While enjoying our first “presence” conference since the pandemic began, at the EuCNC & 6G Summit in June 2022 in Grenoble, one of the special sessions caught our attention. It was called “NetApps for Verticals” and introduced new concepts and ideas for exposure of network services to vertical applications. The NetApps concept is being investigated and developed in several EU projects funded through the EU call for proposals “5G innovations for verticals with third party services”. We noted good synergies with our work in IoT-NGIN on defining a 5G resource management API and were happy to have the opportunity to discuss these synergies with the other event participants!
The new concept of NetApps and standardized APIs useful to application developers
NetApps is a new layer, enabling vertical applications to use the existing standardized 5G network services or functions in an easy way. The new layer should be deployed in a network slice. It will translate 5G interfaces into a language that vertical application developers understand enabling them to easily use 5G services and functions. One of the benefits of NetApps is that it provides interoperability between various 5G services independently of the vendor providing the 5G network. Another benefit is that they provide improved availability of standardized services for vertical application developers.
Ericsson recently published an article which provides an overview of the requirements of customers for a device management APIs and standardized device management exposure capability APIs useful for vertical application developers. The article highlights that industrial use cases require specific, customizable exposure interfaces I It describes an implemented proof-of-concept using the exposure interfaces to support industrial automation systems.
Ongoing projects are already experimenting with NetApps to enhance their use cases 5G-EPICENTRE, for example, is working on a use case focused on AR-assisted surgical care for first responders’ missions in PPDR (Public Protection and Disaster Relief). The first responder is equipped with AR-glasses which transmit the scene to the cloud which renders and analyzes the scene. Then, step by step instructions are displayed in the glasses for the first responder to follow. The NetApp in this use case allows the offloading of heavy processes to the cloud so that only decompression and stream
projection need to be performed in the AR-glasses. Additionally, the NetApp can adapt the resolution of the stream based on the network characteristics.
A second example project already leveraging NetApps is 5G-MediaHub. One of the NetApps they developed uses headtracking of VR-glasses to transmit only the viewport of the user instead of the full sphere of the 360 video stream. Their “StreamSelector NetApp for Broadcasters” distributes multiple video streams of a live broadcast to a studio and allows the director to remotely select the stream and camera angle.
The NetApps community
One of the projects from the EU call, 5G-ASP, created a community for NetApps to accelerate the development, testing and validation of NetApps in testbeds, to investigate inter-domain use cases and to create a practice community and business model around NetApps.
IoT-NGIN can now seize this newly identified opportunity to learn more about NetApps and to introduce the IoT-NGIN project use cases to the NetApps community!