This 5G PPP pilot exploits network slicing to offer guaranteed end-to-end (E2E) Quality of Experience (QoE) for remote clinical video consultations. The trial took place in early summer 2020 at DellEMC in Cork.
The impact on the roll out of digital healthcare services from the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has proved to be significant. RedZinc, a SliceNet SME, were invited by the Irish health service to deploy their remote video consultation platform, BlueEye Direct, to help alleviate pressure on outpatient services. Applications were needed that offered guaranteed QoE, as streaming video with poor quality voice and vision had proven to be unacceptable to healthcare professionals.
By offering guaranteed QoE video-streaming, this pilot acts as a post Covid exemplar for the ‘new normal’ delivery of non-emergency clinical services, thereby satisfying the EU defined KPI of “reliable and dependable Quality of Service (QoS) and Quality of Experience (QoE) with ‘zero perceived’ downtime”.
E2E network slicing for delivery of healthcare services must be given network priority if and when resource contention occurs at any point along the network service chain.
Through integration with a service slice, a Digital Service Provider (DSP) manages network resources on behalf of the healthcare service provider. In this use case, the DSP prioritises a remote video consultation service from the clinician at the hospital to the patient at home.
The use case highlights the subscription and onboarding process for the sliced BlueEye service. The E2E healthcare slice consists of a base slice instance that will deliver a guaranteed quality remote video consultation service from the clinician at the hospital to the patient at home. To satisfy user QoE, the slice template requirements include ultra-low latency, high bandwidth, and data encryption. Additional sub-slices may be instantiated from different Network service providers (NSP), for example to increase the geographical coverage for patients outside of existing slice coverage. The eHealth vertical only sees the services provided by the DSP’s one-stop API.
The QoE KPI is defined in terms of guaranteed perceived quality of the streamed video for the remote clinicians and is provisioned through network slicing. In the QoE tests, the effectiveness of SliceNet’s network slicing in the data plane was assessed. Firstly, no network slicing was applied, and the video was streamed in a best effort mode. When background traffic was increased, the quality of the video streaming was compromised, and distortion artefacts were observed. Next, in the same situation, when E2E network slicing was enabled for the video service, the perceived quality of video was maintained, even when the competing background traffic was still in place. This comparison has validated that the SliceNet slicing solution is able to meet the QoE requirements for this use case.
SliceNet technology has helped healthcare providers to rapidly deploy a remote consultation service in response to Covid-19. H2020 has produced concrete benefits for this unexpected healthcare crisis through its foresight in 5G slicing technology investment. This has enabled BlueEye to be built using virtualized network functions for flexible deployment of healthcare services.
RedZinc further envisages using slicing in a 5G environment, enabling service providers to offer end-to-end services inside a single slice, seamless integration of siloed corporate networks and rapid service deployment.
SliceNet website | @SliceNet_5G