First Minister demo shows how 5G could transform education and manufacturing

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon saw a live virtual reality (VR) demo this week of 5G technology’s potential to transform teaching, learning and manufacturing.

The demo resulted from partnership working between BT, Glasgow City Council, the University of Glasgow and the Scotland 5G Centre to support Scotland’s 5G strategy.

Using 5G and VR to deliver education globally

The live VR simulation saw BT and researchers from the University of Glasgow demonstrate to the First Minister the use of 5G technology as a tool in education and manufacturing.

At a meeting with BT chief executive Philip Jansen in Edinburgh (pictured), she was able to watch, in real time via VR, a teaching scenario take place in a secure ‘clean’ area of the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre in Glasgow.

The demo illustrated how the faster speeds, reliability and responsiveness of 5G could enable a lecturer to provide immersive content to campuses and classrooms across the world. Lecturers and students would be able to interact in real time.

It also showed how people could visualise the operations of a manufacturing site from anywhere in the world, removing the need for them to be physically present, reducing disruption and contamination risks in ‘clean’ facilities, cutting travel and increasing access to experts and facilities.

Driving 5G progress in key sectors

Derek Boyd, Interim Director of the Scotland 5G Centre, commented:

This VR demo to the First Minister, showing how 5G could transform the delivery of education, is just one possible application of the technology in Scotland’s key economic sectors.

 “Other commercial applications could include in healthcare, sustainable energy, agriculture and aquaculture, leisure and tourism. The Scotland 5G Centre is now working with organisations across Scotland and beyond to help deliver these applications.”

Philip Jansen, chief executive of BT, said: 

“We showed the First Minister how our 5G network could bring a little bit of Glasgow to Edinburgh and vice versa. Our work to build out Scotland’s 4G and 5G networks continues at pace and we’re on the cusp of major technological shifts that will transform the way people live and work. The combination of full fibre broadband and 5G mobile will provide seamless and instant connectivity for businesses and communities in rural and urban areas.” 

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, said: 

“The demonstration is a powerful illustration of what 5G can do for Scotland, challenging the need for people to be physically present, reducing travel and its associated impacts – and increasing access to experts and facilities regardless of location.

“It illustrates the importance of collaboration and underlines our vision for Scotland to be a forward thinking, global, digital nation. We remain committed to working with partners like BT to support people and businesses throughout the country to develop the knowledge and digital skills they need to embrace the opportunities new technology like 5G provides.”

Councillor Angus Millar, Depute Convenor for Inclusive Economic Growth, Glasgow City Council, added:

“This collaboration with BT, Glasgow City Council and the university demonstrates the value of cross-sector partnerships to deliver results and supports the Scottish Government’s 5G strategy and its economic priorities.”

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