Maximizing the Impact of European 6G Research through Standardization

ETSI's Research Conference, Maximizing the Impact of European 6G Research through Standardization, took place 6-8 Feb 2023 at ETSI Headquarters in Sophia Antipolis, France. It was an in-person event with over 170 attendees from 30 countries. A summary of the event from ETSI provides the following details:

The event provided a unique opportunity for the research community to come together with industry representatives and standardization experts to discuss future technology research and building stronger links to standardization.

At the beginning of 2023, the Smart Networks and Services Joint Undertaking (SNS JU) launched the first phase of beyond 5G / 6G research projects, with the objective of playing a crucial role in the definition of next generation networks. The ETSI Research Conference was an important platform for 25 of the 35 new SNS JU projects to present their objectives and plans and exchange with the standards experts on their standardization roadmaps. Several projects displayed posters during the networking sessions and attracted much interest. In addition, the event offered guidance to researchers on how to get involved in standardization, presented many success stories and examples of research being integrated into standards, as well as providing clear indications from the standards community as to where they would seek research input to help define the required standards for next generation networks.

Key takeaways during the conclusion panel included European Commission recommendations to SNS-JU projects from Bernard Barani deputy Head of Unit DG Connect Future Connectivity Systems, recommendations to researchers from Rui L. Aguiar the Steering Board Chair of the European technology platform, NetworldEurope, and last but not least, recommendations to standards groups given by Diego Lopez, a recognized expert in research, standardization and network operations.

Bernard Barani highlighted the 2 year window of opportunity leading up to the 3GPP Release 20 where work will very likely begin on 6G. In this period, it will be essential for projects to prepare the key technologies expected to make their way into 6G standardization, to engage with the widest possible stakeholder groups from the European Union and beyond, and to start nurturing promising technologies with standardization bodies. The Commission called for active cross coordination between the SNS JU projects and also between the projects and standards groups.

Rui L. Aguiar conveyed a strong message to his peers, encouraging researchers to work with standards bodies and exchange with standards experts as early as possible. He highlighted that it is important to set clear objectives in order to achieve the highest impact and then work with the right standards bodies according to their specific goals and characteristics.

Diego Lopez who has chaired several groups in ETSI and other SDOs, shared his experience and recommended that standards groups help researchers by welcoming feedback to the standards work in an agile way, in order to avoid the complexity of rules that can exist within standards bodies. He advised that standards groups provide researchers with up to date roadmaps on research result expectations in order to guide research input into standards. A close feedback loop between researchers and standards groups is essential.

The three days of presentations, panels and Q&As fostered a fully interactive exchange between speakers and participants strengthening the value of face-to-face networking. The community all agreed that the refreshment breaks, lunches and end of day cocktails were a perfect opportunity to mix and network in order to exchange with representatives of several SNS JU projects. These informal meetings were highly appreciated by attendees. SMEs, European Commission representatives, researchers from European and global organizations alike mixed together in panel discussions where many connections and plans for future collaboration were built.

The main event page is here. The presentations are available here. The following is shortcut to the presentations:

