About this Research Topic
The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 as a pandemic and almost all countries across the globe have been affected by the virus both socially and economically. Many countries in Europe like Italy, Spain, Germany, France and the UK, and in North America like the United States and Canada have declared full or partial lockdown; and advised their people not to leave their homes unless necessary. In this difficult time, telecommunication networks have been identified as a critical service. Mobile and fixed broadband networks have played a key role to enable rapid transition of work from physical offices to digital platforms. The sensing capabilities of the current smart phones are being utilized to enable mobile crowd-sensing for extracting, sharing and analyzing data during the ongoing pandemic. New applications ranging from self-reporting of symptoms to coordinating and tracking essential personnel or volunteers or patients are being developed and rapidly deployed. Sensing capabilities are also being exploited for contact tracing and early isolation of infected people or areas. Wide range of social and educational applications are also being launched to deal with mental and physical health related issues under the lockdown.
While current communication and sensing technologies have been relatively successful to cope with the demands, several areas for improvement have already started to emerge. For instance, multimedia content providers are being asked to reduce their quality of streaming service to alleviate possible congestion. This issue may be addressed by the deployment of local-caching capability and cross-layer optimization in the network architecture. Local connectivity capabilities through Device-to-Device communication could also assist in addressing potential congestions. Such technologies are still in infancy and have not attained maturity for rapid deployment. There is significant room for innovation and improvement in connectivity and sensing services to enable rapid deployment of new applications. Addressing pandemic situation requires capabilities which transcend the traditional notion of public safety networking currently being explored by 3GPP for 5G Release 15.
This Research Topic aims to provide a platform for academic researchers and practitioners to present their novel ideas on how existing and emerging wireless communications and sensing technologies can be either adapted or enhanced to quickly tackle current pandemic situation due to COVID-19, or present new promising developments that enable telecom infrastructure and sensing capabilities to better assist in combating future pandemics. The rapid publication timeline could allow the proposed technologies, architectures and algorithms at higher TRLs to be immediately explored for tackling the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. To that end, authors are invited to submit manuscripts on topics including, but not limited to, the following:
Comm and Sensing for Healthcare solutions during pandemic
• Ultra-reliable low-latency communication (URLLC) for tele-surgery or robotic surgery and tele-medicine
• Artificial intelligence and machine learning driven communication networks for outbreak prediction, sensing, and emergency evacuation or quarantine instructions
• Artificial intelligence and machine learning inspired without human in the loop communications and sensing architectures for autonomous decisions, e.g., early disease diagnoses and management
• Molecular communications and bio-inspired sensors for e-health related pandemic applications
Comm and Sensing for contact tracing during pandemic
• 5G and beyond technologies for contact tracing, tracking and monitoring e.g., proximity and localization techniques
• Privacy preservation techniques for location-based services/ contact tracing/tracking or monitoring
• Distributed ledger technologies e.g., blockchain for end-to-end scalable traceability solutions
Wireless and Multimedia Networks for Pandemics
• Artificial intelligence and machine learning enabled Self-organizing networks for deployment, management and maintenance of the wireless networks for temporary infrastructure
• Flying platforms such as drones or UAVs for access and backhaul communication networks and sensing for temporary networks
• Satellite communications for global connectivity during pandemic such as rural and remote areas connectivity for society
• Architectures, technologies and optimization approaches for emerging multimedia applications and services, e.g. Virtual reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) and 3D holographic content
• Multi-access edge computing for new applications and use cases related to pandemics
Remote Monitoring and without Human in the Loop Systems for Pandemics
• Rapid deployment of new services in Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) spectrum bands
• Low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) use-cases and applications for remote condition monitoring e.g., patients and businesses
• Co-design of communication and control technologies for robotic systems and their applications for pandemic control and management
• Massive machine type communication (mMTC) and Industrial IoT for autonomous decisions in smart systems, e.g., health, transport and energy
• Vehicle to Infrastructure and Vehicle to Grid communications for autonomous cars and Electric Vehicles and their applications for pandemics
We welcome original research articles positioning some novel communication and sensing architectures or systems to solve Pandemic challenges, short and regular research articles reporting recent results, implementation and performance evaluation for these technologies and review articles presenting open questions and challenges for communications, networking and sensing technologies.
Keywords: Self-organizing networks, Ultra-reliable low-latency communication, Industrial IoT, Massive machine type communications, multimedia communication and AI/ML driven healthcare network, contact tracing, tracking and localization techniques
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.