 5G era.
Federico Guillen, president of Nokia Fixed Networks said: "The biggest opportunity on the horizon for fixed networks is the arrival of 5G. It's clear that 5G will require very high capacity and low delay, but what is less certain is just how much capacity will be required for backhaul and what latency will be sufficient. We take the guesswork out of the equation. Our solution allows operators to access existing PON networks that have virtually unlimited capacity to meet their needs today, with the added flexibility to add 10G PON evolutions gradually as demand for more bandwidth and services increases. The massive throughput and cell densification strategy of 5G make it a perfect match for existing FTTH deployments."
Nokia, Alphabet's Access Group and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. joined forces to demonstrate the first live demo of a private LTE network over CBRS (Citizens Broadband Radio Service) shared spectrum at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The companies built a virtual reality zone inside stock car race cars operating at the Richard Petty Driving Experience, with 360° video streaming to provide an "in car" experience in real time. The demonstration, which achieved speeds in excess of 180 mph, showed not only how the combination of a new CBRS band and innovative technologies can offer new audience experiences, but also how shared spectrum can be used by venues and enterprises to deploy their own private LTE network to offer new services.
Deployment of a private LTE network is becoming a reality due to the availability of the CBRS spectrum (without the auction costs) and advances in network technology that are providing the performance benefits of LTE with an easy deployment model. The live demonstration successfully highlighted some of the key performance benefits of using LTE, including consistent high data rates to stream 360° video for immersive experiences, superior mobility at extreme race car speeds, exceptional outdoor coverage, and capacity that can be customized to meet the needs of the particular service. In this case, the 360° video streaming from within the high-speed vehicles. The demonstrations also showcased that, thanks to the availability of CBRS shared spectrum, an enterprise, campus, venue or other group can deploy their own private LTE network.
The shared spectrum used in the Las Vegas Motor Speedway demo is the new CBRS spectrum released in the U.S. by the Federal Communications Commission. This spectrum allows for broad innovation in wireless business models. Nokia, Alphabet's Access Group and Qualcomm Technologies are founding members of the CBRS Alliance, which is promoting LTE-based solutions in the CBRS spectrum. The three companies are committed to driving technology forward to allow for ubiquitous deployment of LTE networks within the CBRS band.
Industry leading technologies push the boundaries of LTE with race car demo:
The collaboration of Nokia, Alphabet's Access Group and Qualcomm Technologies brought together industry-leading expertise and technology innovations to create the foundation for a cutting-edge demonstration - revolutionizing the audience experience and showing first-hand the performance benefits of a private LTE network.
Powered by its TD-LTE radio innovation and experience of LTE networks for high density venues and high speed race events, the Nokia CBRS private LTE high performance network used CBRS base stations to cover the complete track and spectator area. CBRS spectrum for the base stations was provisioned by the Access SAS (Spectrum Access System), and the 360° virtual reality video was streamed in real time using YouTube Live Events. This was the first SAS demonstration in support of a live event.
The network was customized to provide: high uplink data rate on the race track and high downlink data rate in the spectator area; very low latency between car and network; and seamless mobility. Such a set up allows the continuous streaming of real time 4K 360° virtual reality video between the spectators and the cars - in this demonstration driving in excess of 180 mph. The in-car connectivity for the trial was enabled by a Qualcomm Snapdragon(TM) LTE modem.
Nokia and Orange Group are to collaborate on the development of services that will allow industries and consumers to take advantage of the unprecedented efficiencies and business models made possible by 5G.
5G promises to deliver dramatic improvements in peak data speeds, network latency and agility, as well as the ability to enable new capabilities such as network slicing. This will allow operators to support a growing number of customers and potentially billions of connected IoT devices with consistent quality of service, laying the foundation for smarter cities, connected vehicles, smart factories and offices, remote healthcare and many other connected industries.
Under a new collaboration agreement, Nokia and Orange will drive the definition and development of these new services, with a focus on making the transition from 4G to 5G network connectivity in the most efficient way in terms of power, operations, and cost effectiveness, and with the highest level of quality and reliability. Furthermore, the companies will build on existing joint innovation programs, as well as work with other partners, to develop, trial and introduce solutions that will make 5G a commercial reality and drive the digital transformation of vertical industries.
Nokia and Orange will leverage the Nokia Flexi Base Station and 5G-ready AirScale radio access portfolio, the AirFrame data center platform, telco cloud and cybersecurity technologies to create applications making use of 5G's ultra-low latency and ultra-high reliability. This work will also include the application of:
• Ultra-broadband leveraging new frequency bands
• Cloud RAN and massive MIMO
• End-to-end network slicing techniques
• Energy efficiency techniques
Nokia and Orange will leverage the existing research collaboration between Orange Labs and Nokia Bell Labs and establish joint innovation platforms at the Nokia Paris Saclay premises on the outskirts of the French capital, and at the Nokia campus in Lannion, in Western France, in collaboration with two Orange's research and innovation sites, Orange Gardens in Chatillon and Orange Labs in Lannion. The companies will open up the laboratories to work with their respective innovation partners, including local enterprises, vertical application providers and local start-ups, to accelerate the ecosystem that will be created around 5G.