Wireless Innovation in Rural Communities: 5G, Mobile Services & Shared Spectrum Event – 22nd February 2022
Festive movie favourites in less than a minute – full fibre reaches over a quarter of Scottish homes
Advanced communications can provide a vital boost to Scotland’s economic development
First published in FutureScot; By Luca Campanalonga
Rarely has there been a period of such rapid development as the one we are currently experiencing in digital communications.
Technology that would have been the reserve of science fiction 25 years ago has become an extremely accessible part of everyday life and 5G connectivity is right at the heart of that.
Although most of us are familiar with 5G being what powers our mobile internet and keeps us connected on the go, it’s a technology that is being used in new and interesting ways by both the public and private sector. It can deliver tremendous benefits for communities and organisations, not only by reducing the digital divide, but also by increasing productivity and nurturing new skills.
How 5G powered broadcast of HM King Charles III’s coronation
For instance, it was Scottish 5G technology that powered the broadcast of HM King Charles III’s coronation. A once-in-a-generation event that, from a logistical point of view, was a challenge. When the King’s grandfather had his coronation in 1937, almost 10 miles of cabling was required to convey footage from the cameras at Westminster Abbey to the transmission centre at Alexandra Palace. This time around though, thanks to 5G technology developed by Neutral Wireless, a spin-out of the University of Strathclyde and a project supported by The Scotland 5G Centre, the connectivity deployment was significantly more straightforward and the solution has been considered by the industry as a breakthrough.
Being able to broadcast from any location is just one example of what 5G applications can do. What’s more, the nature of 5G technology means it can be integrated into any setting, making the business use cases for 5G almost endless. There has never been a better time for organisations to start integrating a proper 5G connectivity policy into their broader digitalisation strategy. In fact, there is a growing number of funding opportunities, across the UK, designed to help organisations and local authorities make that upgrade, and the development of innovations centres such as Scotland’s 5G Centre provides support to organisations trying to make the transition.
5G technology can hold the key to a whole range of innovations that can help improve efficiency and productivity, limit waste and help achieve net-zero targets.
Following the recent release of the Scottish Government’s Digital Innovation Strategy, it’s clear that each of these areas is a priority for Holyrood, but there is still a general lack of appreciation for exactly how beneficial investment in connectivity can be. Now is the moment for organisations, both public and private, to explore what funding is available to support further investment and the opportunities that advanced connectivity can bring.
And there is help out there, with £40 million recently set aside by DSIT to fund UK regions looking to establish themselves as ‘5G Innovation Regions’. In this context, The Scotland 5G Centre can support Local Authorities’ bid applications by providing access to our national suite of state-of-the-art 5G testbeds and technical resources, to accelerate activities that bridge the gap between trials and adoption and demonstrate the benefits to the economy and society.
According to Beauhurst, as of August last year, there were 858 high-growth tech businesses active in Scotland. Combine this with the world-class universities and there is no reason why Scotland shouldn’t be making the most of advanced communications technology.
The future success of 5G in Scotland relies on organisations being ready to take the plunge and embrace it even if it does take them out of their comfort zones. With financial support available and a fertile technology landscape which is producing more and more home-grown, skilled workers, there is real potential for 5G to enable key sectors to work smarter, be more competitive, and ultimately provide a timely boost to the Scottish economy.
5G virtual production breakthrough for UK movie industry as real-time scenes shot 280 miles apart
- Rapid 5G internet connection links Virtual Production ‘movie magic’ screens for simultaneous shoot with actors located in both Dundee and Manchester
- Industry partners team up with universities on pathfinder project to deliver ‘climate-friendly’ approach for TV, film and performing arts.
The first scenes from a ground-breaking movie making project have today been released, showcasing a new Virtual Production technique that allows actors to work together in real-time in two different locations using a 5G internet connection.
In a first for the UK film industry, the test sequence used the rapid bandwidth speed of wireless 5G to connect industry quality digital backdrop screens in studios in Dundee and Manchester, allowing two actors to be filmed against a consistent virtual environment, without the need to travel to an exotic location, or be in the same room.
Virtual Production is a new cinematography technique that uses computer-generated imagery (CGI), high-definition LED screens and motion capture to create virtual sets, allowing filmmakers and theatre directors to create large-scale digitally generated environments to support real-time interaction, offering a faster, less expensive alternative to green screens.
The project is the first UK proof of concept for wireless virtual production film-making, opening the door to a more flexible approach as 5G is rolled out across the country, while also showcasing the potential for mobile studios capable of being set up on any site with a 5G connection.
Led by Abertay University in Dundee, the 5G project is part of the Tay5G use case trial funded by the Scottish Government through the Tay Cities Region Deal and is supported by Dundee City Council; InGAME (Innovation for Games and Media Enterprise); VSS (Video Screen Services) StoryFutures; Royal Holloway, University of London; The Scotland 5G Centre and telecoms infrastructure company AWTG.
A large LED screen, part of which was previously used to film 2022 movie The Batman, was installed by VSS in Abertay’s new Virtual Production Research Environment in Dundee and was linked via 5G by AWTG to a similar screen in Manchester.
The short test sequence – featuring a sci-fi narrative based around AI Armageddon – was directed by Professor Peter Richardson, Head of Virtual Production at StoryFutures and Professor of Creative Industries at Royal Holloway, University of London.
He said: “From a directing perspective, we had a team up in Dundee and a team down in Manchester where I was physically based, and I would give the actors direction over the 5G network, as well as receiving a direct feed from the camera in Dundee. I could see both shots on my monitor and the two actors that are 280 miles away acting together as though they were there in the same room. It’s been an interesting journey and we managed to get some really great material, so when the shots are compiled together you really do believe the actors are side by side, face to face.”
Abertay University hosts the 5G testbed in Dundee, giving researchers access to a private, controlled network to develop high-performing mobile processes almost matching the speeds of hard-wired connections.
Matt Bett of Abertay University’s Division of Games Technology and Mathematics said the use of virtual production coupled with 5G has enormous potential for the industry, including scope for a significant reduction in carbon footprint through reduced travel.
He added: “The Tay5G Virtual Production project has given us an opportunity to showcase the power of 5G for film production in a way that’s never been accomplished before. These results open the way for 5G to facilitate some major advances in the film and TV industries in the future and to put the UK at the forefront of the huge range of possibilities currently the horizon.”
The Tay5G project is funding a range of use case trials using 5G mobile technology in the Tay Cities Region, building on the area’s strategic strengths in the creative and digital industries. The core partnership consists of the Councils of Dundee City, Angus, Fife and Perth & Kinross.
Scottish Government Innovation Minister Richard Lochhead said: “I congratulate Abertay University and partners on developing this transformative new approach to film making.
“Scottish Government funding through the Tay Cities Region Deal is helping place Dundee in the vanguard by supporting cutting edge technology, promising to significantly reduce the film industry’s carbon footprint while helping the regional economy grasp enormous opportunities enabled by 5G.”
Dundee’s Fair Work, Economic Growth and Infrastructure Convener, Councillor Steven Rome said: “It is incredibly exciting to see Dundee at the forefront of this groundbreaking work and use of 5G. When the Tay5G project was being developed, we knew that Virtual Production offered huge potential to build on the partners’ expertise across production and games as well as the outcomes from transnational EU project Create Converge and creative clusters InGAME and Story Futures. With the recent announcement of a new ‘movie magic’ research lab planned for Dundee, we’re building on world-class expertise in the creative and tech sectors to deliver our shared vision for a strong, smart and sustainable local economy with jobs and opportunities for all.”
5G-enabled Testing at our Innovation Hubs – KMsoft
KMsoft are a family-owned software house, providing both accredited and bespoke software solutions for a wide range of sectors including healthcare, retail, manufacturing, automotive and government.
With invaluable expertise in inventory management, barcode scanning and RFID technology spanning over 40 years, KMsoft offer businesses innovative inventory management and asset tracking solutions, including label printers or pre-printed labels, mobile and fixed position barcode scanners, as well as all the software and training required to improve the efficiency and profitability of the business.
We spoke to Pete Thomson, Founder and CEO of KMsoft:
1. What are you testing at The Scotland 5G Centre (S5GC) hub?
Today, at The Scotland 5G centre, we are testing our StockAssist barcode inventory management solutions, to see if we can establish secure, fast communication over the hub’s private 5G network.
2. What have you achieved during initial testing?
In conjunction with The Scotland 5G Centre, in our initial testing at the hub, we have successfully proven that our barcode inventory management solutions will work over a private 5G network.
3. What options and opportunities does testing in a 5G environment bring to your organisation & product that other technologies can’t?
The proof of concept testing we have carried out today, and the evidence that our technology works as we hoped stands us in a much stronger position when we come to market our products and services to large organisations, particularly within the logistics and food & beverage sector who either have implemented or are planning to implement their own 5G network into their factories and workspaces.
4. What does it mean for a company such as yours having this innovation space available and accessible for businesses in the Forth Valley region?
Having this space and the equipment to test ideas and innovations, together with the technical team to support the testing located locally within the Forth Valley definitely opens up more opportunity to businesses located throughout the country. The Scotland 5G Centre’s hub network ensures that support is available to everyone in Scotland with new concepts or technologies without being based in one of the two major cities.
First innovation hub and portable ‘pop-up’ 5G network for businesses in the Highlands and Islands
The Scotland 5G Centre is supporting rural communities across the Highlands and Islands at their first innovation hub with a portable ‘pop-up’ 5G network service
The Highlands and Islands innovation hub is the sixth hub opened by The Scotland 5G Centre
The Highlands and Islands innovation hub, with its primary location in Inverness, is the result of a partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise to support economic growth in the region
The Scotland 5G Centre’s first ‘pop-up’ network service is delivering access to advanced connectivity technology in towns and communities in the Highlands and Islands. The Scotland 5G Centre (S5GC), funded by the Scottish Government, is the national centre for accelerating the deployment and adoption of 5G in Scotland. This is the sixth innovation hub opened by S5GC to support the overall growth of the digital economy across the country.
The hub is based at #hellodigital, a digital demonstration centre, hosted by the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) at An Lòchran, Inverness. Businesses have been testing products, services and solutions via the 5G enabled ‘pop up’ portable service provided by technical partner, Celona. By transporting the new, custom 5G network across the Highlands and Islands, S5GC is taking the technology to the community, accelerating the deployment and adoption of 5G-enabled solutions to deliver economic benefit.
Surveys from Highlands and Islands Enterprise show that although engagement with digital technology is growing in the region overall, it is still below Scotland’s average. Covering over 15,000 miles, the Highlands and Islands region is home to more than 480,000 people and over 20,000 businesses.
Ian Sharp, Head of Strategy and Delivery at The Scotland 5G Centre, said:
“With towns so remote and widely dispersed, the Highland and Islands region is an area of Scotland that can significantly benefit from 5G connectivity. As well as being our first innovation hub based here, the 5G ‘pop up’ network allows us to bring 5G technology to geographically dispersed areas, from Thurso to Fort William, making it accessible for small to medium sized businesses and showing them the benefits this could bring. We have loved this opportunity to collaborate with local businesses on their doorstep and showcase the potential of 5G. Our experience working with rural communities at our S5GConnect hub in Dumfries gives us the tools to usher a new age of connectivity into this region. We’ve already been working with businesses all over the Highlands and Islands, collaborating to solve their unique connection challenges.”
Theresa Swayne, Senior Development Manager at HIE, added:
“Expanding the hub network to the Highlands and Islands will provide businesses across the region with an opportunity to demonstrate, develop and apply 5G connectivity in new applications.
“It will ensure that key sectors continue to be at the forefront of digital technology developments and will help them to grow their businesses and create jobs. We’re really pleased to welcome The Scotland 5G Centre hub to An Lòchran in Inverness and it’s great to see our region’s businesses already using it.”
This hub is part of the S5GConnect programme to deliver a network of innovation centres to drive economic growth across Scotland, as part of the Scottish Government 2020/21 Programme for Government. As the sixth hub of its kind in Scotland, the Highlands and Islands mobile hub is working with regional businesses and providing access to a 5G development platform, driving even more investment and interest to the area.
The innovation hub team works with SMEs, communities, industry and agencies all across the Highlands and Islands. Some of the first businesses to use the network include:
- Project Laxford, by the Atlantic Salmon Trust: This charity tracks the decline in wild salmon around Scotland. The team is collaborating with The Scotland 5G Centre and HIE to look at solutions for poor mobile connectivity in some remote regions, potentially allowing for better data analysis and real-time monitoring.
- The Port of Nigg: Based in Easter Ross, Nigg is one of Scotland’s most important energy industry locations and acts as a hub for the renewables industry, with storage, lay down and yard logistics for wind turbines. The Scotland 5G Centre has installed semi-permanent equipment to improve connectivity, including testing push to talk equipment and a mobile app for workers on the site.
- The Digital Health & Care Innovation Centre (DHI):The Alexander Graham Bell Centre for Digital Health, situated in Elgin, brings together the expertise in Digital Healthcare and Life Sciences within the region and across Scotland. The Scotland 5G Centre has worked with DHI and Scottish Ambulance to demonstrate the capabilities of 5G in the healthcare environment, including high speeds and network capabilities.
Find out more about the Highlands & Islands hub and our services here: https://scotland5gcentre.org/
Loch Lomond to London and beyond: How Scottish 5G Innovation powered Coronation news broadcasting
● University of Strathclyde spin-out company, Neutral Wireless, worked with BBC R&D and other key partners to deliver the world’s largest temporary private 5G standalone network on The Mall in London, supporting international broadcasters
● Testing of the network took place in Loch Lomond, at The Scotland 5G Centre’s Rural Testbed, funded by Scottish Government
● Activities support Government aspiration for Scotland to be a leading 5G digital nation
5G technology tested in Loch Lomond at the Scotland 5G Centre testbed was deployed with BBC R&D to support the live new broadcasting of His Majesty King Charles III’s Coronation.
The University of Strathclyde software-defined radio (StrathSDR) team and spin-out company Neutral Wireless deployed the largest temporary private 5G standalone network of its type at the King’s Coronation. This network was used by 20 leading broadcasters, including BBC, CBS, Sky and CNN. The company set up eight 5G cells along The Mall, providing reliable and uncontested coverage from Buckingham Palace to Admiralty Arch. This network delivered 1 Gbps of wireless connectivity, carrying high definition (HD) video from wireless cameras to production facilities around the world.
Early design and testing of this network took place at The Scotland 5G Centre’s Rural Testbed at Ross Priory in Loch Lomond, over 400 miles from London, in a collaboration involving key partners from the broadcast and media production industry. The Scotland 5G Centre, funded by the Scottish Government, is the national centre for accelerating the deployment and adoption of 5G connectivity in Scotland. Along with Loch Lomond, the centre has a number of Innovation Hubs and testbeds all over Scotland, supporting industry and public sectors with advanced connectivity solutions. The Scottish Government’s aspiration is for Scotland to be at the forefront of the digital revolution and, ultimately, to establish the whole country as a leading 5G digital nation.
Scottish Government Innovation Minister Richard Lochhead said:
“The Scottish Government’s investment via our Scotland 5G Centre has made it possible for the Neutral Wireless team to break a new world record by broadcasting such an historic occasion to millions of people around the world over a 5G network.
“This outstanding achievement demonstrates once again how 5G technology can help transform Scotland’s economy by driving innovation and enhancing our global competitiveness.”
To provide wireless HD cameras for live events, broadcasters may use point-to-point radio connections or use the public mobile networks with purpose-built multi-connection “cellular bonding” solutions. However, point-to-point links can be expensive, and using the public mobile networks can be challenging at large events, such as the Coronation or sports events, where large crowds can cause congestion and put a strain on network resources.