  • SESSION 1: Opening Address and European 5G/6G Research Landscape, Chaired by Markus Mueck, ETSI Board RISE Chair
    • Welcome Address and State of SNS-JU, EU Landscape & Plans, Peter Stuckmann, SNS JU Interim Executive Director and Head of Unit, DG CONNECT, European Commission (link)
    • 6G-IA Status and Plans for Action, Colin Willcock, 6G-IA Board (link)
    • NetworldEurope, SRIA Status and Plans for Action, Rui L Aguiar, Steering Board, NetworldEurope (link)
    • Code of Practice on Standardization in the New ERA for Research and Innovation, Gergely Tardos, DG Research & Innovation, European Commission (link)
  • SESSION 2: National 6G Research Initiatives and Links to Smart Networks and Services Joint Undertaking (SNS JU), Chaired by Colin Willcock, 6G-IA Board Chair
    The goal of the session will be to present several National 6G research initiatives and examine how they will work with SNS JU as well as feed research into standards.
    • Overview of German 6G R&D Platforms, Hans Schotten, 6G Platform Germany (link)
    • Overview of Finnish 6G R&D Landscape inc. 6G Flagship, Marcos Katz, 6G Flagship (link)
    • Overview of Spanish 6G R&I Landscape, Fernando Rico, CDTI (link)
    • Overview of the Dutch 6G R&D Collaboration in the Future Network Services Program, Paul Wijngaard, Future Network Services Foundation (link)
    • Overview of the UK R&D Landscape, Tom Kirkham, Innovate UK UKRI and Louise Lancaster, DCMS (link)
    • Overview of the French 6G R&D in the National Acceleration Strategy for 5G & Future Networks Technologies, Hakima Chaouchi, French High Education and Research Ministry (link)
  • SESSION 3: ETSI Tools & Services for Researchers and Academics, Chaired by David Boswarthick, Director NET (New Technology Department), ETSI
    The objective of the session will be to present the various tools and enablers that ETSI provides to researchers, projects, and academia.
    • Overview of ETSI Tools & Services for Researchers, Markus Mueck, ETSI Board RISE (link)
    • ETSI Technology Radar, Christian Toche, ETSI Board TREND (link)
    • ETSI Support to Research Projects, David Boswarthick, ETSI (link)
    • Introduction to ETSI Support of Standardization Initiatives for Education about Standardization (EaS), Gavin Craik, ETSI (link)
    • Overview of HSBooster and StandICT projects, Nicholas Ferguson, (link)
  • SESSION 4: Enabling Interactions between Research & Standardization - Standards towards Research: Needs, Experiences and Enhancements, Chaired by Diego Lopez, ETSI ISG PDL Chair, ETSI ISG NFV NOC Chair
    The session will address how ETSI standards groups can better interact with research and innovation (provoking research input to technical work).
    • 3GPP Open to Research: Where, When, How to Contribute, Thomas Haustein, Fraunhofer HHI (link)
    • The ETSI ISG NFV Research Agenda, Diego Lopez, ETSI ISG NFV NOC (link)
    • The ETSI ISG MEC Approach to Research, Walter Featherstone, ETSI ISG Multi-access Edge Computing (ISG MEC) (link)
    • Overview of ETSI ISG RIS: Research to Standards Story, Arman Shojaeifard, ETSI ISG Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces (ISG RIS) (link)
    • Overview of ETSI ISG THz: Research to Standards Story, Thomas Kuerner, ETSI ISG TeraHertz (ISG THz) (link)
  • SESSION 5: Smart Networks and Services Joint Undertaking (SNS JU) Projects Part 1  (Stream A, Strand A1 - A7), Chaired by Kostas Trichias, 6G-IA
    The SNS Phase 1 (2022) Stream A projects target the development of smart communication components, systems, and networks following the evolution of 5G systems. These projects follow an evolutionary path towards the development of 6G networks, relying on the development of an intermediate technology point. As such, the solutions developped by these projects are closer to the current standardization activities of 3GPP and other relevant SDOs and stand a chance to impact standardization in the short to mid-term. To achieve that, clear technology evolution directions and concrete targets with regards to standardization organizations and Work Groups are needed, aligned with the current SDO roadmaps.
    In this session, each project will present its key objectives, the technologies with potential for significant standardization impact and their standardization plans, and commonly discuss how to maximize short to mid-term impact in relevant SDOs.
    • Project Presentation: 5G-STARDUST, Mohamed El Jaafari (link)
    • Project Presentation: ACROSS, Ioannis Markopoulos (link)
    • Project Presentation: BeGREEN, Mir Ghoraishi (link)
    • Project Presentation: NANCY, Alexandros Apostolos Boulogeorgos and Panagiotis Sarigiannidis (link)
    • Project Presentation: SEASON, Filippo Cugini and Ramon Casellas (link)
    • Project Presentation: VERGE, Oriol Sallent (link)
  • SESSION 6: Smart Networks and Services Joint Undertaking (SNS JU) Projects Part 2 (Stream B, Strand B1 and B4), Chaired by Rui L. Aguiar, Steering Board Chair, NetworldEurope
