5G/6G Services

  • ESA-STAR REF1-11337
  • ActivityKick-start Activity
  • Closing date 09-01-2023

SUB TOPIC OPENING AND CLOSING DATES

Wellbeing and entertainment services: open 12 April 2022 to 20 June 2022 at 13:00 CEST
Industry transformation services: open 20 June 2022 to 10 October 2022 at 13:00 CEST
Smart Transportation services: open 10 October 2022 to 09 January 2023 at 13:00 CET

THE CHALLENGE

The post-COVID-19 societal and economic adaptations have increased the demand for better connectivity and new applications to support automation, e-commerce, education, healthcare, and more. Hybrid satellite and terrestrial 5G/6G networks will play a key role to accommodate new market requirements and support the transition to a new digitised economy by offering faster connectivity speeds, higher data-throughput capacity, and low-latency communications. There are some well-recognised opportunities brought by the advent of 5G communication networks such as boosting the societal impact of space-based applications and enhancing current space capabilities leveraging on the unprecedented performances enabled by 5G networks.

The global 5G services market size is expected to grow from $53.0 billion in 2020 to $249.2 billion by 2026, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 29.4% during the forecast period. The growth of the market is mainly due to the increasing demand for use cases such as IoT (Internet of Things), M2M (Machine-to-Machine) communications, smart grid, telemedicine, connected cars and industrial automation. Moreover, various data-intensive applications, such as AR (Augmented Reality), VR (Virtual Reality), and video applications require ultra-low latency and high speeds. Industries such as retail, healthcare, automotive, media and entertainment, and agriculture, have different types of service requirements, including high bandwidth, ultra-low latency, and high reliability. The manufacturing segment of the 5G services market is projected to hold a larger market size during the forecast period. This is due to the fact that Industry 4.0 with IoT systems require the support of 5G networks to enable the efficient, connected factories of the future.

Beyond 5G, 6G and its precursors are expected to provide higher capacity, much lower latency, and integrate a set of previously separate technologies, such as machine/deep learning and big data analytics, facilitating improvements in many areas of sensing, imaging, and location determination. Therefore, advances towards 6G should bring innovation in the fields of immersive solutions, such as holographic communications and extended reality including VR/AR/MR, a positive impact on the digital twin market and on other forms of physical-to-cyber communication, such as the tactile/haptic communications (tactile internet).

TOPICS OF RELEVANCE

The following topics were identified for 5G/6G Services Kick-Start theme which can benefit from development of innovative services relying on space technology combined with seamless 5G/6G in prospective satellite and terrestrial networks.

Wellbeing & Entertainment Services (open to be determined - 20/06/2022): 

The applications of 5G/6G services in industries such as e-health, hospitality, education, and gaming are expected to be enabled by high data-throughputs, low latency and high reliability provided by future connectivity solutions. 

E-health: The e-health sector is an expanding market seeing an increase in adoption of devices and applications leveraging sensing equipment, technology, and advances in telemedicine. Example of services enabled by 5G/6G could include remote patient monitoring, wearable medical devices, robotics, and telemedicine solutions requiring ultra-reliable and high-bandwidth networks, tele-healthcare, preventive medicine and lifestyle and wellbeing solutions. 

Hospitality: 5G/6G will have a significant impact on the hospitality sector, particularly in event management and streaming. Advanced connectivity could enable safer event experiences by providing more robust communications between event management and emergency personnel. 

Education: 5G/6G services could also create new possibilities in the way that education is delivered, received, and experienced by transforming means of collaboration, both in and out of the classroom. 

Gaming: Advancements in gaming technology and connectivity have led to an astronomical rise in its commercial potential, both due to the improved quality of experience and the ability to share the experience with much larger audiences through live streams and broadcasting. The future of gaming will likely incorporate artificial intelligence (A.I.), hyper-reality, and location-based entertainment (LBE). The immersive experience in simulated worlds could benefit from convergence of satellite, 5G and advanced PNT (Positioning, Navigation and Timing) technologies.

Industry Transformation Services (open 20/06/2022 - 10/10/2022): 

5G/6G network will be a key enabler for industrial transformation with the potential to enable a large variety of applications and new business opportunities. 

Manufacturing and Logistics: Within manufacturing, advances foreseen include industrial control and automation systems, planning and design systems, and device deployment for gathering, monitoring, and acting upon data. 5G’s characteristic high data-rates and ultra-reliable low latencies combined with smart cameras, computer vision, mobile technologies, robots, and machine learning will be core to these advances. These characteristics will also catalyse the use of time sensitive IoT device applications and open up opportunities for new applications and services. With 5G, logistic companies will be able to monitor and manage the flow of processes and services while adjusting in real time if a problem occurs by maintaining service levels and keeping customers advised of the progress. 