In addition, professional high-definition video requires high capacity networks with a high upload speed, whereas public networks are designed with a focus on serving data downloads to thousands of connected devices. The high quality private 5G network solved these issues, allowing camera operators to get close to the action and engage with the public without being inhibited by wires, whilst still streaming high-definition live footage. The network was also used to provide connectivity for live BBC radio contributions. 5G technology was previously used on a smaller scale to connect cameras for international news broadcast coverage of the late Queen Elizabeth II’s final departure from Scotland, as part of the same know-how engineered and tested in Scotland on the Scotland 5G Centre rural testbed project
Ian Sharp, Head of Business Development at the Scotland 5G Centre, said:
“The Coronation filming shows the enormous scope of 5G technology, being trusted to facilitate the worldwide broadcast of a historical moment. While all eyes were on London, behind the scenes, Scottish innovation and testing in the S5GC rural testbed at Loch Lomond helped the broadcast of this important day to go smoothly. This achievement showcases the transformative potential of 5G, as well as the need for testbed facilities and innovation hubs to support industry with real world applications.”
Prof. Bob Stewart, University of Strathclyde, added:
“This was an incredible 5G network to design, build and operate. Using shared spectrum, and our own 5G Network in a Box (NIB) standalone (SA) radio technology, we had control of every aspect of the network, from basestation to user devices, all controlled from our own network operations. Very exciting times for private 5G, which can be used to complement the public networks rather than compete with them. We have some exciting networks coming in 2024!”
Key partners for the private 5G network used at the Coronation include BBC R&D, StrathSDR, Sony, LiveU and Haivision.
Celebrating Team Anniversaries At Our Hubs
Today marks the 2-year work anniversary of our Business Engagement Managers based in Forth Valley and Dumfries.
Andy Todman, Business Engagement Manager for S5GConnect Dumfries, based on The Crichton Estate, and Tom Marchbanks, Business Engagement Manager for S5GConnect Forth Valley, based within Forth Valley College’s Alloa Campus both started on 17th May 2021.
Since then, the hubs have hosted over 20 events both virtual and in-person; bringing together public, private and not for profit organisations, and businesses and academia based within the regions.
In Dumfries, Andy has welcomed a number of businesses and distinguished guests to the hub including Andrew Bailey, Governor of the Bank of England and Will Dowson, Bank of England’s Agent for Scotland highlighting the role which 5G and other advanced technologies are playing in enhancing the impact rural communities like Dumfries and Galloway can have on the wider economy.
S5GConnect Dumfries also launched our inaugural innovation challenge, outlining three core challenges within the health and social care sector with the purpose of bringing 5G solutions into the supply chain or close to market realisation. As part of the challenge each of the three winning companies took part in a 15-week development programme; with access to the Private 5G testbed in Dumfries and one-to-one technical expertise to support technical development.
During COP26, in Dumfries, Andy, working with the University of Glasgow’s Communication, Sensing and Imaging Team hosted a 5G-enabled video conference via the Private 5G networks at S5GConnect Dumfries and the University of Glasgow demonstrating the low latency capabilities of the network.
Over in Forth Valley, Tom has welcomed local businesses in to the hub to test their products and services over the Private 5G network. Most recently, Lightwater Sensors, a spin-out from the School of Physics & Astronomy at the University of St Andrews, specialising in developing portable, real-time optical chemical sensors for pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and explosives visited the hub to test their water quality detection sensors over the 5G network. Testing was successful meaning that the sensors can be left in situ at remote sites and checked remotely by the team. This reduces the need to travel and ensures that any pollution events are picked up as they happen, speeding up response and mitigation.
Environmental monitoring and reducing carbon emissions are key areas of focus at S5GConnect Forth Valley. With the rising cost of energy consumption fast becoming one of the world’s most pressing challenges, it’s important to re-evaluate energy usage and come up with a strategy to change our collective behaviours to save money and resources and at S5GConnect Forth Valley, Tom has connections with the organisations leading the way including Scotland’s International Environment Centre (SIEC) and the Centre for Engineering Education and Development (CeeD).
Earlier this year, Tom hosted an event in partnership with CeeD on how 5G and data connectivity plays an important role in reducing carbon emissions during the manufacturing process highlighting the opportunities within the region and how 5G can transform industries, optimising and automising everyday tasks.
And it doesn’t stop here! Our regional hub team are continuing to host events, invite businesses into our Private 5G testing environments and showcase how advanced communications can transform workplaces.
Find out more about our innovation hubs and what we offer here: https://scotland5gcentre.org/ourinnovationhubs/
Get in touch with the team here: https://scotland5gcentre.org/expression-of-interest/
5G-enabled Testing at our Innovation Hubs – Esports Scotland
Esports Scotland are the first registered professional gaming organisation based in Scotland, aiming to support competitive gaming from the grassroots to the professional level through education, partnerships and community.
Esports is a catch-all term for any kind of professional competitive gaming, whether individual or team-based. Esports players will sound off against each other in games like CSGO, League of Legends and Rainbow Six: Siege for example, to find who out is the best in the world.
Now a multi-million-pound global industry, Esports have millions of fans all over the world who tune in to live streams with commentary or catch the highlights of matches.
We spoke to James Hood, Founder and CEO, Esports Scotland:
1. What are you testing at The Scotland 5G Centre (S5GC) hub?
During our visits to the S5GC innovation hub in Dundee, we have been testing low latency for esports. Using High end gaming laptops, we have been conducting a series of tests using standard wi-fi and then the same tests using the 5g network.
2. What are you hoping to achieve during testing?
We are hoping to bring the latency right down so that in the future we can use 5G networks as an option for our esports tournaments. 5G would support real-time gameplay enabling players to react quickly and make split second decisions; high-quality live streaming allowing audiences around the world to watch the action as it happens; and smart venue management including monitoring event logistics, traffic flow, crowd control and improving overall safety and efficiency.
3. Why are you using 5G to test your product/solution?
Because not every location we work in has the best set up for a hard wire network and as we continue to grow the esports industry in Scotland we feel 5G could enable us to bring esports to areas in Scotland that have slow internet – a 5G pop up network would be an ideal solution.
4. What’s it like working at the S5GC hub?
Fantastic! Kirsty, Jack and their team have so helpful in every aspect of the testing phase and its certainly an R&D project we are excited to keep progressing with.
5. How is 5G transforming the gaming industry?
5G is currently transforming the gaming industry through mobile esports, low latency, cloud gaming, broadcasting and production. Integrating 5G technology into the industry creates a more engaging and interactive experience for both players and spectators, enabling them to fully participate in the event in real-time, regardless of their physical location.
5G-enabled Testing at our Innovation Hubs – Lightwater Sensors
Lightwater Sensors are a spin-out from the School of Physics & Astronomy at the University of St Andrews, specialising in developing portable, real-time optical chemical sensors for pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and explosives.
Currently funded by a Scottish Enterprise grant under the High Growth Spin Out programme, their hand-held devices are portable, lightweight, and transmit real-time data.
Lightwater Sensors has won the 2020 Converge Kickstart Challenge and the 2021 Scottish Wild Card EDGE awards.
We spoke to Founder Dr Ross Gillanders:
1. What are you testing at The Scotland 5G Centre (S5GC) hub?
Lightwater Sensors have developed portable real-time sensors for water quality detection. We have a robust hand-held unit with a replaceable chemical sensing thin film, and the unit can be used in a “point and shoot” manner for instant monitoring, or they can be hard-wired along a waterway for long-term continuous monitoring. The sensors were originally developed as explosives sensors for landmine and IED detection, which we still keep an interest in, though water quality is the focus.
2. What are you hoping to achieve during testing?
We hope to prove the data can be communicated in real time over long distances, so individual sensors can be accessed from anywhere in the world.
3. Why are you using 5G to test your product/solution?
A lot of water sites that require monitoring, like reservoirs or lochs and rivers, are quite remote and quality testing can be infrequent, requiring operatives to travel long distances. With 5G we can leave the sensors in-situ and, by logging in to a secure website from anywhere in the world, click on any sensor to see what’s happening there and then. This means any pollution event gets picked up as it happens and stakeholders can be alerted, speeding up response and mitigation, and lowering clean-up costs and any danger to public health.
4. What’s it like working at the S5GC hub?
The Lightwater Sensors team found the S5GC hub a welcoming place to test out our sensors, with the staff there all really helpful. We quickly managed to get our system on to the network, and we’re looking forward to conducting more tests both at the S5GC and out in the field.
5. How do you see 5G transforming the aquaculture industry?
As a lot of sensors and analysers are required at many points in remote locations, with multiple, discrete sensors all on a 5G network, we can quickly assess the water health at any point in that network in real time, helping protect water for everyone.
5G-enabled Testing at our Innovation Hubs – Cadence
Cadence delivers an omni-channel solution with an integrated, structured, and consistent customer experience that enables clients to put customer satisfaction front and centre.
With over 40 years of leadership experience in the industry, Cadence are experts at onboarding new clients seamlessly and efficiently.
Based at the HALO Digital and Cyber Innovation Park in Kilmarnock, their mission is to be Scotland’s premier boutique outsourcer, creating long term partnerships that deliver an exceptional customer experience.
Cadence have been testing the difference which Private 5G can make to user experiences compared to business as usual. Testing took place at S5GConnect HALO Kilmarnock, our Ayrshire innovation hub.
We spoke to Cadence Co-founders & Managing Partners Malcolm MacLennan and John Dougan:
1. What are you testing at The Scotland 5G Centre (S5GC) hub?
The objective of this Use Case test is to determine whether there is a difference in user experience when comparing BAU (Business as Usual) activity versus activity over a Private 5G network.
Cadence BPO’s contact centre operatives use a multitude of platforms, to make calls via voice & video, manage customer data, record performance, and carry out standard online activities.
All applications and tools are web-based and therefore vulnerable to data connection outages and latency challenges.
Backup data connections cannot provide resilience beyond the exchange, nor can they provide an appropriate resolution to power outages.
Modern contact centre practices allow for battery powered laptops and battery powered cellular routers to bypass local power concerns, local connectivity issues and provide mobility.
Proving consistent and reliable connectivity alternatives is fundamental to customer confidence, business continuity and potential strategy decisions.
2. What did you achieve during testing?
During testing we measured the difference in User Experience when operating over a Private 5G cellular connection against regular fixed onsite data connection.
Disaster redirection / resilience is the ability to operate when standard environment changes occur. The test was successful – there was no noticeable difference in experience from those users using existing fixed wired business comms to the Private 5G network ensuring that customers wouldn’t be impacted if the systems failed or lagged.
3. Why are you using 5G to test your product/solution?
Disaster recovery resilience has been available using traditional comms in the past 10 years, however their design in nature results generally in 100% increase in costs to duplicate existing infrastructure. Simple cellular delivery for a temporary backup solution could be developed at a fraction of the cost. Coupled with the security aspects of Private 5G this would meet and exceed our ISO 9001/27001 and Cyber Essentials accreditation criteria.
4. What’s it like working at the S5GC hub?
The biggest advantage of working at the S5GC hub is that the Centre are well-connected so you get access to their wide range of innovation partners and a network of events that provide valuable insight into this leading-edge technology.
5. As the first tenants of HALO’S #rockme trading floor, what’s best about working within a co -working area?
The HALO is a state of the art, low carbon, sustainable facility located in the centre of Kilmarnock. The HALO #RockMe Trading floor sponsored by Barclays Eagle Labs is an ideal place for Cadence to grow, develop, collaborate and gain access to the best support to drive our business within the new economy.
Transforming Your Business With 5G
On 17th April, The Scotland 5G Centre held its largest in-person event to date – a national 5G conference in Glasgow’s Innovation District.
Taking place at the Technology and Innovation Centre, our Transforming Your Business with 5G event was a huge success with SME’s from across Scotland, global telecoms companies, local authorities and researchers in attendance.
5G technology offers more than just improved mobile phone connections. Companies of all sizes across the world are embracing 5G technology to take advantage of the benefits it enables.
With challenges across industries including rising energy costs, ageing technology, security concerns and supply chain disruptions, 5G can transform business operations and save time and money, providing real-time data and allowing staff to work remotely.
On the day, attendees heard from Kirsty Scott, Business Engagement Manager of The Centre’s Dundee innovation hub on the support available to businesses and role the Scotland 5G Centre plays in accelerating the adoption of 5G in Scotland. The Scotland 5G Centre innovation hubs are located nationwide and offer free access to cutting-edge 5G test beds, providing impartial advice to organisations wishing to set up private 5G networks.
Following Kirsty’s introduction, there were guest presentations from Vodafone, Ericsson and Ofcom.
Craig Pemberton, Senior Innovation Manager, Vodafone Business presented on ‘Connecting the Unconnectable for Smarter Transport and Logistics’ highlighting the increased pressure on ports to create efficiencies and how wireless technologies are changing the way they operate – increasing automation, eliminating operational delays and digitising the supply chain.
Richard Moore, Principal of Spectrum Policy at Ofcom presented on ‘Radio Spectrum for 5G’ showcasing the options available to businesses including Private 5G, Public 5G, LoRa, Wi-Fi and LTE technologies. Ofcom have made available ‘Shared Access’ spectrum suitable for local 5G network deployment meaning businesses can request low-cost licenses enabling localised access to spectrum.
Mike Barlow, Sales Director of Enterprise at Ericsson UK&I, presented ‘But I Can Do That With WiFi, Can’t I?’ exploring the benefits of Private Mobile Networking and how it can be used to compliment other technologies. Mike presented where Wi-Fi can be used recommending its use for non-critical tasks like video calls and administrative tasks whereas Private 5G technology would be more beneficial for business critical and mission critical situations where the business or lives are at risk if the system doesn’t perform as planned.
Following the presentations, The University of Glasgow presented a 5G-enabled teleoperation demonstration and how it can be applied to pharmaceutical manufacturing; and Ian Sharp, Head of Strategy and Delivery at The Centre chaired an innovation panel discussion exploring how innovation centres can support the creation of a new digital future.
Joining the panel were: Lynsey Brydson, Head of Digital Programmes at Built Environment Smarter Transformation; Dr Rachael Wakefield, Business Development Manager at Censis; and Darran Gardner, Business Development Executive at The Data Lab.
The panel discussed the potentials of new technologies, the importance of innovation and collaboration, solving the digital divide and the transition to a net zero economy.
Request a visit to one of our hubs for impartial advice: https://scotland5gcentre.org/expression-of-interest/
Read about the 5G demonstration here.
View the slide deck here.
Find out more about our partner companies:
5G in Aerospace & Manufacturing
This week, The Scotland 5G Centre in partnership with South Ayrshire Council hosted an event on the benefits of 5G for the aerospace industry.
Taking place at S5GConnect HALO Kilmarnock, our innovation hub based in Ayrshire, the event brought together more than 20 businesses and local authorities interested in learning more about 5G capabilities and possibilities.
In the aerospace industry, there are a number of challenges facing businesses such as the rising energy costs, ageing technologies, recruitment and retention of staff and a demand for more sustainable solutions. This is where 5G can transform the sector – improving business efficiency, increasing digital security and improving reliability.
Ayrshire is fast becoming one of the UK’s leading centres of Aerospace and Space activity with an Aerospace Innovation Centre and Prestwick Spaceport located within South-West Scotland and a Mangata Space Engineering Hub set to open in 2024.
At the event, Sharon Neely, S5GConnect HALO Kilmarnock’s Business Engagement Manager introduced The Scotland 5G Centre, 5G capabilities for the manufacturing industry and how we can support businesses to adopt advanced technologies.
With 54 projects currently on going, The Centre works with partners across the hub network helping businesses to develop their digital strategy and futureproof their operations, products and services.
Each hub provides free access to cutting edge 5G mobile private networks, allowing organisations to test new 5G enabled products, services, efficiency savings and innovative solutions.
Daniel Hood, Aerospace Procurement Specialist, at South Ayrshire Council highlighted the training and development opportunities available to businesses including the National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme, Scottish Enterprise support services and NMIS manufacturing support and upskilling services.
Other speakers at the event included Dr Marie Macklin, Founder of the HALO Urban Regeneration Company who welcomed businesses to the HALO #RockMe trading floor, the co-working space which hosts The Centre’s Kilmarnock hub and Jonathan Errici, Eco-systems Manager at Barclays Eagle Labs who highlighted the Barclays’ Funding Readiness Programme, available within the region for manufacturing companies.
