b<>com and Europe: A strategy that serves technological sovereignty

5G, augmented reality, e-health… the European projects that b<>com contributes to relate to international markets where technological innovation is a must. But b<>com’s commitment to these European projects goes well beyond scientific contributions: It’s a way to address the sovereignty issues raised by these major digital projects. A bold strategy that puts the institute and its partners at the heart of European research and innovation.

“For 5 years, we've been serious about contributing to major European digital projects. This is why we do all we can so that our performance indicators in these projects are solid and provide economic impact to benefit b<>com, its partners, and its funders,” explains Michel Corriou, Director of Operations at b<>com.

b<>com’s “value-focused” action philosophy is perfectly in line with Europe’s strategies for its Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe programs. This approach, supported by partners like Orange and Nokia, is bearing fruit, with membership in multiple leading European consortia. b<>com contributes to these projects via its expertise in multiple 5G-related segments (radio access networks, core networks, field experiments, use cases). The teams are also being enlisted in the fields of augmented reality, cybersecurity, and health. b<>com's European Union funding is nearly €7 million; this accounts for about 10% of the IRT's annual funding.

“As recently stated by President Emmanuel Macron, with two major device manufacturers in Europe, Nokia and Ericsson,- both major international operators - and a technological evolution that puts 5G infrastructure at the core of the economy and sovereign services, there are many sovereignty issues at both European level and for each of its member states,” explains Michel Corriou.

In recent years, b<>com’s star has risen in European technological innovation circles, with contributions to 14 projects, including 10 relating to 5G and beyond (5G Ensure, 5GinFire, SENDATE, 5G Transformer, NGPaaS, One5G, 5G EVE, 5G TOURS, WORTECS and MONB5G). Four of them are complete and have produced technological bricks and essential expertise for deploying 5G.

Via these European projects, b<>com is co-building the networks of tomorrow with its ecosystem:

  • The 5G EVE project aims, for instance, to provide 5G pilot sites to verticals in four European countries: Spain, France, Italy, Greece
  • as part of the H2020 5G TOURS project, where the field of e-Health is being explored via a use case in the operating room of the future (wireless). Teams from Orange, Nokia, Rennes University Hospital, and AMA - a small business that specializes in developing remote collaboration solutions for connected objects - are working alongside b<>com

b<>com has been working on 5G since its creation. A test operator since May 2016, the IRT's campus has a 5G antenna system, software radio base stations, and test frequencies assigned by ARCEP. These testing resources are accessible to b<>com’s partners via an experiment service solution called *Flexible Netlab*.

b<>com's teams have also developed a network core solution, *Wireless Edge Factory*, which has been deployed in several projects (5GINFIRE, NGPaaS, 5G Transformer, 5G EVE, etc.) and at multiple sites: Bristol, UK; Aveiro, Portugal; Rennes, France; and Madrid, Spain.