2nd FOKUS Future Seamless Communication Forum 2011, Berlin, Germany
By Prof. Dr. Thomas Magedanz, General Chair, TU Berlin/Fraunhofer FOKUS, IEEE Senior Member, Germany
The 2nd international FOKUS Future Seamless Communication (FUSECO) Forum themed “From FMC toward Total Convergence: New Applications and Platforms for Converging Mobile and Fixed Next Generation Networks and the Emerging Future Internet” has been held in the Fraunhofer Forum in the center of Berlin, Germany on November 17-18, 2011. The event was attended by around 200 industry and academic experts from more than 30 nations, which represents an increase of the number of attendees of 25% compared to the last year´s event. The FUSECO Forum is a unique annual event, providing a networking and technical discussion platform for international network operators, standardization development organizations, and leading academic organizations dealing with the evolution of service control platforms for fixed and mobile next generation networks.
Based on the progress in global Long-term Evolution (LTE) role out and coincident deployment of Evolved Packet Core (EPC) platforms, network operators are confronted with the question of what mobile services they will have to provide in the future in order to compete with the growing number of successful over the top (OTT) multimedia services. Voice is still the key revenue generating service and thus will also have to be provided above the packet switched only LTE/EPC networks. Here IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) is considered as the solution for the provision of Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and emerging Rich Communications Services (RCS), although in the short term Circuit Switched Fallback (CSFB) solutions are considered key for providing mobile voice services.
In addition, it is becoming obvious, that machine to machine (M2M) / machine type communication (MTC) services will lead soon to a huge increase in bandwidth with a big potential for future revenue generation. Therefore both industry and standardization bodies have started to develop corresponding solutions and standards. Similar to the convergence in fixed and mobile telecommunication (FMC) and the convergence of telecommunication and Internet in the last decade, also existing proprietary M2M platforms will now start to converge towards a common Internet Protocol (IP) based service and communication infrastructure, which will be provided to application developers via appropriate standardized application programming interfaces (APIs). In particular, emerging smart city information and communication technology platforms will have to cope with the efficient support and a potential integration of still distinct human to human and machine to machine communication platforms.
Cloud technology and its adoption for access network, core network, and service platform virtualization will play a key role for the urgently needed energy and thus cost savings and is currently a hot topic in Future Internet research as it represents a key paradigm shift for business models and architectural frameworks for converged networks.
All these above topics are closely related and have been addressed in detail at the FUSECO Forum 2011, which has brought these current industry and research buzzwords into a common context.
The first day started with three technical half day tutorials. More than 100 experts attended the first half day tutorial “Control Platforms and Applications for Next Generation Networks and the Future Internet – Understanding NGN, IMS, EPC, and MTC Standards and their Relationships in regard to the Future Internet" given by Prof. Dr. Thomas Magedanz. The tutorial introduced the key control platform technologies to newcomers and put those into a common context by addressing the evolution of NGNs toward the Future Internet and outlining the vision of total convergence of different devices, networks, and service platforms in the context of Smart Cities.
The parallel tutorial “Getting started with OpenEPC and Open IMS Core to set-up your own FUSECO Testbed" given by Dragos Vingarzan and Marius Corici from Fraunhofer FOKUS concentrated on how to deploy and how to make the best usage of a testbed infrastructure. Having covered shortly the OpenEPC features as an almost complete functional implementation of the 3GPP Evolved Packet Core, as well as the new features in OpenEPC Rel. 3, the tutorial then concentrated on the various usage scenarios for testbed deployment as well as the support for the near and the long term research. As intensively discussed between the attendees and the presenters, the OpenEPC together with the OpenIMS Core can provide the basis for the major research topics in the area of core networks additionally to the fast hand-on understanding of a functional reference testbed.