Closing the event, Dr Ahmad Taha, Lecturer and Researcher at the Communication, Sensing, & Imaging (CSI) Group, University of Glasgow showcased a demo of how robotics can be introduced into the sector, allowing businesses to remotely operate machinery.
Find out more about The Scotland 5G Centre and our innovation hubs here: https://scotland5gcentre.org/ourinnovationhubs/
Get in touch with our team for tailored, impartial advice on how to future-proof your business: https://scotland5gcentre.org/expression-of-interest/
Scotland 5G Centre Event Provides Pathway to Transform Scottish Businesses
Taking place on 17th April 2023 at The Technology & Innovation Centre, Glasgow, The Scotland 5G Centre is holding an event, Transforming Your Business With 5G. The event will bring together key leaders in the 5G space to give Scottish businesses the opportunity to learn about the transformational benefits that 5G technology is bringing to multiple industry sectors.
Over a hundred organisations are expected to attend the event next month, where they will get the opportunity to engage with the Scottish Government funded Centre and hear from industry leaders including Vodafone, The Data Lab, BE-ST and CENSIS.
Attendees will hear about the Scotland 5G Centre’s free range of support services and how they can access the state-of-the-art 5G testbeds that are in rural and urban areas across the country within the Centre’s innovation hubs.
Ian Sharp, Head of Strategy & Delivery, The Scotland 5G Centre said:
“The event is designed to inspire organisations throughout Scotland and learn first-hand about the enormous impact that 5G technology is having on everyday business operations including increasing efficiency, reducing costs, improving and future-proofing systems, operations, and products. For Scottish businesses looking to gain a competitive advantage and overcome difficult economic challenges, 5G technology provides an exciting pathway to success.”
The event has limited capacity, and is free to register on Eventbrite.
International Women’s Week – Introducing our Board of Directors
This week at The Scotland 5G Centre we are celebrating some of our Board Members
The theme for International Women’s Day this year is ‘embracing equity’, celebrating women’s achievements while raising awareness about discrimination and acting to drive gender parity.
At The Scotland 5G Centre we are proud that over 50% of our Board Members are female, compared to the UK average of women’s board representation – across the FTSE 100 only around 39% of board members are women.
Demonstrating a major sea-change in attitudes and behaviours, there’s been huge improvements over the last 15 years. There are no longer any all-male boards in the FTSE 350 as of 2021, in comparison to 2015 where there was 15 and to 2011 when there was 152 within the FTSE 250 alone!
This week we celebrate how far we have come as a nation, reflecting on our achievements and considering how we can support women in the industry and work towards gender equality in the workplace.
Let us introduce you to some of our S5GC Board Members!
Fiona Smith, Non-Executive Director
- Tell us about your career so far?
I’ve spent my career in airports, developing operational strategy and innovation initiatives in airports from Scotland to as far as New Zealand. I am currently responsible for setting the strategy for AGS Airports group in future air mobility and its impact on sustainable aviation, airspace design, air traffic and aircraft noise. I am also project Director of CAELUS, A £10m Innovate UK funded project, designing and demonstrating a national eco-system for drones serving NHS in Scotland.
- As a member of the S5GC board, what’s the best thing about your role?
I passionately support the development of new technology and in particular that with sustainability benefit, both from an emissions reduction perspective and also from a socio-economic point of view. The potential for 5G and advanced connectivity is huge in sectors capable of making a real impact such as health, agriculture and transport. It’s exciting to play a role in support of the S5GC to potentially enable businesses to help accelerate that change.
- What advice would you give to women considering taking on roles such as Director and Board Members?
It is easy to think that you don’t have the experience to be a Director or that a board role is for someone already operating at Exec level but this isn’t always the case. Look to your existing experience – how many committees have you held an active role or even chaired? Do you feel comfortable giving challenge on a topic you feel passionately about? This is all fantastic grounding for a Director role. You can offer much more than you think and we all have to start somewhere – so take the leap! There are plenty of good resources online and I found Women on Boards to be really helpful at the start. There are some great resources for women in STEM out there.
- At your level what actions do you take to work towards gender equality in the industry?
The aviation industry has made great progress in recent years but even so, 40% of women in my industry still say there is a lack of opportunity for advancement so there is still a long way to go. Having visible and publicly recognised female role models at each level of the organisation is critical to progression so I make myself visible wherever I can, no matter how uncomfortable that can sometimes feel! I am also a true advocate of mentoring and have been both mentor and mentee on the ALTA mentoring scheme for women in aviation. I champion gender equality in AGS and try to shine a light on talent in our organisation whenever possible.
- Fun Fact: What is your favourite piece of technology?
As Project Director for CAELUS, I believe that drones have a significant role to play in sustainability as a tool to reduce social inequality, particularly around health care. We partner with NHS Scotland to understand and demonstrate medical use cases across urban, rural and remote communities across Scotland. Drones will absolutely play a vital role in all of our everyday lives in the future.
Olga Kozlova, Board Member
- Tell us about your career so far?
I am the Director of Innovation and Industry Engagement at the University of Strathclyde where I lead entrepreneurship and investment functions, industrial engagement and the development of the Technology and Innovation Centre Zone within the Glasgow City Innovation District.
Before moving to Strathclyde, I was the founder and director of Converge Challenge – the leading company creation programme aimed at students, graduates and staff of all nineteen Scottish Universities. I started my career as a Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellow, before moving on to become a founder and a CEO in a biotechnology start-up company and afterwards working in business development and knowledge exchange in life sciences sector.
- As a member of the S5GC board, what’s the best thing about your role?
Being a member of S5GC Board has been really interesting as the Centre works with SMEs across all sectors and different regions of Scotland. It’s exciting to see so many different applications of 5G technology to businesses and also, I love the fact that 5G is so much more than just about your mobile signal.
- What is the most important leadership skill?
For me, the most important leadership skill is being able to build partnerships. Collaboration, whether it is within one organisation or across many different ones-is the force that brings true successes. Helping people to unite behind one vision and then achieving it-this is what transformational leadership is about.
- How can we encourage more women into the technology sector?
I do believe that education and role models play a key part in bringing more women into technology. Girls should be taught at school that having a successful and rewarding career in technology is just as appropriate as becoming a teacher or a doctor. And they also should be able to meet role models from different stages of a career journey during their studies in schools, colleges and universities.
- Fun Fact: What is your favourite piece of technology?
My iPhone – it has my life in it!
Sarah Eynon, Board Member
- Tell us about your career so far?
I trained as a lawyer and enjoyed the varied nature of the role but wanted to be involved more in the end to end process of identification, design and delivery of projects and programmes. I initially transferred my skills to digital as the commercial director in a national broadband roll out programme giving me my first exposure to the opportunity and challenges of digital connectivity in Scotland. Since then I have worked to bring people together via projects and programmes to overcome these challenges and promote digital infrastructure as a key enabler.
- As a member of the S5GC board, what’s the best thing about your role?
I enjoy contributing to an organisation that enables change by bringing together innovators from across Scotland. We could all do it independently, but that is not where the impact lies.
- What are your thoughts about digital innovation and its potential for Scotland economy?
It is no longer about just ‘doing technology’, it is about identifying a problem or an opportunity and then examining how technology can help you solve that issue or excel in that market. There are so many new technical options available together with changes in regulation and legislation that will unlock the digital divide for Scotland. Digital innovation is the under recognised enabler in every impactful project in Scotland.
- Do you have a role model in the industry?
Ceren Clulow, formerly of Nottinghamshire County Council and now at Cambridgeshire County Council is a tireless and passionate advocate for her region and the benefits of digital connectivity. She is always happy to share her experiences to help others on the digital journey and really takes an inclusive approach into her projects. She exudes a can-do approach and galvanises the stakeholders that she works with. I try to take some of that approach into my own work.
- Fun Fact: What is your favourite piece of technology?
Anything that lets me listen to podcasts. I love that moment to yourself regardless where you are, and listening to the randomness of the This American Life podcast.
We are definitely lucky here at the S5GC to have such strong, female leaders and we hope their examples, careers and achievements can inspire other women considering applying for these type of roles.
Follow our social media channels (Twitter & LinkedIn) during this week to find out more about the women at the S5GC and sign up to our newsletter to be the first to know about our events, articles and job vacancies!
Sad News on the Passing of Julie Snell, Chair of The Scotland 5G Centre
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our Chair, Julie Snell, who died peacefully at St Richard’s Hospice in Worcester.
Julie, was hugely respected by all and will be greatly missed by both colleagues at The Scotland 5G Centre and also those that had the pleasure of working with her.
Following her role as CEO and Director of Bristol is Open, Julie was appointed as the first Chair of The Scotland 5G Centre in May 2020. The Centre greatly benefited from Julie’s vast experience, contacts and sector knowledge, during her time as Chair.
With over 35 years’ experience in the telecoms sector, Julie was named as one of the UK’s top smart city leaders. She used her influence to inspire and support more female talent to deliver transformational change within the sector.
Always passionate about innovative technology and its application, Julie was also involved in the healthcare sector. In 2021, she became a non-executive Director of the Hereford and Worcestershire Health and Care Trust, as well as the Interim Chair of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership.
Throughout her career, Julie was a non-executive director of Col8 Ltd, a company combining video and data giving users an intuitive interface. She was also Vice President of Urban Technology Alliance providing city-scale testbeds to deploy and test smart city innovations; and she was part of the leadership team which developed BT’s first public WiFi project BT Openzone.
Derek Waddell, The Scotland 5G Centre, said: “This is very sad news. Julie was an inspiring Chair who knew and supported all of the Centre’s staff and provided leadership to the members of our Governing Board.
“Julie had an incredible knowledge of the potential for advanced technology. She was passionate about the benefits and impact 5G will bring across business sectors in Scotland. She was incredibly well respected and I’m sure the news will shock many people. She will be deeply missed”.
“She leaves an incredible legacy and on a personal level I’m so grateful for her guidance, kindness and counsel. We send our deepest condolences to Julie’s family.”
5G private network solution developed by Strathclyde scoops top industry award
The innovative team behind a global project which proved the portability of a flexible, private 5G ‘network in a box’ for live TV broadcasts has been named the IBC Accelerator Project of the Year for 2022.
The University of Strathclyde and Strathclyde spin-out Neutral Wireless, with support from the Scotland 5G Centre Wave 1 projects, led the cutting edge ‘5G Remote Production in the middle of nowhere’ project.
It proved the portability of a flexible, private 5G ‘network in a box’ for live broadcast production use cases, for untethered broadcast production in real world scenes.
Designed by the University of Strathclyde’s Software Defined Radio team, StrathSDR, and engineered by Neutral Wireless, the technology has been used for trials across the globe as part of the IBC Accelerator programme.
The pioneering initiative demonstrated a series of 5G-enabled media broadcasting proof-of-concepts by using remote geographical locations, including from a rhino conservancy on the Kenyan equator, a Maori school in New Zealand and a music festival in Ireland before the live Pitlochry Highland Games broadcast. It was also used as part of the live coverage of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s final departure from Edinburgh last September.
Professor Bob Stewart, who leads StrathSDR, said: “With Neutral Wireless, we engineered our own 5G software defined radio in partnership with EU SMEs giving us complete control to create customised and bespoke SDR solutions. The IBC Accelerator provided an incredible collaborative platform to work with the world’s top broadcasters and supply chain partners to create real live operational networks in shared and lightly licensed bands.”
Participants of the winning project also include AMD, Microsoft, Net Insight, Zixi, HAIVISION, Singular.Live, Nulink, AWS, Vislink and the local Glasgow based production company, QTV. The project was championed by BBC, BT Sport, BT Media & Broadcast, RTÈ, TV2, Olympic Broadcasting Services, Paramount and Warner Bros. Discovery, University of Strathclyde, Scotland 5G Centre, and Neutral Wireless.
Dr Cameron Speirs, CEO of Neutral Wireless, said: “It was a hugely successful team effort involving technology innovators, national broadcasters and local communities – coming together to solve technical and operational challenges and demonstrating that private (or non-public) 5G can positively disrupt traditional broadcasting workflows. Private 5G has come of age in media broadcast.”
The award was presented at the IBC2023 Accelerators Kickstart Day at London’s IET, aimed at broadcasters, platforms, studios and key media and technology vendors.
The IBC Accelerator Programme was launched in 2019, to support the media and entertainment industry with a framework for agile, collaborative and fast-track innovation through a multi-company project-based approach to solving complex media and entertainment business and technology challenges.
George Bevir, Editor, SVG and one of the judges for the IBC2022 Accelerators, said: “The range and number of Champions and Participants involved in the project was also a great example of the strength of the Accelerator programme in general, in being able to draw together an impressive group of organisations from a range of locations.
“The Proof of Concept and subsequent use for coverage of the Queen’s funeral provided a clear demonstration of the work and progress of the Accelerator project.”
Pioneering 5G Trials create a new window on the world.
The ‘Lomond Network in a Box’ supported by the Scotland 5G Centre’s rural testbed project has been used all over the world on ‘proof of concept’ trials. The results have shown remote production can be deployed to almost anywhere in the world, demonstrating enormous potential for live news.
From the back of a bicycle at a Danish palace to a Royal funeral procession in Edinburgh, and from the foothills of Mount Kenya to the heart of Highland Perthshire, pioneering 5G trials are harnessing the latest generation of mobile connectivity to push the boundaries of remote live television broadcasting.
A team from the University of Strathclyde and spin out company Neutral Wireless Ltd has been at the cutting edge of live TV broadcasts by installing ‘pop up’ networks using 5G technology to explore the possibilities that new hardware devices and technologies offer.
Outside broadcasting (OB) has many logistical challenges – especially when it takes place over wide areas, with large, heavy equipment and lengthy cabling. The fifth generation of mobile technology, 5G isn’t yet a standard part of OB, but the ‘5G Remote Production in the Middle of Nowhere’ project is piloting new ways to broadcast with Neutral Wireless technology – the portable private 5G ‘Lomond Network in a Box’ and operating on shared or other private radio spectrum.
Designed by the University of Strathclyde’s Software Defined Radio team, StrathSDR, and engineered by Neutral Wireless, and supported by the Scotland 5G Centre rural testbed project, the technology has been used for ‘proof-of-concept’ trials across the globe and cultures.
The team travelled to Denmark to cover the national elections from Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen, the seat of the Danish parliament. Working with national broadcaster TV2, the NIB on the back of a bicycle wirelessly captured the excitement of election night last November over a closed 5G private network.
In a world first for television production, Strathclyde and Neutral Wireless also worked with outside broadcast specialist QTV, to capture images for the international broadcast feed from Edinburgh Airport of the late Queen Elizabeth II’s final departure from Scotland in September.
A trial four thousand miles away took the team to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy near Mount Kenya, home to the endangered Grevy’s zebra and Jackson’s hartebeest. The conservancy is also the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa and its’ pioneering initiatives include rehabilitating animals rescued from the black market. The technology was tested to live stream to Youtube, featuring local youth TV hosts.
The rural Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Bernard Fergusson junior school in Ngāruawāhia, Waikato on New Zealand’s North Island hosted the penultimate trial, in conjunction with Māori national television broadcaster Whakaata Māori and the Interim Māori Spectrum Commission.
Video of the school kids performing the traditional Māori martial art Mau rākau was captured by the Lomond NIB and beamed via satellite link to Whakaata Māori studios in Auckland for post-production.
From the Mau rākau to the Highland Fling, the Pitlochry Highland Games last autumn took centre stage at another trial. As dancers performed to bagpipes and cabers flew through the air, the games were provided with a dedicated bandwidth using shared spectrum, with no interference or capacity issues affecting the quality of transmission – even in big crowds where many spectators were using their mobile phones and the local WiFi. The production broadcast multiple live streams from the games into IBC, the International Broadcast Convention in Amsterdam, where thousands of media and entertainment technology executives meet annually.
