The medFLAME experiment aimed to validate a number of improvements for the end-user and the service operator resulting from the introduction of 5G edge processing in the Interactive Medical University (https://edu.medvc.eu), which is a platform for improving the qualifications of doctors and medical students in various medical specialities.
The validation in the experiment was supposed to be done while streaming VODs to students in Barcelona using content from the Sant Pau hospital (with which the experimenters have an ongoing cooperation). The medFLAME experiment was on track to accomplishing it, however the SARS-COV-2 pandemic got in the way of that.
First, the hospital declared that it would not be able to participate in the experiment, due to the overwhelming effort that was required from its side to fight the pandemic. To alleviate that, the experimenters came up with the idea of using pre-recorded medical videos, thus eliminating the necessity to engage the hospital.
However, as the pandemic situation developed in parallel, it turned out that a trial with the expected number of people would probably not be possible at all within the experiment’s timeframe, due to the pandemic restrictions. Therefore, the experimenters have come up with an alternative method of gathering the experimental data, trying to make the best of the situation and stay as close as possible to the original idea of the experiment, considering the obvious limitations of the situation.
The plan for the trial alternative consisted of two parts, a remote and an on-site one. The remote testing was done in order to gather quality of service results, while the on-site part of the plan was done to measure the quality of experience.
The on-site testing part of the plan involved 2 persons (from the Barcelona infrastructure staff), each handling 2 mobile devices, so each person would simulate 2 viewers in proximity to each other. Each test person would execute a few predefined scenarios, including walking along an agreed route or standing in one place to represent a break in a cafeteria. Afterwards, each test person would evaluate the service by fulfilling a questionnaire on their quality of experience. The on-site testing part of the experiment was performed in June 2020, and it turned out that, alongside the remote part, all of the originally envisioned results were successfully gathered. The evaluation of those results indicates that the FLAME platform and the edge-based nodes provided by FLAME show a great promise for enhancing the product offering of medVC.eu.