Utilities: The introduction of space-based services built on 5G will unleash a new set of smart grid features to support energy consumption, forecast energy demand needs and avoid unnecessary energy usage. Specific to the utility sector, examples of services include predictive maintenance leveraging massive Machine to Machine Communications provided by 5G networks; visual inspections through UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) for routine maintenance as well as following extreme weather events. 

Agriculture: The modernisation and digital transformation of agriculture are hampered by the limited access to broadband services of worldwide farmers. Even in Europe, only 59% of rural areas were covered with high-speed connectivity in 2019. The deployment of future 5G terrestrial and satellite networks will drastically change the situation with affordable broadband connections, granting access to online applications and services in farmlands and increasing quality of life in rural areas.

Smart Transportation Services (open 10/10/2022 - 09/01/2023): 

Automotive: 5G technology integrated with space data is a game changer for the automotive and the smart mobility industry. Main characteristics of 5G technology meeting the needs of these industries are ultra-high availability, implying that services should also be supported in out-of-coverage conditions, ultra-high reliability, ultra-high resilience, low latency, and high date rates. 

Smart Cities and Mobility: 5G-led ubiquitous sensor networks will likely be a cornerstone of smart city and mobility developments, with support from satellite connectivity, positioning and Earth observation data. Such networks could carry data pertaining to occupation status of parking spots, air quality and associated dynamics in relation to traffic, positions of vehicles and pedestrian traffic, emergency notifications, infrastructure health, infotainment services, UAV-derived data and more. Example of services include solutions for provision of software updates for updating the electronic control software for targeted vehicles in a specific area for maintenance or urgent action requiring high reliability and high data rate. Importantly, satellite communication and 5G are key to provide seamless connectivity.

VALUE OF SPACE 

The opportunity to use space assets, eventually integrated with other technologies, for the above topics are many. Some (non-exhaustive) examples are listed hereafter.

Satellite communications provide a means to communicate with users located in remote locations where there is no, or limited, terrestrial network. Satellites can also serve to enhance network robustness and resilience. Seamless 5G networks, relying on terrestrial and satellite components, will have a key role in the establishment of novel 5G/6G services in the above domains, delivering the (high) amount of data required by the applications with the required latencies and coverage. Details about ESA’s Space for 5G and 6G Strategic Programme Line (5G/6G SPL) can be found here

Satellite Navigation, Positioning and Timing (PNT) are instrumental in the development of applications requiring geo-referencing, positioning, and timing information. Such technologies can also be augmented by terrestrial PNT technologies to cater to services with more stringent requirements.

Satellite Earth Observation can provide contextual data spanning air quality, surface displacements, meteorological data, mapping information, digital terrain models, high-resolution optical imagery of sites, all of which can support various applications across the key verticals mentioned herein.

WHAT WE LOOK FOR

Kick-Start activities explore the business opportunity and the technical viability of new applications and services that exploit one or more space assets (e.g., Satellite Communications, Satellite Navigation, Earth Observation, Human Space Flight Technology). This call for Kick-Start activities is dedicated to the theme ‘5G/6G Services’, which means that the call is open to companies that intend to develop space-enabled applications and services relating to the themes in this domain.

HOW TO APPLY

  1. Register by completing the online questionnaire on esa-star registration (this provides for the minimum ‘light registration’): Home - esa-star Registration System
  2. Visit esa-star publications and search for this opportunity to download the official tender documentation. Official documents will include proposal templates, a draft contract, and additional information about this opportunity.
  3. Use the official documents to prepare your proposal.
  4. Write your proposal and obtain a Letter of Support from your National Delegation, if needed (see Authorisation of Funding section below).
  5. Submit your proposal via esa-star Tendering by the deadline. 

AUTHORISATION OF FUNDING

The “5G/6G Service” thematic call is issued under both the ARTES BASS and 5G Programme lines, the latter specifically subject to technical/business justifications on the use of hybrid SatCom – terrestrial (wired or wireless) and 5G networks. 

Companies residing in Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Sweden are eligible to apply for this call. 

Ireland, Luxembourg and Norway have pre-authorised this Kick-Start initiative and therefore companies residing in any of these Member States do not need to provide a letter of authorisation with their proposal submission.

Greek companies participation is limited to the 5G SPL only subject to Greek national delegation approval and technical / business justifications on the use of hybrid SatCom - terrestrial 5G networks.

Contact information can be found under: National Delegations.

Kick-Start activities are funded at 75% by the European Space Agency for a maximum of €60K per contract.

WEBINARS

A webinar is scheduled for the following date:
•    10:00 GMT/11:00 CET, 2nd March 2022