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European Space Agency awards a contract for a terrestrial / satellite 5G tool-kit to CGI

The European Space Agency (ESA) is working with CGI (NYSE: GIB) (TSX: GIB.A) to develop a tool-kit known as Carnot-Sat for Integrated Radio Planning of heterogeneous terrestrial/ satellite networks, which will enable network operators to quickly and efficiently design and optimise 5G networks with the use of satellites.

Carnot-Sat will enable accelerated delivery of 5G, reduce the cost of rolling out large scale and rural networks, and provide the ability to introduce new hybrid services for applications like connected cars, and wide area machine-to-machine/IoT systems leveraging inherent characteristics of satellite connectivity. CGI will lead the delivery of the tool-kit, including system design, development and integration, building on its heritage and experience across both the satellite communications and telecommunications domains.

The Carnot-Sat tool is the first of its kind, and will enable users to carry out scenario-based modelling and to explore use cases for a range of vertical markets.  By focusing on the benefits of satellite networks, it will open up the market for 5G by demonstrating that satellite networks can be brought into the system efficiently and to the benefit of the network operator. The tool will complement the range of commercially available Radio Access Network (RAN) planning tools, building a system that supports existing workflows as part of CGI’s Integrated Radio Planning capability.

‘‘Space for 5G is a matter of strategic importance for the European Space Agency’’ says Georgios Ziaragkas, Technical Officer for the Carnot-SAT activity. ‘‘Within the ARTES Core Competitiveness programme, ESA is supporting CGI to develop effective tools enabling the satellite integration into 5G networks, with direct benefits for the ESA Member States Satcom stakeholders.”

Shaun Stretton, Vice President of Satellite Communications and Space Data Platforms at CGI in the UK said: “This an exciting project that brings together CGI’s Satcom Ground Systems and Telecommunications expertise. After talking to mobile network operators and other key stakeholders for 5G, it became clear that one of the initial challenges is efficiently rolling out networks, whilst there are many locations both in the UK and globally that don’t have sufficient access to terrestrial connectivity in order to support 100% 5G coverage. Utilising the global connectivity capabilities available from space in an efficient and integrated manner is the solution, and Carnot-Sat will provide 5G planners with the tool-set they require to achieve it.”

Catherine Mealing-Jones, Director of Growth at the UK Space Agency, said: “The UK is a leading investor in ESA telecommunications research, and recently committed an additional £250 million to support projects led by innovative companies like CGI. “Space technology is vital for the successful roll out of 5G and ubiquitous connectivity more generally. This programme will help people and communities across the whole country to access the next generation of digital services and grow the UK’s thriving space sector and the wider economy.”

As part of the project CGI will be utilising its state of the art 5G accelerator lab to explore and demonstrate the advantages of integrated satellite and terrestrial systems using over-the-air tests. The tool-set will also build upon CGI’s Geospatial data management tool, GeoData360, a state-of-the-art geospatial big-data processing platform.

CGI has been delivering complex, mission-critical space software systems for clients across Europe, Asia and North America supporting satellite navigation, communications and operations, to space enabled applications for over 40 years.

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2018