Selected Topic: Competitive European/Brazilian SMEs
Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) have an important role to play in developing, piloting and deploying 5G technologies, both to help with disruptive technologies and to address the needs of various vertical sectors.
SMEs in Europe are bringing a great added value in providing innovative concepts and solutions that are having an important impact on the 5G value chain. They have the agility and flexibility required in a fast evolving technical and market landscape. This has been well understood in the 5G Public Private Partnership (5G PPP), where SMEs have an a 20% share.
5GINFIRE is a 3-year research and innovation action with partners from Brazil: University of São Paulo and Federal University of Uberlândia contributing towards an open, and extensible 5G NFV-based Reference (Open5G-NFV) ecosystem of Experimental Facilities, supporting the digitisation of vertical industries. The 5GINFIRE platform for innovation is specifically suitable for SMEs.
European SMEs working in the domain of 5G have been benefiting since 2015 of the launch of the 5G Infrastructure Public-Private Partnership, in short 5G PPP (https://5g-ppp.eu/). The 5G PPP is a joint initiative between the European Commission and European ICT industry (ICT manufacturers, telecommunications operators, service providers, SMEs and research Institutions). The 5G PPP aims to deliver solutions, architectures, technologies and standards for the ubiquitous next generation communication infrastructures of the coming decade. The 5G PPP will open a platform that helps reach the common goal to maintain and strengthen the global technological lead of Europe. A total investment of 700 M€ is planned between 2014 and 2020.
The first phase of the 5G PPP focused on researching technology for 5G. The second phase, launched in 2017, is looking at ensuring the feasibility of using the 5G technology and solutions in various vertical sectors such as content & media, energy, transport & logistics, health and others. The third phase, which is being kicked off in the second half of 2018, will concentrate on providing a set of 5G infrastructures that will be used for actual large-scale trials in various vertical sectors.
A set of “Key Performance Indicators” has been set for the 5G PPP. One of those indicators is the participation of SMEs in the 5G PPP, which should exceed 20%. In Phase 1 and Phase 2, SME participation represents about 19% of the budget, almost reaching the objective.
A major effort has been made to promote SME participation in the 5G PPP and to make the expertise of SMEs more visible, under the coordination of a dedicated “SME Working Group”. This Working Group is open to all SMEs working in 5G and related domains, via the NetWorld2020 European Technology Platform (https://www.networld2020.eu/). Activities related to the Working Group included the coordination and organisation of SME participation in major events (e.g. via booths and presentations), the production of specific SME brochures, and a section dedicated to promoting the skills and expertise of the SMEs on the 5G PPP and NetWorld2020 web sites (https://www.networld2020.eu/sme-support/). Announcements and promotion has been made regularly to the broader community via various communication channels.
Considering the current evolution towards 5G trials in Europe and all over the world, the involvement of SMEs, to support the deployment of 5 infrastructures and to test 5G related solutions in various vertical sectors, is more than ever critical. In this context, SME participation in the 5G PPP is expected to grow.
5G deployment and trials need to happen at global scale. Therefore, the 5G PPP has created a dedicated “Trials Working Group”, which in turn includes several sub-groups. One of them is focusing on international 5G trials.
The 5G Infrastructure Association, the voice of the European industry in 5G, who represents the private side in the 5G PPP, is part of a multilateral Memorandum of Understanding that involves several organisations all over the world, including 5G Brazil. The next “Global 5G event”, co-organised by all organisations involved, will be hosted in Rio de Janeiro on 28-30 November 2018. 5G Brazil has declared their intent to participate in global trials (https://www.sdxcentral.com/articles/news/5g-brazil-project-focuses-on-tr...). The European Union and Brazil have also signed an agreement to strengthen their cooperation in 5G (https://5g-ppp.eu/eu-and-brazil-to-work-together-on-5g-mobile-technology/). In this context, strengthening the collaboration between Europe and Brazil at the time when 5G infrastructures are being deployed and actual 5G trials are starting should be one of our objectives.
We propose here to work on initiating a cooperation allowing European and Brazilian SMEs to work together and with larger organisations, both on innovative 5G technologies to be implemented in 5G infrastructure platforms, and on trials related to 5G solutions for various vertical sectors. This should happen both in Europe and in Brazil. The mechanism to implement this cooperation could be inspired on the one hand by the work performed by the SME Working Group in Europe, and on the other hand by the international cooperation already in place between the 5G Infrastructure Association and 5G Brazil.