The stand-alone 5G private network aims to provide portable technology capable of instantly beaming images anywhere in the world, whether it’s giraffes in Africa or traditional Highland dancers. Its’ private nature means access is strictly controlled and media broadcasters have assurance of the resilience and control over the quality of service for “their” network.
Spectrum sharing is a way of enabling multiple users to safely share the same frequency bands but operate in different locations. Private 5G networks also have the potential to control multiple cameras over the same network under a single spectrum licence, as well as audio equipment, communications, and data transmission.
Professor Bob Stewart, who heads the University of Strathclyde’s Software Define Radio (SDR) team said: “We have built a truly private network using shared spectrum which broadcasters can have complete control over. Our trials prove the concept that you can be rural and still put the technology into action to make an untethered 5G network. We’ve shown that a private 5G network can be highly portable and rapidly deployed anywhere – worldwide.”
Dr Cameron Speirs, CEO of Neutral Wireless Ltd, said: “We’ve now successfully demonstrated our Lomond 5G private NIB in all kinds of media broadcast environments where it has proved effective, easy to deploy, resilient and provides a significant enhancement in data transfer performance over other traditional wireless technology. As a result, the media and sport broadcast community has now begun to embrace private 5G communications as a game-changer in supporting their media production workflows.”
IBC, who managed this and other Accelerator Media Innovation projects, attracted a host of global household names, including a technical team of experts from Microsoft and media companies including the BBC, BT Sport, BT Media & Broadcast, RTÈ, OBS and Paramount, as well as the Scotland 5G Centre and Neutral Wireless.
Mark Smith, who heads the Accelerator Programme for IBC said: “The project took the Accelerator ethos of ‘hands on experimentation’ to another level, successfully demonstrating to the media and entertainment sector that remote production using private 5G can be deployed to almost anywhere in the world providing that adequate backhaul capabilities are available.”
“The project has been a significant step forward, potentially unlocking a host of new creative possibilities for live news, events and sports coverage.”
How 5G plays an Important Role in Reducing Carbon Emissions
This week, The Scotland 5G Centre and CeeD co-hosted an event on How Data Connectivity Underpins Visible, Verifiable and Valuable Environmental Monitoring.
The event, which took place at S5GConnect Forth Valley, our hub based within Forth Valley College’s Alloa Campus, brought together academics, businesses and local authorities to explore a collective approach to reducing carbon emissions.
With the rising cost of energy consumption and with carbon emissions fast becoming one of the world’s most pressing challenges, it’s important to re-evaluate energy usage and come up with a strategy to change our collective behaviours to save money and resources.
Building on CeeD’s peripheral Wastemap® project with Topolytics to make business waste Visible, Verifiable and Valuable, turning data into actionable insights you can view in real-time, the event proposed how connectivity can play a key role in supporting businesses to achieve their individual goals and to work towards Scotland’s ambitious climate targets for 2030 and 2050.
Tom Marchbanks, S5GConnect Forth Valley’s Business Engagement Manager highlighted the opportunities within the region to lead on this step change with the Forth Valley area hosting over 4,000 businesses including Scotland’s largest individual container port at Grangemouth which handles 9 million tonnes of cargo each year.
Referencing the opportunities especially within factories and large workplaces like distilleries, 5G and advanced connectivity can completely transform production lines, optimising and autotomising day-day tasks. For example, stock-taking in a factory can be an arduous process of lifting barrels and containers whereas with a private 5G network, this process can be safer and more efficient with drones scanning QR codes and collecting and logging precious data in real-time.
Rebecca Pankhurst, Manager of Scotland’s International Environment Centre (SIEC), highlighted how these innovations can be applied to agriculture with Vertical Farming and controlled-environment agriculture, a technology-based approach towards food production, providing protection from the outdoor elements and maintaining optimal growing conditions throughout the development of the crops. SIEC aims to drive the creation of a net zero regional economy and stand as a global exemplar of leadership in responding to the climate emergency.
Tony Ianniello, Project Lead at CeeD, discussed ‘imagineering’ – the implementation of creative ideas in a practical form highlighting as an example the 1962 television show ‘The Jetsons’.
The television show introduces the idea of a number of gadgets and devices which are in development or prevalent in today’s society like smart watches, drones, walking escalators, video calls and flying cars.
Following the presentations, our partners at the University of Glasgow’s Communication, Sensing and Imaging (CSI) team illustrated the importance of timely data in the decision-making process using their Persuasive Energy Conscious Network (PECN) dashboard.
In the live demonstration over the hub’s private 5G network, the team showed how the PECN can be used to monitor occupancy of a building and energy consumption through 5G-enabled LoRa technology. LoRa tags placed on seats in the building show whether a seat is occupied with this data being recorded in real-time allowing companies to understand energy consumptions patterns. Also measured, is light levels determining whether artificial light is required or whether the natural lighting is enough.
Read more about the University of Glasgow’s PECN here.
Find out more about The Scotland 5G Centre and our innovation hubs here: https://scotland5gcentre.org/
Real Opportunities for Businesses Across the 5G Spectrum
First published in The Scotsman
On a recent car journey, I heard a news item about farmers choosing not to sow seeds as they can’t guarantee workers will be available to harvest crops. You reap what you sow and the consequences of this possible inaction in Scotland, when over 70% of its land area is under agricultural management, is a concern.
On the same day I visited one of The Scotland 5G Centre’s five innovation hubs in Dundee for an open day to showcase the potential of 5G to local industry representatives, government agencies, SMEs and entrepreneurs. I learnt that the agricultural sector not only needed support to work the land, but also that technology could be a game-changer to automate vital stages, such as weeding, preparing the soil and harvesting.
Exchanging large amounts of data, real time in a secure manner isn’t a unique challenge to agriculture. Many business opportunities are emerging, where private 5G networks can be deployed as a site-wide communications platform to enable new, innovative ways of working. 5G allows organisations to apply for their own slice of spectrum, meaning there’s no interference issues from other users and it’s more secure by design. So, if Scotland wants a slice of this action, we’re going to have to get good at deploying 5G networks.
Understanding its importance, The Scotland 5G Centre was created to help organisations adopt this technology and the recently launched 5G Connect Hubs are a key component of helping with this engagement at a regional level, delivering local economic impact. Moreover, the investment in the 5G test beds at each location make it risk-free for companies to trial their solutions prior to purchase.
Healthcare is a particularly exciting area, where private 5G can make a real difference. Not only will it present the opportunity for devices in a hospital to communicate away from a crowded Wifi network, it offers improved security for the transfer of patient data and becomes a platform on which to further innovate and drive operational efficiencies.
Elsewhere in Healthcare, the innovative Project CAELUS (Care & Equity – Healthcare Logistics UAS Scotland) is looking to trial the UK’s first national distribution network to use drones to transport essential medicines, blood, organs and other medical supplies throughout Scotland. These remote operated aircraft require high bandwidth, real time communications for the take-off and landing phases and 5G is the only technology to meet these needs.
Advanced digital technology also supports the Scottish Government’s ambition for the renewables sector outlined in its recently published ‘Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan.’ A site-wide 5G network in place for an offshore wind farm can support high quality camera images to transmit information about corrosion and potential defects prior to failure, improving up-time and energy generation. The same 5G network is able to gather operational metrics from each of the turbines. Augmented reality headsets can be worn by maintenance engineers conducting repairs with specialist support delivered remotely from on-shore based colleagues. This minimises the number of staff working in a hazardous environment and reduces the requirement for repeat visits when enhanced skills or knowledge are required.
It’s easy to see that with the right wireless network in place, the potential for future innovation is huge. I believe advanced digital technology such as 5G, with the support of our transformative hubs and the leadership of The Scotland 5G Centre, will enable key sectors to work smarter, be more competitive, and ultimately boost the economy. 5G is a platform on which further innovation will be born – starting with new healthy green shoots in our countryside.
Mark Hanson, Vice Chair, The Scotland 5G Centre
S5GConnect Dundee Open Day
This week, The Scotland 5G Centre hosted an Open Day at S5GConnect Dundee, based at Abertay cyberQuarter.
Speaking at the event, Kirsty Scott, Business Engagement Manager for S5GConnect Dundee; Mark Flynn, Convener of Dundee City Council’s City Development Committee; Professor Gregor White, Dean of Abertay University’s School of Design and Informatics and Brad McGuire, Director of Programme Innovation at AWTG highlighted how 5G can enable digital transformation in the Tay Cities Region, transform how we do business and support organisations to futureproof their workplace.
Mark Flynn also announced The Tay 5G Challenge Fund, open from the 7th December until 31st January to companies across the UK who can demonstrate impactful projects for products, services or solutions which use 5G. Find out more here or get in touch with our partners at Urban Foresight: tay5G@urbanforesight.org
Following the presentations, attendees then participated in 5G-enabled demonstrations from our partners at the University of Glasgow’s Communications, Sensing and Imaging Group.
Showcasing the capabilities of the Internet of Things, the University of Glasgow’s Persuasive Energy Conscious Network (PECN) demonstration monitors energy usage, encouraging smarter ways of working. With the increase in energy pricing this supports organisations to assess energy usage and work towards reducing company costs and combatting climate change. 5G allows the integration of previously unconnected devices to new, smart grids for accurate real-time monitoring and rigorous forecasting of future energy needs.
Demonstrating the benefits of Mixed, Extended Reality technology (XR), the University of Glasgow also showcased how XR can support a wide range of sectors including Fintech, Smart Public Services, Education, Life Sciences and Creative Industries to reduce costs and training times, providing more immersive and engaging content to their employees. 5G enabled visualization technologies also carry great potential for urban design and public participation – by realistically blending 3D architectural sketches and designs with the physical environment, creating a more intuitive space for planners, architects, residents, and other stakeholders to re-imagine how future environments can be achieved.
Find out more and get in touch with Kirsty here.
View the presentations from the event here.
S5GConnect Dundee unveils the power of 5G at Abertay cyberQuarter
The Scotland 5G Centre celebrated an Open Day at S5GConnect Dundee alongside Abertay University and Dundee City Council.
The Scotland 5G Centre’s Dundee hub, based at Abertay cyberQuarter hosted an Open Day, showcasing the potential of 5G and how it’s revolutionising how we do business, including increasing productivity, reducing downtime and supporting organisations to improve workplace efficiency, security and reliability, through providing accurate real-time data and monitoring.
S5GConnect Dundee, serving Dundee, Perth & Kinross, Angus and Fife, is working with Abertay University and Dundee City Council, to drive growth and increase opportunities for employment and investment in the city and the wider Tay Cities region. The hub also supports research and development on enabling technologies for applications where 5G plays a key role.
At the Open Day, organisations, local authorities and members of the community heard from Kirsty Scott, Business Engagement Manager for S5GConnect Dundee on how the hub can enable digital transformation, providing access to the hub’s dedicated 5G Mobile Private Network, and a range of free services including bespoke advice and access to emerging 5G applications.
Mark Flynn, Convener of Dundee City Council’s City Development Committee outlined the area’s digital vision, including the development of an outdoor testbed at Dundee Central Waterfront, supported by Scottish Government and Scottish Futures Trust through the Dundee Central Waterfront Growth Accelerator and the £2 million Tay Cities Deal backed Tay5G project, which will deliver use case trials and a Challenge Fund to support use case trials delivery.
Professor Gregor White, Dean of Abertay University’s School of Design and Informatics examined how the Abertay cyberQuarter initiative can help solve global cybersecurity challenges; and Brad McGuire, Director of Programme Innovation at AWTG spoke about the installation of the 5G testbed and how this will contribute to 5G infrastructure in the region.
Attendees were also invited to participate in live, 5G-enabled demonstrations from University of Glasgow’s Communications, Sensing and Imaging Group. Already showing an impressive £29M return of investment on the Scotland 5G Centre’s initial investment of £1.6M, the University of Glasgow’s projects offer sustainable smart solutions, paving the way for the development urban innovation districts in the future.
Some of the capabilities of this 5G technology include:
- Monitoring energy usage and encouraging smarter ways of working by integrating devices to smart grids for real-time monitoring and forecasting of future energy needs
- Supporting a wide range of sectors to reduce costs and training times by providing more immersive and engaging content to employees.
- Creating fully immersive solutions to remove the barrier to physical participation in culture, heritage and tourism attractions for domestic and international audiences to drive significant economic and social value
Following the Open Day, the hub also hosted an interactive experience for local companies to visit the Abertay cyberQuarter, engage with the demonstrations and meet the team.
Kirsty Scott, Business Engagement Manager, S5GConnect Dundee said: “We are excited to have a hub here in Dundee in the middle of the Tay Cities Regions and we look forward to supporting local companies with a knowledge hub where companies can test, design and prototype leading edge goods and services for the rapidly emerging industrial 5G era.
“The Dundee based Hub is here to enable businesses to reap the benefits from this Fifth Generation technology, and help individual organisations run trials on the test bed and understand the benefits in addition to receiving roadmap technical support on their digital journey.
“We want to help companies not only understand the advantage that next generation connectivity solutions can provide but help to be more efficient, more resilient and more competitive in key sectors.”
Mark Flynn, Convener of Dundee City Council’s City Development Committee said: “The S5GConnect Dundee Hub marks another significant milestone in Dundee’s identity as a cluster for digital innovation.
“Not only has the open day provided an opportunity for businesses and organisations to find out about the Hub and what it is all about, it showcases the ways in which they can capitalise on the 5G testbed and the Tay5G Project and innovate with 5G.”
Professor Gregor White, Dean of Abertay University’s School of Design and Informatics said: “We are pleased to welcome the S5GConnect Hub to Abertay cyberQuarter as we continue to build on the diverse range of tech-focused companies and organisations becoming involved in our new site. The rollout of 5G in Dundee opens the door to numerous opportunities and the potential for significant growth, so we are delighted to be working with key 5G partners to advance the city’s progress in this space.”
Photo Credit: Chris Scott Photography Dundee
The Scotland 5G Centre announces new CEO to lead it into next phase
The Scotland 5G Centre, the national centre for accelerating the adoption of 5G connectivity in Scotland, has appointed Derek Waddell as interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO), replacing Paul Coffey.
Waddell has extensive expertise of carrying out interim roles and in helping innovation centres make a step change in their growth journey. His recent interim positions include Director of Technology Transfer at University College Cork; Head of Commercialisation, Enterprise and Investment at the University of Strathclyde; and as the Director of Converge. He has also previously been CEO of Edinburgh Research and Innovation.
The Scotland 5G Centre has made vast progress since its inception three years ago. It has moved from predominantly a research and development role, having funded three ground-breaking projects which have delivered an economic return in excess of £30m, created high-quality new jobs, a spin-out company and a toolkit to support increased digital adoption.
During these three years, the Centre has established the S5GConnect Programme with five urban and rural S5GConnect hubs now deployed across Scotland and two more to be announced soon. Now, the Centre is making its next step to target support for Scotland’s industry, public sector, and communities to enable them to harness the power of digital transformation. These innovation hubs are the local focal points that will give Scottish organisations access to cutting edge 5G mobile private networks, providing an opportunity to test new 5G enabled products, services, and solutions. This in turn may lead to improved productivity, cost savings, better routes to market, better community connectivity and help to level up the digital divide.
Julie Snell, Chair of The Scotland 5G Centre said:
“The Scotland 5G Centre team has made great progress in raising the awareness for the need to deploy 5G technology with some impressive outcomes so far. It’s a very exciting time for the Centre as we move toward a much wider delivery phase and I’m delighted to have Derek’s expertise onboard to ensure we take the Centre into a new stage – delivering significant economic, social and skills development value through our 5GConnect hubs and testbeds.”
Derek Waddell, interim CEO at The Scotland 5G Centre added:
“It’s a privilege to take on the role as Interim CEO and lead the Centre in this next stage of the journey, supporting organisations to realise the huge economic and societal potential that the deployment and adoption of 5G brings. Sectors like agriculture, healthcare, manufacturing, or logistics are now seeing what a game changer 5G is and the Centre will be there to make sure there is no-one left behind in this digital transformation era.”
