Press Releases 2024

SoftBank Corp. Successfully Completes Field Trial
with Common API for Collaboration
with Global Telecommunication Operators

Trial promotes the realization of optimal communication control in 5G mobile environment

February 22, 2024
SoftBank Corp.

SoftBank Corp. (“SoftBank”) announced it conducted a field trial with a common API*1 that utilizes the features of 5G to collaborate with telecommunication operators worldwide. Through this field trial, which was completed in February 2024, SoftBank is aiming to promote the realization of optimal communication control in a 5G environment. SoftBank developed a common API defined by the open-source project “CAMARA”*2 and built a private 5G environment within the Keio University Shonan Fujisawa Campus (located in Fujisawa City, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, “SFC”) to conduct the field trial. In the constructed field trial environment, it was confirmed that communication quality control based on the common API defined by CAMARA is possible. Participants of the Digital Twin Campus Consortium*3 operated by Keio University SFC Research Institute can utilize the common API built in this field trial environment.

As one use case utilizing the common API in this field trial, SoftBank developed a system that controls the image quality and communication quality of cameras for the purpose of remote monitoring, and it built a solution that optimizes the image and communication quality based on person detection. In this solution, operational fields of image quality control and communication quality control, and validation for use cases were conducted, leading to successful remote control.

SoftBank is participating in the “GSMA Open Gateway” initiative aimed at constructing a common API launched by the GSMA*4 industry association for telecommunication operators*5. Through initiatives such as this field trial, SoftBank aims to promote the overall growth of the telecommunications industry by realizing diverse business models and enabling the rapid market deployment of mobile services demanded in the 5G era through collaboration between telecommunication operators and application service providers.

Overview of Field Trial

Field Trial Environment

SoftBank utilized the infrastructure built in SFC to develop functions capable of controlling and acquiring information from 5G SA (standalone) core equipment and built a system called Network API Enabler, which opens these functions through APIs. Additionally, a field trial platform was built by collecting and coordinating sensor information and experimental terminal information installed in SFC on the digital twin platform*6, enabling the verification of of various use cases.

Furthermore, a field trial that tested a solution for optimizing communication quality based on person detection was conducted as a use case that application service providers can easily imagine.

Solution for optimizing communication quality based on person detection

For remote monitoring using cameras, much of the transferred data during normal operation becomes unnecessary, while high-quality image data is required during anomaly detection, necessitating control over communication data.

By using the Quality on Demand (QoD)*7 API to switch from low-quality to high-quality images only during anomaly detection, unnecessary communication data can be eliminated, leading to a cost reduction in operations. Additionally, because the external control of image quality is possible when using the API, efficient monitoring can be achieved with generic products, eliminating the need for high-performance cameras and sensors. In this field trial, SoftBank confirmed that monitoring can be conducted using minimum image quality during normal operation and high-quality images only when necessary by executing the QoD API triggered by person detection using LiDAR sensors.

Overview of Field Trial

Future Developments

While advancing considerations for the introduction of this technology as a commercial service, SoftBank aims to resolve various social issues through new use cases that involve customizing the network as needed. In addition to providing a common API, SoftBank will promote the development of new mobile services and collaborate with various partners to foster innovative business ventures in the 5G era.

  1. *1
    Application Programming Interface (API): a mechanism that links different software, programs and other applications so that external data can be acquired.
  2. *2
    An open-source project for developers led by the Linux Foundation and GSMA.
  3. *3
    For more details, please refer to the website of the Digital Twin Campus Consortium (in Japanese).
  4. *4
    GSM Association (GSMA): the telecommunications industry's largest association with more than 1,000 members from 220 countries and regions, including about 800 mobile operators.
  5. *5
    Please see the press release dated September 20, 2023, “SoftBank Corp. Joins GSMA Open Gateway to Accelerate Global Telecommunication Cooperation.”
  6. *6
    The digital twin platform developed by SoftBank and provided to the Digital Twin Campus Consortium.
  7. *7
    A mechanism that allows switching of network communication bandwidth and latency according to the intended use.
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