    The SNS Phase 1 (2022) Stream B projects perform research for revolutionary technology advancements, in preparation for 6G and revolutionary advancements of IoT, devices and software. The strand B1 and B4 projects specifically will engage in 6G System Architecture research and Smart and Secure service development, respectively. These projects will attempt to address fundamental principles of the 6G system, which lay at the basis of technology standardization. Their findings stand the chance to significantly affect initial 6G discussions (use case/system requirements, KPIs, interfaces, etc.) in various SDO bodies, and as such concrete plans are needed with tight synchronization with the relevant SDO activities. Each project will present its key objectives, key enabling technologies researched and standardization plans, focusing on the identification of the proper SDO WG/body and the timing to maximize standardization impact.
    • Project Presentation: ADROIT6G, Kostas Ramantas (link)
    • Project Presentation: DETERMINISTIC6G (previously EINSTEIN6G), Dhruvin Patel (link)
    • Project Presentation: PREDICT-6G, Zoltan Vincze (link)
    • Project Presentation: CONFIDENTIAL-6G, Drasko Draskovic (link)
    • Project Presentation: HORSE, Fabrizio Granelli (link)
    • Project Presentation: RIGOUROUS, Cristian Patachia (link)
    • Project Presentation: PRIVATEER, Diego Lopez (link)
  • SESSION 7: Smart Networks and Services Joint Undertaking (SNS JU) Projects Part 3 (Stream B, Strand B2 and B3), Chaired by Bernard Barani, Deputy Head of Unit, DG CONNECT, European Commission
    The SNS Phase 1 (2022) Stream B projects perform research for revolutionary technology advancements, in preparation for 6G and revolutionary advancements of IoT, devices and software. The strand B2 and B3 projects specifically will address Wireless communication and infrastructure technologies as well as 6G device technologies targeting innovative solutions of low TRL with a long-term horizon. As such, these projects stand to create some of the most significant innovations of the 6G system with end-to-end implications for the entire 6G chain. To ensure that these innovations become part of the 6G family of technologies, early planning and clear identification of the relevant SDO bodies and their respective roadmaps is necessary, while good knowledge of the ongoing standardization activities and decisions, will also help steer the project research in the correct direction to achieve maximum impact.
    • Project Presentation: 6GTANDEM, Parisa Aghdam (link)
    • Project Presentation: CENTRIC, Carles Navarro Manchon (link)
    • Project Presentation: TERRAMETA, George Alexandropoulos (link)
    • Project Presentation: TIMES, Luca Sanguinetti (link)
    • Project Presentation: 6G-NTN, Mohamed El Jaafari (link)
    • Project Presentation: 6G-SHINE, Gilberto Berardinelli (link)
    • Project Presentation: ETHER, Konstantinos Ntontin (link)
    • Project Presentation: SUPERIOT, Marcos Katz (link)
  • SESSION 8: Smart Networks and Services Joint Undertaking (SNS JU) Projects Part 4 (Streams B, C, D, Strand B5, C1, D1), Chaired by Pavlos Fournogerakis, SNS JU
    The SNS Phase 1 (2022) projects of this session perform holistic research on the 6G system (strand B5), provide the necessary infrastructure, experimentation tools and interfaces to test and validate 6G innovative solutions (strand C) throughout the SNS program lifetime, and realize large-scale trials and pilots to investigate the performance and effect of the 6G solutions in realistic vertical use cases (strand D). These projects are tasked with providing the final end-to-end, holistic definition of the 6G system (from end-user requirements & use cases, to technologies, architecture, interfaces, devices and more) and to create the proper tools and put all previous innovations to the test, for a realistic evaluation of their capabilities. These activities go hand-in-hand with standardization activities as on one hand close monitoring of standardization developments will allow fine-tuning and adjustment of the research and proposed solutions and will allow for the identification of gaps that may be improved and on the other hand it will create opportunities for maximum standardization impact by offering solutions, evaluation data and insights in the correct moment to affect decision making within the SDOs.
    • Project Presentation: FIDAL, Ioannis Markopoulos (link)
    • Project Presentation: 6G-SANDBOX, Apostolis Salkintzis (link)
    • Project Presentation: 6G-BRICKS, Kostas Ramantas (link)
    • Project Presentation: HEXA-X II, Hannu Flinck (link)
  • SESSION 9: Research into Standards - Lessons Learned, Overcoming Challenges, Chaired by Riccardo Trivisonno, 6G-IA Pre-Standards Working Group Chair
    During this session, attendees will hear from research projects who have successfully impacted standards.
    • The Role of 6G-IA Pre Standards Group, Riccardo Trivisonno, 6G-IA Pre-Standards Working Group Chair (link)
    • Project Presentation: HEXA-X I, Hannu Flinck (link)
    • Project Presentation: 5G-CLARITY, Mir Ghoraishi (link)
    • Overview of TERAFLOW H2020 Project - the journey from an EU Research Project to Standards Activity, Ricard Vilalta, ETSI Open Source Group TeraFlowSDN Chair (ETSI OSG TFS) (link)
  • SESSION 10: Conclusions, Guidance for Researchers, Projects, Academics, Standards Makers and Next Steps.  (link)
    • Rui L. Aguiar, Steering Board Chair, NetworldEurope
    • Bernard Barani, Deputy Head of Unit, DG CONNECT, European Commission
    • Diego Lopez, ETSI ISG PDL Chair, ETSI ISG NFV NOC Chair
    • David Boswarthick, Director NET, ETSI

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