The Scotland 5G Centre officially launches its 5G Innovation Hub in Ayrshire
The Scotland 5G Centre celebrated the launch of its S5GConnect Innovation Hub at HALO Kilmarnock, in the HALO Enterprise and Innovation Centre following the installation of a dedicated 5G Mobile Private Network, deployed by Vodafone in eight weeks.
The Scotland 5G Centre, in partnership with Vodafone and HALO, will support local organisations to realise the benefits of digital transformation. Local companies have free access to the hub’s dedicated 5G Mobile Private Network to explore and adopt new digitally enabled opportunities with benefits such as increased productivity, decreased downtimes, enhanced customer experience, unparalleled digital security and reductions in cost and carbon footprint.
At the launch, businesses, local authorities and members of the Ayrshire community heard how the Centre, through its National Suite of Innovation Hubs across Scotland, is working with the private and public sectors to enable step changes in business through the application of 5G. Attendees also participated in a series of 5G-enabled demonstrations.
The University of Glasgow (one of Centre’s founding partners), highlighted how organisations can remotely monitor room capacity and desk occupancy, which, when combined with artificial intelligence, can be used to gather data on peak times of occupancy in order to save energy and reduce their carbon emission.
Vodafone demonstrated their Mixed Reality solution combining the real and virtual world. Mixed Reality (MR) is the merging of the worlds, allowing the user to see the physical world alongside digital overlays. These could come in the form of instructions, videos or 3D computer generated objects. The technology will be used in training to improve the learning of complex processes and the speed of completing repetitive tasks, as well as for specialists to provide remote support to on-site engineers.
Digital Barriers, a local security company showcased the combined power of 5G and AI in an object classification and facial recognition demonstration. The combined technology has many potential applications in the manufacturing and security sectors.
Following the launch event, the HALO Kilmarnock 5G Innovation hub hosted an interactive open day which allowed local businesses to meet the team and engage with the demonstrations, which were run hourly.
The S5GConnect HALO Kilmarnock hub is situated at the heart of Kilmarnock town centre, supporting the growth and resilience of the Ayrshire economy. The installation of 5G in facilities such as this are critical to ensure the benefits of digital technology are made available to all communities and businesses across the UK.
Sharon Neely, Business Engagement Manager for S5GConnect HALO Kilmarnock said: “I’m delighted to launch the S5GConnect HALO Kilmarnock Innovation hub with support from our partners at Vodafone and HALO. The Innovation hub provides knowledge, expertise and space for businesses to prototype, design and trial goods and services over a private 5G network.
“We look forward to supporting local companies and local public sector bodies, to help them to unlock the benefits of 5G enabled technology and how it allows them to achieve a step change in their business.”
Kim Moran-Hogg, Head of Scotland & Northern Ireland, Vodafone Business, said: “Vodafone are delighted to partner once again with The Scotland 5G Centre for the launch of the 2nd 5G Hub, in HALO Kilmarnock. This testbed will make sure Scottish businesses and public bodies have access to next-generation technologies, powered by state-of-the-art private networks.
“It’s vital that leading-edge technologies are available to drive opportunity for both businesses and citizens and 5G is critical to deliver these opportunities, ensuring the benefits of digital reach every community across the UK. This centre of excellence in Kilmarnock can be a showcase for Scotland and the whole of the UK.”
Dr Marie Macklin C.B.E, Founder and Executive Chair, The HALO Urban Regeneration Company said: “It’s an incredibly exciting time at the HALO and the opening of the S5GConnect HALO Kilmarnock hub highlights our commitment to enhancing both the local and national approach to digital and cyber.
“The HALO is setting the standard for low carbon energy sites across the UK offering a state-of-the-art environment for entrepreneurs specialising in green growth by building a sustainable community powered by renewable energy.”
The presentation shown during the event can be viewed here.
Digital Scotland 2022 – Futureproofing Scotland through 5G
On 25th October 2022, The Scotland 5G Centre (S5GC) showcased the possibilities and capabilities of advanced technology at Digital Scotland 2022 in Edinburgh.
The Centre Marketing Team exhibited in the main hall with the University of Strathclyde’s StrathSDR team, who demonstrated the benefits of a 5G standalone Network in a Box for broadcast media production, the same one the team used recently to broadcast the Queen’s final departure from Scotland, and University of Glasgow’s Communication Sensing & Imaging Group who showcased some of their uses cases including 5G-enabled teleoperation.
In the afternoon, S5GC Chair Julie Snell hosted a Masterclass Session with Professor Muhammad Imran, University of Glasgow and Professor Bob Stewart, University of Strathclyde.
The session, with Julie Snell as first speaker, showcased the Centre’s latest achievements such as the Innovation Challenge and its outputs, the potential of 5G across industries, sectors and benefits from cost reduction or productivity increase and how the Centre supports businesses across Scotland to access this technology via the S5GConnect Programme. After Julie’s introduction, the Centre’s founding partners each presented on their breakthrough projects, focusing on where these projects have utilised 5G in research and creating new products and solutions.
The University of Glasgow are developing a 5G-enabled Smart Campus using connected devices, teleoperations where users can remotely control robotics.
The University of Strathclyde are developing cost effective connectivity solutions for remote and/or rural areas and outside broadcasting.
The Scotland 5G Centre invested over £1.9m into the University of Strathclyde’s Rural Project which has generated a return on investment of £2.5m, and over £1.6m into the University of Glasgow’s Urban Project which has generated a return on investment of £29m.
In total, 94 attendees registered for the session – the busiest masterclass of the day!
For more info on the Scotland 5G Centre’s Projects visit: https://scotland5gcentre.org/5g-projects/
Rural 5G solutions increase opportunity for everyone
- Orkney trials show viability of locally managed approach to achieve 5G connectivity
Imagine fast, secure, and reliable internet – no matter where you live. For many rural communities in Scotland struggling to connect to the internet, this is a stretch. With the knowledge that poor connectivity is no longer acceptable as we rely on it for business enterprise, schooling and connecting with families, on the Orkney Islands, the Scotland 5G Centre rural testbed worked alongside the 5G New Thinking project deploying new 5G technologies to demonstrate that improved mobile coverage, and broadband wireless networks can be implemented by communities and installed, operated, and managed by local providers.
The Scotland 5G Centre project, working alongside the StrathSDR team at University of Strathclyde, and key partners Cisco, and local partners CloudNet IT Solutions and SHEFA, first created a testbed in Loch Lomondside to demonstrate, test, and evaluate new 5G technologies utilising shared spectrum. Thereafter this technology and know-how was transferred to Orkney where 5G networks were built and deployed, and new operational and community models developed and tested.
Orkney was used as the test case as it provides its own set of unique challenges to connectivity. The cluster of 20 islands stretches over a great distance and sit where the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean meet. They have the slowest fixed broadband speed of any local area authority in the UK. Over a quarter of households were unable to achieve the minimum speed to meet an average household’s digital needs – USO speeds of 10mb/s. 100% of residents on half of the islands cannot achieve this minimum, with no prospect of fixed broadband roll-out.
More than 83% of Orkney’s roads also do not have 4G services from all mobile network operators and nearly a quarter of Orkney’s premises have either no 4G service or no choice of operator.
The collaborators on the Orkney trials also demonstrated the viability and engineering required to implement a single mobile network that could provide neutral host support to Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and provide Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) broadband services to the community. The project also looked at ways to offer sufficient capacity for the number of smartphones and handsets and premises across the islands.
The team created two networks in underserved and remote areas in Westray and Flotta using a combination of seven base stations with 20MHz cells working on various available shared and test radio frequency bands. Where available, backhaul was setup either as microwave and fibre backhaul links, and for future setups, recent tests at the Loch Lomondside testbed indicate the viability of LEO (low earth orbit) satellites, such as Starlink, for backhaul, bringing true ‘middle of nowhere’ 5G networks to reality.
The combined solution also suggests a new localised sharing framework allowing access to vacant parts of the radio spectrum, as well as using the Ofcom designated ‘shared access’ radio frequencies across various mobile bands.
This connectivity afforded by new 5G ecosystems will offer opportunities to encourage partners to invest in and address the needs and aspirations of businesses in rural locations in Scotland. The Orkney project ensures that rural communities will not be left behind as they take advantage of next generation 5G via self-provision and the building of community owned networks.
Ground-Breaking 5G Projects
The Scotland 5G Centre is the National Centre for ensuring Scotland realise the game-changing benefits of 5G Technology. Through our national suite of 5G Innovation Hubs (S5GConnect) we provide free advice and expertise to companies and the public sector on private 5G network deployment and access to a private 5G test bed facilities.
We have also invested in ground breaking flagship projects through our partners, that are exemplifying and delivering new 5G enabled opportunities for Scotland, such as the University of Strathclyde’s Rural Connectivity Developments.
The £1.9 million investment made by the centre to the University of Strathclyde has enabled the University’s StrathSDR team to develop cost effective connectivity solutions for remote and/or rural areas and outside broadcasting
For example, the team have developed a new portable custom private 5G pop-up network solution, bringing new opportunities to rural communities throughout Scotland and supporting a range of industries and services including energy management, fishing and tourism.
From the initial investment, the University has been successful in attracting additional funding and new collaborative partnerships. Recent successes include creating a shared spectrum 5G radio access network on the Orkney, to support the various need of the community – connecting Westray and Flotta to a 5G Cisco Core.
The University team, led by Professor Bob Stewart and its resulting spin out (Neutral Wireless) company have deployed ground-breaking 5G technology to open up new creative and operational opportunities to outside broadcasters. The team have already deployed their technology at various sporting events such as Rugby, Football and Boxing, and Racing – the Monster Energy British Grand Prix, MotoGP, broadcasting to a worldwide audience from a 5G handheld camera.
Most recently the team designed and deployed the pioneering ‘private 5G’ network technology to connect cameras for international broadcast coverage of the late Queen Elizabeth II’s final departure from Scotland.
The historic pictures captured by the University of Strathclyde’s network and beamed across the globe, included footage of the coffin being carried by personnel from The Queen’s Colour Squadron, 63 Squadron, Royal Air Force Regiment and the RAF’s C-17 Globemaster taking off and carrying Her Late Majesty to RAF Northolt in London.
The pop-up 5G Stand Alone network can be quickly deployed – within 24 hours of the spectrum licence being granted by Ofcom.
In addition to being a world-first for television production, the use of a private 5G standalone at an airport is also believed to be unique.
Traditionally, broadcast cameras connect to the outside broadcast solely using radio signals which rely on proprietary equipment whereas 5G enables a range of cameras and other devices, in a wider range of locations to be potentially used, opening up new creative and operational benefits to broadcasters.
Find out how this ground breaking technology can support you and your business by contacting The Scotland 5G Centre, and discover how your business can benefit from 5G by accessing our national suite of 5G innovation hubs distributed across Scotland by contacting us.
For more information on The Scotland 5G Centre’s 5G Projects visit: https://scotland5gcentre.org/5g-projects/
S5GConnect Dumfries Innovation Challenge Showcase
This year, The Scotland 5G Centre launched its first innovation Challenge – “Shaping Digital Health and Social Care” outlining 3 core challenges within the Scottish health and social care sector, with the purpose – of bringing 5G solutions and services into the supply chain, or closer to market realisation helping to overcome these challenges.
As part of the Challenge, each of the winning companies took part in a 15-week development programme; with access to the 5G testbed in Dumfries and one-to-one technical expertise to support technical development.
On 5th October 2022, the three winning companies presented their 5G-enabled solutions at the S5GConnect Dumfries hub to The Scotland 5G Centre and Challenge Partners, in the closing Innovation Challenge event, marking the end of the 15 weeks accelerator programme.
John Griffiths, Chief Technology Officer at Safehouse Technology explained the journey of the existing Safehouse Monitoring & Anomaly Detection device and how Safehouse 5G was conceived, designed and realised in The Scotland 5G Centre’s Dumfries Hub. With enhanced capabilities and reduced points of failure, Safehouse 5G is the next step in monitoring technology for at-home social care.
Ross Toomer, Founder and Chief Executive of Care Reality and Jake Spreadborough (Lead Developer) showcased how their VR Training Environment for healthcare workers was transformed, by the increased bandwidth and low latency of a Private 5G Network in streaming activity led training content, positioning their software and the advanced network ahead of existing headset technology.
Arjun Panesar, Founding CEO and Head of AI at DDM Health, guided the audience through a precision health experience using the Gro Health App. The Gro Health App is a personalised treatment platform proven to support sustainable weight loss, blood glucose control, and improvements in mental health and wellbeing. Arjun detailed the process of testing this already successful tool in a 5G environment to ensure its readiness and roadmap for the future.
This demonstrates how 5G technology can be applied to different sectors, products and needs and how it enables innovation and use-case development and implementation. In the coming months we will share in further detail outputs and achievements of the companies as part of this programme.
This is a huge milestone for the Centre, for the South of Scotland region and for the aforementioned sectors, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the partners of this Innovation Challenge: NHS Dumfries & Galloway, Scottish Care, Dumfries & Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership, CGI, AWTG and Urban Foresight.
The three winning companies will continue to receive business and investment advice and introductions to potential customers and ongoing access to S5GConnect business and technical support until March 2023.
5G private network delivers world first live broadcast of Queen’s final departure from Scotland
Live footage delivered to broadcasters across the globe
Pioneering ‘private 5G’ network technology designed and deployed by the University of Strathclyde and its spin-out company, Neutral Wireless, was used to connect cameras for international broadcast coverage of the late Queen Elizabeth II’s final departure from Scotland.
In a world first for television production, Strathclyde worked with Glasgow-based outside broadcast specialist QTV, which provided the international broadcast feed.
The historic pictures captured by the network and beamed across the globe, included footage of the coffin being carried by personnel from The Queen’s Colour Squadron, 63 Squadron, Royal Air Force Regiment and the RAF’s C-17 Globemaster taking off and carrying Her Late Majesty to RAF Northolt in London.
‘Operation Unicorn’ – the codename of the plan for handling Her Late Majesty’s death should she pass away in Scotland – saw the Queen’s coffin transported from Edinburgh Airport to RAF Northolt by air. This created the need for a high-definition, broadcast-capable, wireless solution that avoided the use of cables across the airport runway, whilst mitigating interference and guaranteeing quality of service.
Traditionally, broadcast cameras connect to the outside broadcast solely using radio (RF) signals which rely on proprietary equipment. 5G-enables a range of cameras and other devices, in a wider range of locations to be potentially used, opening up new creative and operational benefits to broadcasters.
Partially funded by the Scottish Government via the Scotland 5G Centre’s Wave 1 Projects, and partnering with the IBC Accelerator Media Innovation Programme that included some of the world’s top broadcasters and technology companies, Neutral Wireless’s pop-up 5G Stand Alone (SA) network was deployed for QTV within 24 hours of the spectrum licence being granted by Ofcom. The use of such a private 5G SA at an airport is also believed to be a first.
Scottish Government Business Minister Ivan McKee said: “The Scottish Government’s £1.9 million investment in the University of Strathclyde’s 5G initiatives via the Scotland 5G Centre has made it possible for this historic occasion to be broadcast to millions of people around the world.
“This demonstrates how new technology can help transform Scotland’s economy and society, by enhancing our global competitiveness, facilitating business growth and driving innovation.”
The technology deployed was trialled and developed through a series of ground-breaking proof-of-concept trials in 2022 as part of IBC’s Accelerator Media Innovation Programme. This IBC Accelerator project has delivered a series of breakthrough experimental broadcast use cases during 2021 and 2022 including several world firsts in remote regions of the world including Ireland, Kenya, New Zealand, and live to the IBC show floor from the Highland Games in Pitlochry, Scotland, on September 10th featuring the pioneering rural testbed work with key partner, the Scotland 5G Centre, over the last three years.
Professor Bob Stewart, from Strathclyde, who is head of the University’s Software Defined Radio team, said: “The use of a dedicated 5G private network operating in shared spectrum is believed to be a first for live TV news, broadcast using shared access radio spectrum.
