The DEMETRA project engaged with potential users in all major industries to perform a detailed user needs analysis that gave insight to current application of time in each industry, identified and evaluated desired improvements and showed how requirements may evolve in the future.
Time is an elementary concept of our world that humanity has been dealing with from the beginning, trying to define and measure it with increasing precision, from the solar clock to the high performance atomic fountain clocks. Now we rely on a standard and universal definition of a coordinated time: UTC Time for “Universal Time Coordinated”.
UTC time is used everywhere, globally in the everyday life of citizens, from making a phone call and credit card payments to the delivery to power into every home on the planet. All of this daily usage relies on the accurate and simultaneous delivery of time to remote components and complex infrastructures that support the smooth running of these simple operations at user level: without time synchronisation, the technological world we rely on could not exist.
Benefiting from the Galileo GNSS constellation coming online, the opportunity to deliver time as a service is now open.
To pave the way of providing Time as a service, several key features constitute the differentiation criteria in regards with existing time synchronisation solutions:
Performance: Accuracy (how precise is the service), stability (frequency stability during a long period), availability (continuity of service) and also geographical coverage at user level (scalable covered areas).
Integration: Ease of service usage without the need of complex infrastructure installation and maintenance.
Control: Interface providing important monitoring products and historical usage data.
Finance - Organisations required by law to prove time used for time stamping transactions are UTC traceable and that time source frequency is commensurate with time stamping performance of data systems. Accuracy required is the millisecond-microsecond range (HFT).
Energy - Power distribution measuring devices require synchronised and reliable time sources to be distributed over wide geographical areas. Accuracy required is the microsecond range.
Telecommunications - Development in 5G networks calls for an increased level of accuracy in synchronising devices that are connecting 10 times more devices than today. The edge of networks will include many more nodes that required secure synchronised time. Accuracy required is also the nanosecond range.
Road – Road market relies on speed cameras in remote regions, using certified time stamping required over non-continuous periods. Accuracy required is the nanosecond range.
Aviation - Airports require a single secure source of time using technologically different methods for all airport users to reduce the need for multiple GNSS antenna and the risk of inference (especially in safety of life services). Accuracy required is the nanosecond range.
Rail – Rail side signalling and station time requires a single secure source of time across national infrastructure. The precise location of trains in relation to each other and fixed infrastructure is key. Knowledge of reliability of signal is critical. Accuracy required is the nanosecond range.
Maritime – Increasing accuracy and security in positioning systems around coastal regions and ports is required. Accuracy required is the nanosecond range.
Agriculture - Increasing accuracy for high precision devices requires highly accurate time delivered to remote rural areas.
Surveying - High precision devices require highly accurate guaranteed time, sometime in remote areas.
Relying on the analysis of these key features and on the DEMETRA services, the following table indicates which services can give benefits and feed the final user needs according to the market requirements and specificities:
|Market||Market Segment||Service 01
Time Broadcasting Over TV/Radio links
Certified Trusted Time Distribution Via NTP
Time & Frequency Distribution Over Optical Link
Time & Frequency Distribution Over GEO Satellite
User GNSS Receiver Calibration
Certified Time Steering
All-In-One Time Synchronisation System
|Energy||Power Distribution Networks, PMU|
|Media||TV/Radio Transmission Networks|
|Transport||Road, Rail, Aviation, Maritime|
|High benefits and advantages|
|Benefits with partial advantages|
You can find out a complete description of the different DEMETRA services through the TIME SERVICE menu.
All these services are now available for demonstration. If you are interested for participating to the experimentation (as experimental user or observer), please contact us.