From the rise of the Internet through to 5G, Marion Duprez’s career path has followed the evolution of networks. A researcher, she joined Orange as a telecoms and networks engineer in 1999, at the time of narrowband then broadband internet deployment. “It was a thrilling adventure, because the entire France Télécom IP (Internet Protocol) network had to be set up, with all technical fields being represented, thus enabling me to understand network construction from A to Z,” she tells us.
In 2006, at the time of 3G, noticing the rapid increase in data traffic on smartphones she decided to move from fixed networks to mobile networks, and to go into research so as to contribute to the development of the 4G architecture. “I felt the growing importance of data and thought to myself that 4G would be the generation to most need high-speed transport based on the IP. So I thought this was where my knowledge of the IP network could be the most useful.”
Marion worked next on fixed-mobile convergence, then on the convergence between telecommunications networks and IT, within projects aiming to encourage discussion between architects from these two different worlds. This global vision of networks, acquired throughout a career spent at the heart of their evolution, and her will to make teams collaborate, understandably brought her to lead the Plug’in platform research project, a platform launched by Orange with the aim to experiment 5G in the scope of integrative research.
Open and integrative research
“5G is a next generation mobile network that draws on technological developments in many areas, with software taking up an increasing share, explains Marion Duprez. In order to assimilate these different developments, we need research that is more integrative.”
That is the core of the Plug’in platform project: to create both a self-service technical platform, which makes all of the necessary tools for building technological bricks available to 5G researchers (radio, network core, software, etc.), but also to build a “shared playground“, enabling the gathering of competences and the exchange of developments, knowledge, and experience, so as to build an integrated 5G right from the start. A true transformation of research is taking place here!
Marion Duprez’s team has also set up a framework with the aim of working on the platform in collaborative mode with third parties (public research institutes, industry, start-ups, users). In this respect, the Plug’in platform perfectly embodies the Open Innovation initiative undertaken by Orange for several years now. “We believe that 5G will only be a success if it stems from an innovative and open ecosystem,” the researcher underlines.
A transformative 5G
A smart, secure, and responsible 5G that is also transformative, democratises new uses, and paves the way for numerous applications in a wide range of areas such as industrial robotics, autonomous vehicles, or even health and tourism. How? By offering very high data rates and a uniform user experience at all times, in all places, and on all devices; by connecting billions of smart objects; and by guaranteeing an extremely reliable network with low latency.
A 5G that is also very diverse and modular, according to Marion Duprez: “Our clients – industry, to start with – will be able to choose what options they wish to have on the 5G. A bit like when one chooses the features, bodywork, or colour of a car at the car dealer’s.” And it is the preparation of precisely this 5G that the Plug’in platform enables.