“The network operated live for nine hours with no reported interference due to our network and we were honoured and humbled to be able to play a part at such an important moment.”
Principal and Vice Chancellor of Strathclyde, Professor Sir Jim McDonald, said: “I am proud that the team were able to bring their expertise to bear to help document such a sad and solemn occasion in our history.
“It is deeply impressive that our colleagues applied the Strathclyde ‘can do’ approach to deliver such a professional outcome that meant so much to national and international viewers.”
QTV worked closely with national broadcasters for ‘Operation Unicorn’, which provided a world feed to television channels globally, including content captured over the private 5G network.
Gareth Gordon, CTO at QTV, said: “From the band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland to the RAF’s C-17 Globemaster taking off and carrying Her Late Majesty the Queen from Scotland for the last time, these were breath-taking live pictures broadcast globally from the airport tarmac. The video link on the 5G network wasn’t there as a back-up – it was a live feed to the world.”
Established and funded with £14.5 million by the Scottish Government, the S5GC was a project champion in the IBC project, working alongside key local academic and industry partners, as well as international broadcasting and technology partners.
Julie Snell, Chair of the Scotland 5G Centre Board, said: “It is great to see the technology and know-how engineered and tested in Scotland on the Scotland 5G rural Wave 1 testbed projects come to international prominence right after the successful IBC middle of nowhere demonstrations in four countries.”
Cameron Speirs, Chief Commercial Officer at Neutral Wireless, said: “It is genuinely innovative technology, pioneered in Scotland, and it was because of IBC that we had the proven use cases and dialogue with all the right industry expertise to make it a reality.”
S5GC Partner Celestia UK wins navigation contract from ESA
Celestia UK has announced that it has won a €800,000 ESA NAVSIP (Navigation, Innovation and Support Programme) contract to develop an innovative PNT solution based on LEO satellite constellations for 5G networks and applications, that will boost the reliability and performance of GNSS.
Called LEO-SYN+, the project will use LEO satellite Signals of Opportunity (SoOp) to provide a resilient position and time reference for 5G networks and improve the robustness of GNSS signals.
Time and Synchronisation are fundamental building blocks in 5G and GNSS systems play a pivotal role in the network operation. However, GNSS signals can prove vulnerable to interference, for instance when blocked by objects such as tall buildings or trees, and require augmentation with supplementary technology to deliver the level of reliability and longevity required.
Celestia UK’s solution is to combine the use of LEO satellite constellation signals with the development of a PNT receiver compatible with multi-GNSS constellations and LEO SoOps and test the solution in 5G networks.
During the project, a prototype will be produced to validate the product design and the technology development, paving the way for additional applications of the technology to other critical infrastructures after the initial ESA NAVSIP roll-out.
To deliver the ambitious project, Celestia UK is partnering with Heriot-Watt University who bring extensive knowledge in Satcoms and Digital Signal Processing and The Scotland 5G Centre, the national centre for accelerating the deployment and adoption of 5G and realising its economic and societal potential for Scotland, https://scotland5gcentre.org/.
“It is a great benefit for the business to have won an ESA NAVSIP contract and we are looking forward to collaborating with ESA and our partners to unlock the potential to improve the resilience of 5G networks with our PNT solution,” says Malachy Devlin, CEO of Celestia UK.
“Building on our expertise in high throughput electronic steerable gateways together with the evolution of 5G integrating non terrestrial networks together with the Scotland 5G Centre here on our doorstep, make us well-placed to meet the requirements of this challenging project and deliver a future-proofed solution with scope for considerable future commercial application,” he says.
“The Scotland 5G Centre is currently providing businesses access to 5G services through a national network of innovation hubs, S5GConnect Programme. It is well known that 5G will support higher data throughput and interactive services through reduced latency. However, 5G will also provide new possibilities for positioning, navigation and timing (PNT). Use of advanced antennas and positioning over satellite will be critical for outdoor applications where precise navigation is essential to meet safety requirements for the likes of drone navigation and autonomous vehicles. We are delighted to be working alongside Celestia UK, supporting the innovative LEO-SYN+ project, which will utilise our cutting edge 5G network,” says Ian Sharp, Head of Business Development, The Scotland 5G Centre.
Note: NAVSIP is an ESA programme and the Contract was carried out under a programme of and funded by the European Space Agency. Disclaimer: The view expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Space Agency.
The Scotland 5G Centre Launches S5GConnect Forth Valley 5G Testbed
The Scotland 5G Centre and BT are transforming the future of the workspace and delivering ‘greener’ options for Scottish industry
- The Scotland 5G Centre launch 5G hub and testbed at Forth Valley College’s Alloa Campus,
- The 5G Testbed is live, accessible and open to the market to support the creation and acceleration of the application of new 5G-enabled uses, across key sectors such as industry and environmental monitoring, transport and logistics and manufacturing.
The Scotland 5G Centre (S5GC) and BT, have completed the installation of a dedicated 5G Mobile Private Network at S5GConnect Forth Valley – The Centre’s 5G innovation hub covering Central Scotland. The hub and testbed based at Forth Valley’s Alloa Campus is now officially open to the public following a launch event where businesses and members of the local community were able to participate in 5G-enabled demonstrations.
As part of the launch event, BT, together with its innovation partners Librestream and Cradlepoint, demonstrated two innovative use cases which have been developed for manufacturing, providing ‘hands on’ demonstrations of real-time, high-quality collaboration between geographically dispersed locations. Using augmented reality software, remote users are able work together – reducing the environmental impact of unnecessary travel and improving the delivery rates of projects thereby reducing waste. This revolution will increase efficiency, reduce costs, and support organisation in reaching net zero.
S5GConnect Forth Valley offers advice and access to a cutting-edge 5G mobile private network providing an opportunity for SME’s, start-ups and researchers to test new 5G-enabled products, services and solutions.
Working with partners at Scotland’s International Environment Centre (SIEC), an initiative led by the University of Stirling funded through the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal, and Clackmannanshire Council, the Forth Valley hub is creating a focal point for organisations in the environmental, transport, and manufacturing sectors, to learn, collaborate and innovate.
Tom Marchbanks, Business Engagement Manager, S5GConnect Forth Valley Hub said: “S5GC is excited to be launching our regional hub here in Alloa and we look forward to supporting local companies with a knowledge hub and innovation centre where companies can test, design and prototype leading edge goods and services for the rapidly emerging industrial 5G era.
“The Forth Valley Hub, will help individual organisations, run trials on the test bed infrastructure and understand the benefits of 5G in addition to receiving support as they deploy their own private networks. We also look forward to working alongside our partners here in Forth Valley, Scotland International Environment Centre to help companies understand the advantage that next generation connectivity solutions can provide in delivering leaner, cleaner and more cost-effective operations.”
Alan Lees, Scotland Director for BT Enterprise: “BT are delighted to partner with the Scotland 5G Centre in launching this new 5G hub in the Forth Valley. Having confidence in your connectivity opens up incredible opportunities to transform services and outcomes in Scotland, and 5G is a key part of that. BT were the first to launch 5G in Scotland in 2019 and we’ve been growing our coverage ever since. 5G arrived in Stirling in 2020 and EE continues to improve coverage in the area. Working with The Scotland 5G Centre, this hub in the Forth Valley is a showcase of what 5G can deliver, to the rest of Scotland and the UK.”
John Rogers, Executive Director of Research, Innovation and Business Engagement at the University of Stirling, said: “Through Scotland’s International Environment Centre, the University of Stirling is developing novel responses to the climate emergency, helping Scotland to make a just transition to becoming Net Zero by 2045. We’re pleased to partner on this exciting initiative, which will provide a sound, digital foundation to the regional-scale innovations that we are pioneering in collaboration with industry, public services and communities across the Forth Valley.”
Digital twin technology set to transform training in the care sector in Scotland
- The Scotland 5G Centre’s Innovation Challenge winner to introduce a simulated learning platform to care sector partners in Dumfries and Galloway.
- Rural and remote workers get the opportunity to train in real situations to level the training playing field.
- The low latency, speed and capacity of 5G will transform the learning experience offered by Care Reality.
Training in the care sector in Dumfries and Galloway is set to be transformed after a winner of the Scotland 5G Centre’s first Innovation Challenge has introduced digital twin technology, which uses a real-time digital model of a care home. Plans are also in place to roll out this revolutionary new technology right across Scotland.
The Dumfries-based company Care Reality has developed a virtual reality and simulated learning platform to improve the quality and access of clinical skills and competence training for care professionals. The company is working with the Scotland 5G Centre and supported by South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) to showcase the idea to Scottish Care and NHS Dumfries & Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership. The software designers, all with healthcare experience, will also listen to feedback to ensure the ‘digital twin’ includes interventions reflecting what users need to support them in their valuable work.
The digital twin approach allows educators to help learners test scenarios before trying them in real-life situations or environments. Care professionals can move around the home and practice interactions and procedures with avatars within the application. The scenarios are dynamic and in real-time and will relate to what participants are learning, for example, educators who are training people on catheter changes can create a scenario for completion within the simulation.
As well as practice opportunities to build confidence, the platform also provides meeting zones for learners to share experiences. Care Reality’s innovative platform also creates the opportunity for hosting virtual training events. With its large rural area and many remote towns, Dumfries and Galloway provides a potential marketplace for the new technology.
Care Reality is an SME working with the team at Scotland 5G Centre at its hub in the Crichton Centre in Dumfries to accelerate the adoption of its immersive training platform. The low latency, speed and capacity for data available from 5G will allow the team to explore further developments and get the solution market ready.
Ross Toomer, Chief Executive of Care Reality, said:
“5G remote data-streaming will enable a new level of realism and high fidelity within a standalone VR headset regardless of the user’s physical location. This brings huge potential for educators who have found it expensive and logistically very difficult to provide training to large numbers of people over a large geographical area.
“Our new idea enables us to improve patient outcomes through better training and assessment via increased adoption of immersive technology. Digital twins are already commonplace in engineering and manufacturing, but the health sector is now beginning to see how beneficial it is to apply the same principles to the medical world.”
Andrew Todman, Business Development Manager, S5G Connect Dumfries, said:
“Data-driven technology has the ability to transform healthcare practices, and this digital twin model put forward by Care Reality is new to the sector. I am pleased to see it is being piloted in Dumfries and Galloway. We are working alongside the team to introduce them to the right people. We are also using our expertise at the testbed to help Care Reality better understand the potential for data streaming.
“We hope to help the team get its products market ready to ultimately improve health and social care delivery.”
Her Majesty the Queen
The Scotland 5G Centre joins the nation in mourning the death of Her Majesty the Queen. Our thoughts are with the Royal Family during this very sad time.
Chief Entrepreneur for Scotland Visits S5GConnect HALO Kilmarnock
Mark Logan, the Scottish Government’s recently appointed Chief Entrepreneur, visited S5GConnect HALO Kilmarnock, based at the HALO Enterprise and Innovation Centre in Kilmarnock to tour the world class co-working and technologically driven spaces across the campus.
The HEIC is a state-of-the-art building also home to a Barclays Eagle Lab which is supporting start-up and scale-up businesses from across Ayrshire who are building and growing specialised digital and cyber businesses.
During his tour, Mr Logan met Sharon Neely, Business Engagement Manager for S5GConnect HALO Kilmarnock, Scotland 5G Centre Operations Director Vinny Bryson and Marketing Manager Esther Francisco Ballesteros on the HALO’s #RockMe Trading Floor, which is home to some of Ayrshire’s most exciting businesses, and some of the shared working spaces where tenants can meet, work and network while on site at the HALO. The #RockMe Trading Floor will also be home to a Green Growth Accelerator Unit at the HEIC, backed by a green investment fund, designed to attract not only Scottish businesses but companies from outside Scotland, with the intention of creating investment opportunities both for The HALO and its partners and tenants.
With phase I of the HALO well underway with the Enterprise and Innovation Centre playing a pivotal role in the growth of Ayrshire’s entrepreneurial community, plans for Phase II can now progress. Phase II of the HALO, a blueprint for the move towards greener housing in the UK, will bring 210 world class smart homes of the future to Kilmarnock. Fuelled by 100 per cent renewable energy and digital healthcare monitoring systems, the smart homes will be built at the HALO using sustainable construction materials and techniques.
The HALO provides a blueprint for a future net-zero society covering energy production, use and storage, new energy products and services and transport. ScottishPower will also utilise the HEIC to deliver staff training and host events and will support growing businesses on The HALO trading floor, establishing The HALO at the forefront of the digital Fourth Industrial Revolution.
S5GC Makes 3 Key Appointments to 5G Innovation Hubs
The Scotland 5G Centre continues to expand, appointing three Business Engagement Managers to the S5GConnect Team – the Centre’s core programme deploying regionally relevant 5G innovation hubs and testbeds across Scotland.
Ahmed Sabir joins as Business Engagement Manager for S5GConnect Aberdeen, based at ONE Tech Hub. Ahmed spent most of his career delivering high-tech, high-risk projects in remote and challenging conditions before earning his MBA in 2017 and working in business consultancy, helping launch many start-up businesses in Aberdeen. He has worked, lived and studied in over 30 countries throughout his life, settling down in Aberdeen in 2014 – the longest he has lived in one place.
Ahmed says: “I am humbled by the opportunity to participate in the efforts to accelerate the adoption and deployment of private 5G networks in Scotland. 5G offers transformational improvements in efficiency and a route to digital inclusion for our remote communities in rural Scotland. I am glad to be working in my home city of Aberdeen, where I am already collaborating with a thriving tech community.”
Also joining the S5GConnect team is Kirsty Scott, who joins as Business Engagement Manager for Dundee, based at Abertay’s Cyber Quarters. Kirsty brings a specialist knowledge from 14 years within the computer games industry, with a background working in STEM skills as well as in-depth project management experience successfully delivering Tay Cities Deal pipeline projects.
Kirsty says: “I am thrilled to join the team and to be able to raise the profile of 5G locally from Dundee. The 5G era is here and it’s a key enabler for a digital evolution where we are embarking on a bright future characterised by Scottish innovation. I am excited to be part of that journey as a Dundonian in developing the next modern industrial age for the people of the region. I want the Dundee Hub to be the centre of advanced connectivity to showcase how ‘The City of Discovery’s potential for transformation can be truly endless.”
At the forefront of our S5GConnect HALO Kilmarnock hub based at the HALO Urban Regeneration Centre, is Sharon Neely who joins as Business Engagement Manager.
Prior to joining the team, Sharon worked in the financial sector at Barclays, leading teams in Ayrshire and Dumfries with a focus on rebuilding local economies and engaging with the community.
Sharon says: “I am so excited to be joining this amazing team. I look forward to showcasing my innovation hub and demonstrating how 5G technology can help businesses and communities grow and flourish. I am passionate about working in the community and making a difference through digital and technology – I believe that working at The Scotland 5G Centre will provide me with the tools, technology and education to make this vision a reality.”
Paul Coffey, CEO of the Scotland 5G Centre added: “The expansion of our core S5GConnect team is another key step in our commitment to deliver a series of 5G-enabled innovation hubs across Scotland, creating world-leading spaces for businesses to connect, share knowledge and develop innovative solutions. Our Business Engagement Managers bring a wealth of technology and commercial expertise, and this will be a huge asset in helping SMEs on their journey to accelerate the potential of 5G and transforming local communities and economies.”
The Centre has also expanded its projects team as Arthur Smith is appointed as Programme Director and Alan Lillie joins as Project Coordinator.
Minister Launches New 5G Testbed in Aberdeen
- The Scotland 5G Centre and Opportunity North East (ONE) collaborate to drive the adoption of 5G and the growth of Scotland’s economy.
- The new 5G Testbed is live, accessible and open to the market to support the creation and acceleration of the application of new 5G-enabled uses, across key sectors such as energy, utilities, ports and logistics.
The S5GConnect Aberdeen testbed, based at ONE Tech Hub, the home of digital tech in North East Scotland, is now live, accessible and open to the market. The new facility and testbed will allow businesses of all sizes to test and develop new 5G applications and accelerate new digital services and operations in the region.
