As a 5G-PPP Phase 2 project, the 5G-MEDIA project aims at innovating media-related applications by investigating how these applications and the underlying 5G network should be coupled and interwork to the benefit of both. The 5G-MEDIA approach aims at delivering an integrated programmable service platform for the development, design and operations of media applications in 5G networks by providing mechanisms to flexibly adapt service operations to dynamic conditions and react upon events (e.g. to transparently accommodate auto-scaling of resources, VNF re-placement, etc.). Three use cases are going to be demonstrated: Immersive media and Virtual Reality, Smart Production and User-generated Content, and Ultra High Definition over Content Delivery Network.

5G-MEDIA Architecture

The main building blocks comprising the 5G-MEDIA architecture as shown in the figure include:

Application/Service Development  Kit (SDK)

Enables access to media applications development tools

Service Virtualization Platform (SVP)

Hosts the components related to the ETSI MANO framework, the 5G-MEDIA Catalogue designed to be NFV MANO platform-agnostic, the Media Service MAPE and the corresponding Virtualized Infrastructure Manager (VIM) and WAN Infrastructure Manager (WIM) plugins enabling the integration to different NFVI platforms

Network Function Virtualization Infrastructures (NFVIs)

Comprises the “Physical Layer” that provide computing resources by different operators and supporting different cloud technologies to host generic and media-specific VNFs depicted at the “Virtualized Resource Layer”

5G-MEDIA platform pioneers application of Function-as-a-Service (FaaS) to VNF management, complementing traditional VM based VNFs with FaaS based media specific functions, aiming at dramatically reducing development cycles and slashing operational costs to 5G-MEDIA users. The combination of the FaaS approach with the VNF packaging and the enablement of inserting FaaS VNFs in a typical VNF forwarding graph is one of the main innovation aspects of the proposed 5G-MEDIA approach. Another specific innovation of the 5G-MEDIA project is the NFV MANO platform-agnostic catalogue, which uses a novel generalized and extendible format for representing NSs and VNFs to enable the use of Virtual Functions in federated MANO systems (e.g. complement a domain’s catalogue of NSes and VNFs with items made available by other federated domains). In addition, the 5G-MEDIA platform integrates the Cognitive Network Optimizer (CNO) and the related monitoring components able to gather NFVIs, VNFs and applications metrics within the SVP. The Cognitive Network Optimizer relies on machine learning techniques and optimization policies management to adapt the deployment of VNF forwarding graphs seamlessly to continuously meet expected QoS requirements.

Tele-Immersive (TI) applications are immersive media network-based applications that enable the multi-party real-time interaction of users located in different parts of the globe, by placing them inside a shared virtual world. TI applications produce a large volume of heterogeneous data, thus, creating a challenging networking scenario. This use case requires high bandwidth (next-gen immersive 3D media), low latency streams between the players (establish the needed interaction) and smooth playback for the spectators. Within the scope of 5G-Media, this use case will demonstrate a network aware media application development through the deployment of media specific VNFs (e.g. transcoders), as well as showcase the potential of a FaaS application development model with specific VNFs being instantiated based on trigger/rule logic (e.g. replay generation) that increases modularity and overall offers more efficient architectural design. The Cognitive Network Optimiser will be involved in determining the best placement for all VNFs, considering the trade-off between performance and cost. The machine learning aspects of the smart engine will be used to forecast traffic demand according to a combination of anticipated and historical player and spectator locations.

Due to the steadily rising cost pressure, broadcasters are looking for new, low-cost and time-saving production methods, which include participatory and user-generated media archives in the production, also known under the term smart production. In 5G‑MEDIA it is planned to overcome these limitations by leveraging new options for more flexible, ad-hoc and cost-effective production workflows by replacing dedicated lines and hardware equipment with software functions (VNFs) facilitating (semi-) automated smart production in remote locations. Virtualised and flexible media services will reduce complexity for the user and ensure operational reliability (QoS, QoE). This use case is about the contribution of content in broadcast production quality from remote locations to a broadcasting studio. It therefore requires high bandwidth streams between the venue and the broadcaster for both fixed camera/studio locations and for mobile-generated content. Within 5G-MEDIA, the Cognitive Network Optimiser will be validated to enhance network performance (reserve bandwidth, prioritise traffic, define network paths etc.). In addition, Function as a Service (FaaS) capabilities will be used for the instantiation of the Cognitive Service VNFs for mobile content contribution sources.

Main purpose of this use case is to test access streaming of UHD media services through various personal devices, both fixed and mobile, while the user is on the move in the 5G network. The focus is on how UHD contents by a Media Service Provider (MSP) can serve users on the go and how the MSP can build media distribution service chains made of software defined media functions to properly serve users attached to the 5G network. This use case aims at orchestrating the lifecycle of service chains between an origin streaming server containing the UHD contents in various transcoded formats and the edge of the 5G network where media caches are to be dynamically instantiated to serve mobile devices. The target of this use case is to provide personalised view angles, with the possibility to compose UHD streams and move personal media while on the go. Key to the realisation of the use case is the possibility to implement high bandwidth streams between the streaming service (origin, replicas, transcoder and viewpoint servers) and users, in a flexible and dynamic way through the mechanisms of composition of virtualised network and media functions orchestrated by a NFV MANO layer. Within the context of 5G-MEDIA, the Cognitive Network Optimiser will adapt the media service chain related to the various media distribution flows based on end-to-end media quality control metrics and policies for scaling VNFs and optimising cache placement between the core and edge locations. The VNFs will be placed by the CNO according to predicted demand driven from a machine learning algorithm, analysing traffic demand. In addition, FaaS capabilities will be deployed for the programmatic selection of specific media streaming indicators and the activation/instantiation of e.g. new transcoding nodes at the edge to serve specific local demand from mobile users not previously transcoded.