Established as part of the National Development Plan (NDP) in 2018, the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund (DTIF) has a €500 million allocation. Oversight of the DTIF is entrusted to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, with administrative support from Enterprise Ireland. The fund's core objective is to foster collaboration between Ireland's top-tier research institutions and industry, empowering enterprises to vie for funding dedicated to advancing and implementing cutting-edge technologies. The aim is to support investment in the development and deployment of disruptive technologies and applications on a commercial basis. 

Prof. Ruffini provides a technical background and the context in which the ENERGISE project emerged.   

The evolution of wireless networks, marked by the advent of 5G and the imminent 6G, has transformed seamless connectivity from a convenience to an indispensable aspect of daily life. The next generation envisions ultra-low latency, high data rates, and massive device connectivity, necessitating increased network capacity, reliability, and lower latency. Achieving these goals requires a ten-to-hundred-fold increase in mobile access points, making network scalability a pivotal metric for future-network success. Notably, this scalability must be balanced with considerations of total cost of ownership and environmental impact. 

The current energy consumption of the telecoms industry, estimated at 2-4% of global energy, is escalating at twice the rate of other contributors. The Radio Access Network (RAN) accounts for 70-80% of total cellular network energy consumption, posing sustainability challenges.  

 Open RAN technology has the potential to reduce energy consumption considerably, by leveraging AI to automate and optimise network management and by enabling multiplexing of compute capacity, using state of the art data centre technology.  

 In addition, by allowing multiple vendors to contribute to an end-to-end radio system, Open RAN fosters competition, reduces costs, and encourages innovation. 

ENERGISE is a Disruptive Technology Innovation Fund project aiming to deliver the technology required to develop energy efficient and scalable solutions for Open RAN, enabling it to scale to meet the 6G requirements in a sustainable manner. The project consortium brings together partners whose expertise covers the entire end-to-end OpenRAN chain and will deliver a data plane, control and management plane frameworks with state-of-the-art energy saving features which will be demonstrated in the OpenIreland research infrastructure, extended to the commercial, live Dublin metropolitan network, to include a commercial cloud service provider.