The Scotland 5G Centre announced the deployment of a new 5G Testbed in Aberdeen in March, in partnership with ONE, to unlock the transformational benefits of 5G for Scottish businesses, public sector organisations and Scottish communities. The partnership is supported by Vodafone and it’s partner, global 5G technology leader, Ericsson with the Mobile Private Network (MPN) being deployed in just 8 weeks.
As part of the launch in Aberdeen, Scottish Government’s Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise, Ivan McKee, visited the site and experienced 5G capability first-hand. He observed a remote training demonstration of an offshore windfarm using a robotic arm. This 5G-enabled teleoperation demonstrates how skills can be the delivered remotely over wireless links offering new opportunities and capabilities to the energy industry.
This real-time demonstration is possible by using the low latency and high reliability of a 5G Mobile Private Network while the advantage of installing an MPN on-site offers more control on how the network is customised and configured. The robotic arm was controlled by a remote operator, who could see, feel and experience the environment during the inspection with the help of visual and haptic feedback.
Vodafone demonstrated a fault detection training programme and Ivan McKee was introduced to Vodafone’s Mixed Reality solution. The technology allows the user to see the physical world alongside digital overlays. These could come in the form of instructions, videos or 3-D objects like a car. The technology will be used in training to improve the learning of complex processes and the speed of completing repetitive tasks, as well as for specialists to provide remote support to on-site engineers.
The 5G hub is open to local businesses who are interested in the opportunities 5G provides. Visitors can access support from the S5GConnect team and see first-hand the benefits of the live testbed. The hub will benefit businesses in the area that are planning to integrate advanced connectivity to improve their business performance.
Business Minister Ivan McKee said: “Transformative 5G technology has the potential to revitalise businesses across the country and I congratulate those behind these innovative demonstrations.
“The new Aberdeen 5G Innovation Hub will help boost the economy and encourage entrepreneurship in the North East, helping small and medium-sized enterprises with the skills they need to understand how 5G can benefit their business.
“Collaboration between innovation hubs like this and industry can transform businesses and create opportunities for increased productivity, cost savings and sustainability. I encourage the energy sector – locally and further afield – to take advantage of the technology and expertise on offer to help innovate and grow your business.”
Mark Hanson, Non-Executive Director of The Scotland 5G Centre said: “We’re excited to be launching the S5GConnect Hub in Aberdeen – providing a knowledge centre and test bed infrastructure for the surrounding community.
“5G technology is open for use not just by mobile network operators, but it allows businesses, government bodies and other organizations the opportunity to set up their own private 5G network – enabling secure, interference free, high speed, low latency wireless communications. It’s one of the key technologies on which Scotland’s Future Digital Economy will be built.
“The Aberdeen Hub, will help individual organisations understand the impact 5G can have, run trials on the test bed infrastructure and receive support as they deploy their own private networks. We also look forward to working alongside our partners here in Aberdeen, Opportunity North East, Aberdeen City Council, the Innovation Centres including CENSIS and the DATALAB and other agencies where we can work closely together to help deliver major transformation projects for the area.”
Karen O’Hanlon, Director Digital Tech Opportunity North East said: “ONE Tech Hub is the anchor point for the region’s fast-growing tech community and home to a growing number of leading partner organisations connecting digital tech businesses with expertise and specialist technology to help them go further faster.
“The new Scotland 5G centre partnership and 5G testbed with onsite support will give businesses and tech developers the opportunity to work with expert advisors to demonstrate, develop and apply 5G connectivity in new applications and be part of the transformative 5G technology ecosystem to help accelerate growth.”
Kim Moran-Hogg, Head of Scotland & Northern Ireland, Vodafone Business, said: “We’re delighted to be working with the Scotland 5G Centre to make sure Scottish businesses and public bodies have access to research centres powered by state-of-the-art private networks.
“It’s vital that leading-edge technologies are available right across the UK and this centre of excellence in Aberdeen can be a showcase for Scotland and the whole of the UK.”
5G Enabled Broadcast at Pitlochry Highland Games
Live link from the games to international broadcasting conference on Saturday 10 September.
An unassuming box with an aerial, situated in a corner of the balcony at the pavilion in Pitlochry’s recreation ground, will put the town’s highland games at the forefront of a project trialling future broadcast production in locations even more remote using 5G and involving a number of world leading broadcasters, including the BBC and BT Sport.
While the games are underway action will be broadcast live to the International Broadcasting Conference (IBC) taking place in Amsterdam with an estimated audience of 40,000. The IBC sits at the crossroads of the media, entertainment and technology industries, providing an informative and engaging experience. The 5G private network has been developed at the University of Strathclyde.
“Pitlochry will help us show that 5G remote production can happen in many even more remote places and in the middle of anywhere. We are trialling in four areas of the world, in Ireland, in Kenya, New Zealand and in Pitlochry,” explained Mark Smith, the head of IBC’s Accelerator Media Innovation Programme. “It provides the perfect opportunity to focus on a private 5G network.”
As enthusiastic young dancers perform to pipe tunes and cabers whistle though the air, Pitlochry is providing a dedicated bandwidth with no interference or capacity issues affecting the quality of transmission even in big crowds, Mr Smith added.
The private 5G remote network has been developed by the University of Strathclyde working alongside the Scotland 5G Centre.
Professor Bob Stewart, from the University of Strathclyde and Director of the Strathclyde Software Defined Radio team, said: “This trial will show how truly portable our 5G private standalone network is and how we can ‘popup’ private networks.”
The trial was welcomed by Games Chieftain Charles Butter, who said: “This is a truly Scottish endeavour and the choice of Pitlochry Highland Games as an event to help in the future development of broadcasting is a testament to the high regard in which Pitlochry Highland Games are held, not just from the point of sporting excellence but also our wonderful location.”
This year also marks 170th anniversary of the first Pitlochry Highland Games and one highlight will be the playing for the first time of a new pipe tune composed specifically for Pitlochry.
S5GC Innovation Challenge Winner Spotlight – Care Reality
“Our objective is to accelerate the potential for the South of Scotland to be an innovation hub, close the growing demand gap in social care training and assessment, improve retention and enhance skills which ultimately improve the care people receive when they need it, now and for the future. “
Our inaugural innovation challenge focusing on ‘Shaping Digital Health & Social Care’ is now well underway at S5GConnect Dumfries, our rural hub based on the Crichton Campus.
Care Reality, one of the three challenge winners, are building the world’s first virtual reality training platform for adult social care, providing essential clinical skills training using the end-user virtual reality platform.
Aiming to transform learning within adult social care, utilising 5G and bringing together immersive technological expertise, Care Reality’s platform will improve the user experience through 5G remote data-streaming, enabling a new level of realism and high fidelity within a standalone VR headset regardless of the physical location of the user.
We spoke to Ross Toomer, Founder of Care Reality about applying to the Innovation Challenge and shaping digital healthcare.
1. Why are you interested in shaping digital health and care?
To put it simply, we have a truly ambitious desire to shape and improve access to knowledge and skills using immersive technology. There is a need to redefine the way in which immersive technology can support and transform learning and skills across health and social care.
We are a team of like-minded, tech savvy, passionate people who all have a strong moral commitment to make a change. In fact, some of us are carers to our own family, one of us previously worked in the NHS, a member of our team has immediate family in a frontline health and social care role looking after people who need it most and one of us committed years and years of painstaking research to become a leading authority and attained a PhD on immersive technology for therapeutic interventions.
We are not just another software development company, we are Care Reality. The name says it all.
2. What’s the company’s greatest achievement and why?
We have two.
First, finding and convincing this hugely talented team to come and join a start-up is truly humbling. The fact they come to work every day with so much passion and innovation makes everything possible.
Secondly, In 2021, and during the second wave of the pandemic, we applied for the Scottish Government’s CivTech 6 Accelerator Programme. After a competitive process we were successful and accepted onto the programme. Six months later we turned an idea into a product and with the support and guidance of the CivTech team, our challenge sponsors and each other, we successfully launched our business at the CivTech Demo Day in February of this year.
We received supporting messages from companies as far away as South America, most importantly we received feedback from those people working in the health and social care sector thanking us for putting them centre stage, via proxy, within such a large tech arena typically focused on everything but care. From an idea to launching a business at Demo Day and now really pushing the boundaries of 5G and immersive learning, this journey has been our greatest achievement to date – however, we guarantee we will have many more to celebrate!
3. As a winner, how will the innovation challenge support you in reaching your business goals?
We will be able to enhance our software development, explore and better understand data streaming – giving us significant experience, and a knowledge advantage for when 5G is widely rolled out.
As a winner, this challenge will help us exceed our technological goals – with access to The Scotland 5G Centre, Scottish Care and NHS Dumfries & Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership, we are now speaking with the right people, showcasing our idea but also carefully listening so we capture the voice of the sector and design our interventions in a manner that truly reflects users needs.
Ultimately, this innovation challenge enables us improve patient outcomes through better training and assessment via increased adoption of immersive technology. Making this happen seamlessly, without running out of storage space, in an untethered wearable headsets is not easy, but by utilising 5G and data streaming we can make immersive mobile VR a reality.
How digital technology is boosting healthcare
First published by The Scotsman
By Arjun Pasenar, Founder, Chief Executive Officer of DDM Health
YouTube, Zoom and Instagram have boosted the popularity of virtual exercise classes and the Couch to 5k mobile app has hit five million downloads since the pandemic started with no signs of slowing down. More people are achieving improvements to their physical and mental health through technology.
But the social determinants of health – particularly income, ethnicity and neighbourhood – make the biggest difference to accessing health services, and engaging with them. Digital therapeutics provide a way of democratising access to health services. The Scottish Government’s Digital Health and Care Strategy recognises the need to improve care and wellbeing in Scotland by making best use of digital technologies in the design and delivery of services.
With enormous advances in digital health innovation, we are quickly moving into an age where software platforms will be treating millions of patients. Digital transformation in healthcare has accelerated the use of technologies like mobile applications, artificial intelligence and virtual reality in order to solve major problems that exist in healthcare delivery.
Unfortunately, non-communicable diseases like obesity and type 2 diabetes cause 8 in 10 deaths globally. In Scotland, non-communicable diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and lung disease are responsible for almost 39,000 deaths every year — more than two-thirds of all deaths.
As founding Chief Executive Officer of DDM Health, we have led the development of digital treatments that cater for a diverse and varied community – and deliver our services in over 11 native languages. Our personalised chronic health condition management app is NHS Certified and the highest Orcha rated app ever.
The idea for the service came from a real-life experience of what a technological intervention can do. I supported my grandfather after his diagnosis with type 2 diabetes. As a graduate studying an undergraduate Masters in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, I used this knowledge to set up a website to support a global community for people with diabetes. This led to twenty years working with big data and AI to create evidenced-based precision digital health solutions.
DDM Health is one of the winners of the Scotland 5G Centre’s inaugural innovation challenge focusing on ‘Shaping Digital Health and Social Care’. We are working with the S5GConnect team at the rural hub in Dumfries to test and develop new applications using 5G capability. The challenge is to support patients in an area with challenges in terms of distances to hospital and health facilities and an age population. We are looking at regionally relevant solutions to digital connectivity that will make a difference to the community.
The Innovation Challenge will enable us to understand the needs of patients and providers in Dumfries and Galloway so that we can develop a solution with our local partners. We are looking specifically at using digital technologies to support families at home, through the use of innovative digital technologies, remote monitoring and apps to help create positive behavioural change.
Traditional healthcare cannot respond to current demands and needs which presents an opportunity for digital solutions to provide much needed support. We are looking to improve the sophistication of our in-app experiences using the capability provided by 5G and the technical expertise available at the S5GConnect Hub to provide new experiences to users. We hope this can further help them manage their condition independently at home. Proactive AI can encourage behaviour and medication management and also send messages of support, which is vital to combat loneliness and isolation
With so much innovation in this field, we can offer more people whatever their age, stage, culture and background a world where technology can help us to lead healthier and happier lives.
Arjun Panesar is the Founder, Chief Executive Officer of DDM Health and a winner of The Scotland 5G Centre’s Innovation Challenge focusing on ‘Shaping Digital Health and Social Care’.
Moving landline phones to digital technology: what you need to know
The technology that we currently use to make landline phone calls is being upgraded over the next few years. Here’s what this means for you as a customer.
The infrastructure used to deliver landline calls is old and needs to be replaced
Landline phone calls have traditionally been delivered over a network known as the public switched telephone network (PSTN). This network is old, and becoming harder and more expensive to maintain, so it needs to be replaced.
Replacing the PSTN now will ensure that we continue to have reliable home phone services available.
This is not happening only in the UK. These changes are taking place all over the world, with many countries having now completed them.
BT has taken the decision to retire its PSTN by December 2025 and this means other providers that use BT’s network must follow the same timescale. Other companies with their own networks such as Virgin Media plan to follow a similar timescale.
In addition, telecoms providers are also investing in new systems and networks – for example, by upgrading old copper-based broadband lines to full fibre. They will need to switch customers away from the old PSTN at the same time as upgrading their technology.
This means that in the future, landline calls will be delivered over digital technology, called Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). You might also see this referred to as ‘digital phone’ or ‘digital voice’.
Customers who want to keep a landline phone will need to move to a VoIP service
These changes have already started, but you don’t need to do anything until your provider contacts you to tell you your service is changing. Alternatively, if you want to move to a VoIP service now, you can do so by upgrading to a new phone and broadband package.
Once you have moved to a VoIP service, your landline phone will work in much the same way as it always has. However, as we explain below, there will be some differences.
Making phone calls in a power cut
Unlike some traditional corded analogue phones, a digital phone will only work in a power cut if it has a battery back-up.
If you are dependent on your landline phone – for example, if you don’t have a mobile phone or don’t have mobile signal at your home – your provider must offer you a solution to make sure you can contact the emergency services when a power cut occurs. For example, a mobile phone (if you have signal), or a battery back-up unit for your landline phone.
This solution should be provided free of charge to people who are dependent on their landline. If you are not eligible for a free resilience solution, you may be able to purchase one from your provider or another retailer – talk to your provider about options.
Your provider should arrange to supply the equipment needed to keep you connected
If you need any new equipment to make your landline phone work – for example, a new router, new telephone handset or if you need a new broadband service installed, your provider will arrange this.
Make sure your provider knows about your needs and circumstances
When the time comes for your landline phone to be upgraded, you should talk to your provider about your circumstances and how the service will work for you. For example, if you need extra help to change your service over, if you are dependent on your landline phone to make calls in a power cut, or if you use equipment connected to your phone line such as a telecare or burglar alarm.
You may need to change your care alarm, security alarm or fax machine
Certain devices people use at home, such as care alarms, security alarms and fax machines may also be connected you your landline. If you have a device like this, it might need to be replaced or reconfigured to continue working once you move to a VoIP service. Before you are migrated to a VoIP service, tell your provider about any of these devices that you rely on.
When you migrate to a VoIP service, your provider should tell you what you need to do if you have one of these devices. This will include informing your alarm provider so they can make the necessary changes or tell you if your alarm will work with your new VoIP service.
If you are buying a new alarm or device, you should ask the manufacturer if it is compatible with VoIP services.
Your VoIP service will be provided over a broadband connection
If you already have a broadband connection, for example to connect to the Internet, then the VoIP service will use this.
If you don’t have a broadband connection, your provider will supply one specifically to support the VoIP service, but you shouldn’t pay extra for your VoIP service if you don’t take up a broadband service.
This change will affect small businesses too
Just like residential customers, small businesses that want to continue using their landlines will eventually have to move to VoIP services.
You might also have equipment such as card payment machines, alarms, and monitoring equipment connected to your landline that might not work once you have migrated to a VoIP service.
Speak to your landline provider to establish what other equipment your business uses that relies on the PSTN. You should also speak to the current supplier of this equipment for advice on options for replacing or reconfiguring it.
