Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Argela, Quortus and Türk Telekom put IoT healthcare use case to Etsi

Steve Rogerson
August 9, 2016
 
European standards body Etsi’s Industry Specification Group for Mobile Edge Computing (ISG MEC) has accepted a proof of concept (PoC) proposal for a typical IoT healthcare use case. The PoC was submitted by infrastructure provider Argela, mobile communications company Quortus and operator Türk Telekom.
 
The PoC considers a typical healthcare use-case, deploying edge intelligence and dynamic network configuration capabilities, including network slicing, to optimise communication services in a hospital environment. It leverages Quortus’ experience in the field of enterprise edge-of-network architectures in an approach that enables innovation while aligning with the initial architecture framework proposed by the Etsi MEC ecosystem.
 
“It’s absolutely vital that we push forward the standards-setting process, and that the MEC ecosystem throws its weight behind Etsi’s efforts in that regard,” said Andy Odgers, CEO of UK-based Quortus. “The PoC programme is a vital aspect of this work. We’re delighted to have been able to work with industry-leaders Argela and Türk Telecom to create a PoC that demonstrates the value and flexibility of the Etsi framework, and that I believe really does advance the cause of MEC in some very important ways.”
 
Turkish company Argela has developed a radio resource management (RRM) architecture based on network slicing, which can provide an enterprise with local control of LTE resources and bandwidth.
 
“Acceptance of our PoC shows that Argela, Türk Telekom and Quortus remain at the forefront of developments in mobile networking,” said Oguz Sunay, CTO of Argela. “MEC is much more than a great technology – by creating this very practical use case for healthcare applications, we’re demonstrating that it can really make a difference in today’s rapidly-evolving environment. The implications for service innovation and the mobile ecosystem are immense.”
 
In addition to its commitment to the standards definition process, Quortus has led the charge in terms of bringing MEC to market. Its partnership with ACS created what it claimed is the industry’s first comprehensive end-to-end, ready-to-deploy MEC system, demonstrated in February 2016 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The two companies have worked closely together to identify enterprise use cases and business models that beneficially leverage their combined MEC technology.
 
The healthcare PoC is the sixth to be accepted by the Etsi MEC group, following contributions led by China Mobile, Intel, Nokia, Telecom Italia and Interdigital. It allows a hospital to assign a cellular access hierarchy using network slicing and open access at the edge to local systems depending on managed access rights. It also demonstrates dynamic network slicing based on hospital alert status, as well as local voice and breakout services, different radio resource slices for different categories of user, dynamic hospital-managed upgrading of users between categories, and dynamic response to critical incidents with modifications to radio resource allocations.
 
Mobile edge computing offers the ability to grant cellular users access to local voice and data services and to integrate IoT devices into the local cellular network. Quortus has developed managed local IP breakout and PBX-VoLTE integration capabilities for MEC.
 
MEC can provide significant benefits in deployments in hospitals and other healthcare locations, where there is a mix of users – for example medical staff, service staff, patients, visitors and IoT nodes – requiring different levels of access to local infrastructure. Their access needs change as, for example, people arrive and register as patients, and access priority changes as the hospital adopts alert status. In these cases, hospitals cannot rely on mobile network operators to manage access, and would ideally require integration with their local patient management and alert status systems.
 
The MEC PoCs are developed according to the Etsi ISG MEC PoC Framework. PoCs are intended to demonstrate MEC as a viable technology, with results fed back to the ISG MEC.
 
Called “Healthcare – Dynamic Hospital User, IoT and Alert Status Management”, the PoC will be demonstrated as an Etsi MEC Proof of Concept for the first time at the Mobile Edge Computing Congress in Munich in September and Quortus expects to be able to report project findings to Etsi in December 2016.
 
“Edge intelligence and virtual network functions are rapidly becoming the new normal for mobile networking,” said Peter Jarich, vice president for the consumer and infrastructure sectors at Current Analysis. “It’s good to see the mobile industry crystallising around initiatives like Etsi MEC, with strong practical use cases driven by the operators themselves. Infrastructure vendors like Argela and Quortus are rapidly turning the technology into a deployable reality, and that’s very much the start of the journey for the operators and app developers who will translate the new network capabilities into services.”