The third tutorial “Dynamic spectrum access, cognitive radio networks, and spectrum management as key enablers for upcoming mobile communications - Understanding opportunities and coexistence requirements from evolving developments in research, standardization, regulations and technology" presented by Bernd Bochow and Marc Emmelmann from Fraunhofer FOKUS was evenly welcomed by attendees from industry and academia. Having covered technical requirements, key enablers as well as regulatory and standardization issues, the tutorial stimulated discussions on short and medium-term commercial aspects, i.e. requirements for incumbent user detection in a DSA-based system, or on how to technically approach spectrum sharing vs. device / base station sharing concepts. Attendees and presenters deliberated over cognitive approaches handling the continuously increasing complexity of spectrum and network management.
The following half day interactive workshop on “EPC/IMS Deployment Issues and New Service Potentialities in Mobile and Fixed Next Generation Networks" lead by Dr. Niklas Blum from Fraunhofer FOKUS, Germany and Dr. Naoki Uchida from NTT Laboratories, Japan featured twelve 10-minute presentations reflecting a market and best practice perspective on network- and service-related topics as policy control and network virtualization, WAC, M2M, mobile clouds and OTT services within two sessions and a final panel discussion. Giulio Maggiore from Telecom Italia, chaired the first session on “Recent Experiences from Global IMS Deployments for FMC, VoLTE, RCS, MTC and More". The second session looking “Beyond IMS: New Application Needs on Top of Mobile Broadband Networks and the Emerging Mobile Future Internet" was chaired by Prof. Rui L. Aguiar from the Universidade de Aveiro, Portugal.
A lively panel discussion with the topic "Extend IMS or Rebuild a New Universal IP Control Platform" was held at the end of the first day. Participants discussed with the audience their perspective on network and platform requirements for several application areas from the preceding presentations. A definite outcome of the discussion was that IMS will not be the platform to provide an anchor point for any networking service. Rather several architectures will co-exist in parallel enabled by a common access-oriented QoS control framework, such as EPC.
As usual a social event in an interesting location allowed the attendees to continue technical discussions, but also to make new friends during the car race competition.
Day 2 - Conference
The second day featured a full day conference entitled “Towards Real Converged Mobile & Fixed Next Generation Networks" with 17 presentations from various international network operators and service providers. After the opening by Prof. Magedanz, the first session chaired by Prof. Phuoc Tran-Gia from the University of Würzburg, Germany, addressed the relevant standards for global LTE/HSPA deployments and related aspects, such as mobile network chairing, IMS/EPC interworking, RCS trial experiences and global rollout plans, an overview of recent NGNM Alliance activities as well as an outlook onto the European Future Internet standardization. The second session has provided LTE deployment case studies and mobile broadband service plans in Germany given by all four German mobile network operators and was chaired by Prof. Dr. Erwin P. Rathgeb from the University of Duisburg/Essen, Germany.
After the lunch break Prof Magedanz chaired the Vendor Panel, in which experts from Accenture, Huawei, NSN, and Tekelec discussed the success stories & road blocks in mobile broadband deployment.
Maria Cuevas from BT, Spain has lead Session 3 addressing mobile broadband service case studies and plans in Europe and the Middle East. Here the European R&D perspective on converged networks was presented as well as automotive and mobile service innovation testbeds. The final session was chaired by Prof. Dr. Alfonso Ehijo from the University of Chile and looked into mobile broadband service case studies and plans around the World, including Japan, the Thailand, Chile, and South Africa. In addition, an outlook on mobile voice trends in the US was given.
Alongside the workshop and the conference, vendor exhibitions have shown the state of the art in IMS and EPC products. Additionally, the newest testbed toolkits from Fraunhofer FOKUS, namely OpenEPC Release 3 (www.openepc.net), as well as the new OpenMTC toolkit (www.openMTC.org) were practically demonstrated.
We want to thank all sponsors, chairmen, speakers and attendees making this event possible. Please tell your friends and colleagues about it. Due to the huge success, the FOKUS FUSECO Forum series will be continued in mid November 2012 (www.fuseco-forum.org/2012) themed “Convergence of Human 2 Human and Machine 2 Machine Communications within emerging open Smart City ICT infrastructures".
If you want to sponsor this upcoming event or want to participate, let us know. We hope to see you next year in Berlin.
Prof. Dr. Thomas Magedanz,
Berlin, November 20, 2011