For any other queries, including if you have a more complex set-up at your business, please speak to your landline provider for specific advice.
S5GC Innovation Challenge Winner Spotlight – DDM Health
“Our mission is to democratise access to digital health services so that everybody, regardless of race, income, or geographical location is able to realise the benefits of digital technologies.” – Arjun Panesar, Chief Executive Officer at DDM Health
Last month DDM Health were announced as one of three winners of The Scotland 5G Centre’s inaugural innovation challenge focusing on ‘Shaping Digital Health & Social Care’.
DDM provides personalised chronic health condition management through Gro Health, an NHS certified app which provides personalised treatment pathways and democratises access to health self-management tools including home monitoring, preventative care and chronic disease management, elective care support for patients waiting for treatment and supports post-treatment rehabilitation.
DDM has 10 years’ experience, looking after people across the UK, Germany and Canada; and a successful track-record in the scaling implementation of their solutions; their technology is one of the most rigorously-tested and proven digital apps in the marketplace and is Orcha’s highest rated app (96%).
Aiming to reach 1.5 million people with their digital healthcare solutions by 2026, the innovation challenge will enable DDM to understand the needs of patients and providers in Dumfries & Galloway.
We spoke to Arjun Panesar, Chief Executive Officer at DDM Health about the company’s success and what it means to win the challenge.
- Why are you interested in shaping digital health and social care?
My grandfather Anupam was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes after suffering a quadruple heart bypass. Not knowing how to manage his lifestyle in a way that suited his cultural and social expectations, Anupam turned to me for guidance on what to eat. It was at this point I founded a global community for people with diabetes. Fast forward to 2022, I have two decades’ experience in big data and AI and lead the development of DDM’s evidence-based precision digital health solutions that harness the power of AI to provide precision medicine to patients, health services, and governments across the globe.
- What’s the best thing about what you do?
We make services that empower people and have the potential to change lives. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing our services being used and achieving their intended goal. My favourite case study to date is David Williams, who was referred to our service by his doctor, and placed his 23-year diagnosis of type 2 diabetes into remission in 12 weeks through the education, support and monitoring made available through using our platform.
- What’s the company’s greatest achievement?
DDM have published 15 peer-reviewed, published papers on the impact of our platforms which is a tremendous achievement. On top of this, our health apps Gro Health and Low Carb Program have both been reviewed by Orcha and rated the highest (96%) compared to over 3,500 apps they have reviewed.
Scotland 5G Centre & Vodafone Rollout 2 New MPN’s
- Two new 5G Mobile Private Network (MPN) deployments in Aberdeen and Kilmarnock will support the digitisation and diversification of local economies
- Vodafone designed and installed the MPNs in eight weeks
- 5G-powered testbed environments will support the creation and acceleration of new 5G services in areas such as manufacturing, healthcare, and energy
The Scotland 5G Centre and Vodafone have delivered two new 5G Mobile Private Networks (MPNs) to develop new use cases and accelerate the adoption of 5G technology across industry in Scotland.
The 5G MPNs are in The Scotland 5G Centre’s Aberdeen and HALO Kilmarnock innovation hubs. The hubs will help organisations to deliver new applications and services using Vodafone 5G connectivity. Specialist staff will help companies to develop, prototype and test real-world, 5G-powered applications and use cases.
By identifying issues faced by local businesses, the partnership will help spur growth in the regions and build use cases that go beyond the ‘proof of concept’ stage. The insights from local businesses will help The Scotland 5G Centre to identify any gaps in skills or infrastructure to support the adoption of emerging technologies.
From commission to switch on, the two 5G MPNs were delivered by Vodafone in less than eight weeks.
In Aberdeen, the 5G MPN will power the ONE Tech Hub initiative, a co-working space for entrepreneurs, established businesses, and regional start-ups to drive digitisation and economic diversification in North East Scotland. A particular area of focus will be how new connectivity and digital services can support the energy, renewables and utilities sector, a major employer in the area.
At the Kilmarnock site, the 5G MPN will power HALO Enterprise and Innovation Centre, a regeneration initiative to revitalise Urban Cities and Towns in a collaboration of education and enterprise.
Kim Moran-Hogg, Regional Director for Vodafone UK, said: “We are working with The Scotland 5G Centre to help open up new opportunities for Scottish businesses. By combining our connectivity with local knowledge of the businesses and industries, we can help the Scottish economy to benefit from a 5G connected world.”
“This partnership is about understanding the problems that local businesses face, and developing cutting edge solutions together. 5G will power the future of Scotland’s economy, and help us build an inclusive and sustainable digital society.”
Lara Moloney, Head of the S5GConnect Programme at The Scotland 5G Centre commented “We are extremely excited to work with Vodafone at these two additional locations as part of our network of Innovation hubs across Scotland. Working together to provide 5G access, market education and insight for digital infrastructure and it’s potential ROI for industry offers a competitive advantage to organisations that utilise these unique and high quality services. We are looking forward to supporting ambitious businesses on their 5G journey as we continue to evolve the 5G ecosystem for the benefit of Scottish citizens and the economy.”
Our Partners SFT project reaches milestone to improve mobile digital connectivity
Online platform of over 140,000 public assets where mobile network infrastructure can be installed is launched
A transformative project aimed at accelerating mobile digital connectivity across Scotland has marked a major milestone with the launch of an online platform showing locations of over 140,000 public sector land, buildings and street furniture assets where mobile network equipment can be installed.
The Infralink-Exchange platform details public sector owned assets, such as land, buildings, streetlights and CCTV, across its pilot area of the Tay Cities region (Fife, Perth & Kinross, Dundee City and Angus Councils) that would be suitable for mobile phone operators to install mobile network equipment.
Infralink-Exchange is one of eight pilot projects focused on making public assets available to speed up 4G and 5G deployment. All projects were awarded UK Government funding earlier this year.
The launch follows on from the work of the Infralink programme, established by public sector infrastructure body, the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) and funded by Scottish Government. Infralink is aimed at streamlining and speeding up the process of identifying and installing digital communications equipment on public sector buildings and land.
Sarah Eynon, programme director for Digital Infrastructure at SFT, said: “This is a significant step forward for the project because it means mobile network operators seeking to improve coverage in communities across the region can easily access the robust database of over 140,000 assets and easily find out where they can install macro and small cell equipment as well as details of potential willing landlords.
“Increasing Scotland’s connectivity is a crucial economic driver towards post-pandemic recovery and to further attracting inward investment. Key to the success of the pilot project is having a process for data identification, incorporation and management that is sustainable and can be applied across the whole of Scotland.
“We will share what we have learnt and the approach we have used, to allow others to replicate it and use it across the country to help facilitate swifter and wider adoption of 5G, and the widespread benefits this will bring.”
The asset information is hosted on Sitenna’s platform and can be used to promote the assets and the terms they can be leased on. Providing a single point of entry, standardised commercial tools and a digitised lease management tool allows smoother interactions between local authorities and industry during contract negotiation.
Angus Council Leader and Chair of the of Tay Cities Region Deal Board, Councillor Beth Whiteside, said: “The Infralink-Exchange pilot plays a key role in improving connectivity throughout the Tay Cities Region by bringing together public assets and industry to allow local citizens, businesses, and visitors to experience enhanced mobile connectivity.
“Our commitment to ensuring digital is at the heart of everything that we do, ensures that we will continue to deliver an inclusive economic growth, reform our public services and prepare our children for the workplace of the future.”
UK Digital Infrastructure Minister, Julia Lopez, said: “We have funded this innovative project as part of our pioneering programme to explore ways to cut red tape for telecoms firms looking to use roadside infrastructure and buildings to boost 5G coverage.
“It is just one way we’re dialling up mobile coverage right across Scotland, such as the government-led Shared Rural Network which will bring fast and reliable 4G signal to hard-to-reach areas through a £1 billion investment.”
Hamish MacLeod, Chief Executive of Mobile UK, said: “Connectivity is crucial to generating opportunities and driving economic growth. The Infralink programme is a pioneering initiative bringing together public assets and industry, and this milestone marks an important step in creating a streamlined process to enable quick and effective infrastructure deployment and ultimately extending mobile connectivity to more people.”
Economy Secretary, Kate Forbes, said: “The Infralink-Exchange pilot aims to invest in improved coverage across the region by streamlining processes like identifying sites, drawing up contracts and beginning onsite work. It may also help the mobile industry work with Tay Cities local authorities.
“This project, financially supported by the Scottish Government, could help create jobs while promoting prosperity and improving technology and connectivity in line with our National Strategy for Economic Transformation.”
Richard Watson, managing director of Rapier Systems, a telecoms company operating across the Tay Cities region, said: “We all need good mobile connectivity these days, not necessarily to watch TV on the go, but simply to be able to communicate with friends and family or pay bills. It really isn’t a luxury anymore, or at least it shouldn’t be.
“These days, the performance of mobile is right up there with fibre for most activities, so it simply isn’t for the less fortunate anymore. We need to make it as easy as possible to do things commercially.”
The Infralink-Exchange project was the only Scottish project of eight to be awarded a share of £4m funding earlier this year from the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.
The project received £500,000 from the Digital Connectivity Infrastructure Accelerator (DCIA) to explore how digital software can help simplify local authority processes when telecoms operators request access to publicly owned buildings and curb-side infrastructure.
The Scotland 5G Centre announces digital health and social care challenge winners
The Scotland 5G Centre has announced the winners of its first Innovation Challenge focussing on ‘Shaping Digital Health & Social Care’. The three successful companies all offer connectivity solutions to address real challenges in the sector – improving digital access to healthcare services, supporting care at home and sharing health information safely. The three winning SMEs will now benefit from an intensive acceleration programme and access to a private 5G network to test and prepare their business ideas to be market ready.
All of the winning companies utilise technology to make a genuine difference. Care Reality provides essential clinical skills training using a new end-user virtual reality platform. DDM Health and Safehouse Technology both use digital technology applications to support early intervention and diagnosis. DDM Health offers home monitoring and precision chronic disease management and Safehouse allows people to receive quality care in their homes.
Ross Toomer is Chief Executive of Care Reality, a software development company developing a Virtual Reality assessment and simulated learning platform for the care sector, giving educators the ability to assess the clinical skills and competence of remote learners.
On being a winner of the Innovation Challenge he said: “Working with the team at the Scotland 5G Centre will allow us a unique opportunity to test the streaming of immersive learning experiences and instant content directly from the cloud. . With low latency, incredible speed, and massive capacity, 5G and edge-computing will be game changing for VR learning.
We look forward to working with the experts and gaining access to the wider support the programme offers for us as a start-up SME in Scotland.”
Arjun Panesar is Chief Executive Officer at DDM Health, a digital therapeutics company and creator of Gro Health, an NHS certified App, which provides home monitoring, preventative care and chronic disease management, elective care support for patients waiting for treatment and supports post-treatment rehabilitation.
Encouraged by winning a place on this ground-breaking development programme, Arjun said:
“Our mission is to empower people to live healthier, longer lives and combining our Gro Health platform with the latest digital connectivity can achieve this aim and deliver care efficiently.
“We are looking forward to building relationships with healthcare providers and peers to see how we can offer our Gro Health app using 5G and IoT devices to improve the care of patients in Scotland.”
John Griffiths is the Chief Technical Officer of Safehouse Technology and is focussing on a product called Safehouse AI for the accelerator programme. This provides an end-to-end IoT service and works in the social care sector to offer digital support to keep people safe in their own homes.
John said: “We are developing, in conjunction with Glasgow Social Services, a service with personalised alerts helping social services to concentrate on real incidents rather than false alarms. We are looking to accelerate the work of Safehouse AI by taking it into a 5G setting and producing a focused product ready for market.
“5G is an area we believe is of great growth potential and this is an opportunity to get the technical experience and expertise to create a platform for the next generation of telecare in the social care sector.”
Lara Moloney, Head of S5G Connect welcomed the winners along with key challenge owners, Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership and Scottish Care and technical advisors AWTG. She said:
“Our first Innovation Challenge is realising our ambition to bring businesses into our hub and helping them to use 5G technology to create new, innovative solutions. We are all very excited about the high calibre of winners and look forward to working with them to get their products and services market ready to ultimately improve health and social care delivery.
“The Innovation Challenge is about enabling direct solutions to the benefit of the health and care sector, and we look forward to sharing knowledge and supporting the ambitious companies to realise their potential in a 5G environment. The solutions created will help the Dumfries region and will also be transferable to other rural areas coping with the demands of an ageing population.”
All the winners will now take part in a 15-week development programme; with access to the 5G testbed in Dumfries and one-to-one technical expertise to support technical development. In addition, companies will receive business and investment advice and introduction to potential customers and ongoing access to S5GConnect business and technical support until March 2023.
Scotland 5G Centre Appoints Two Non-Exec Directors
The Scotland 5G Centre has appointed two Non-Executive Directors to formally join the S5GC Board, led by the Centre’s chair, Julie Snell.
These appointments are critical in the development of the strategy for the Centre’s long-term future alongside rolling out the S5GConnect Programme across Scotland.
Fiona Smith, Group Head of Aerodrome Strategy for AGS Airports Ltd, is an experienced leader in the aviation sector, specialising in technology identification and its application in operational settings.
With experience gained across seven airports internationally and for the UK CAA, Fiona is a leading figure in the sector. She is a founding member of the industry governance framework on Airspace Modernisation, and Project Director for Future Flight project CAELUS, an Innovate UK funded consortium of 16 companies demonstrating viability of a drone enabled national network serving NHS in Scotland.
She passionately supports initiatives driving social inclusion, sustainability and diversity and inclusion.
Also joining the S5GC Board as a Non-Executive Director, Mark Hanson, Commercial Director at Logicomms.
Mark has a wealth of experience driving growth for entrepreneurial technology companies in Scotland which include; high end audio manufacturer Linn Products, quantum pioneer M Squared Lasers and digital communications specialist Logicomms.
Having held a variety of senior leadership positions within engineering, procurement, sales and operations, he understands what it takes to take ideas from concept through to delivery and commercial success.
Mark is proud of Scotland’s engineering heritage and looks forward to helping the centre deliver the wider societal benefits that 5G will bring to the country.
Julie Snell, Chair, The Scotland 5G Centre said: “I’m pleased to welcome Fiona and Mark to the Scotland 5G Centre’s Board of Directors.
The Scotland 5G Centre is a fast-growing organisation, playing a key role in the digital revolution and Fiona and Mark’s role will bring to the forefront, the commercial potential and impact of 5G, and will contribute to the wider digital ambitions across Scotland.”
Lunch & Learn: Connected Ports – 21st June
Ports are the primary nexus of global trade – by orders of magnitude, more goods flow through them than any other international trade hub. Statista.com showed 1.83 billion metric tons flow through ports each year at a collective value of $12 trillion USD.
And as the future of trade is shaped by technology developments like automation, blockchain and sustainable infrastructure, `Smart Ports’ are increasingly implementing innovations across the entire value chain with a wide range of technologies.
Enabled by private, stand-alone 5G networks there is an increased use of technological solutions like robotics and the IoT which are driving increased productivity. Such networks also support capacity sensing, route optimization, energy management, fault detection & resolution and all can be done much more (cost) efficiently.
Business Engagement Manager for S5GConnect Forth Valley, Tom Marchbanks hosted the session exploring the benefits of 5G and advanced technology to Ports.
With around 2,000 ports in the world, it is clear that innovation in this sector would have a significant impact world-wide. In a recent Deloitte report on global port operations, it is suggested that operations times at ports could be reduced by up to 30% with the introduction of advanced technology.
Following an introduction from Tom, the session’s guest speaker Simon Haston, Digital Place Lead with BT gave an insight into BT’s Belfast Port project where they have been working to install a 5G eco-system and deliver innovative smart port solutions and services at Belfast Harbour.
Simon discussed the benefits of Smart Ports including increased levels or reliability, ability and performance and how 5G can support remote operations and tracking, smart surveillance, automation and monitoring, augmented reality and connected vehicles.
View the recording here.
Governor of the Bank of England Visits S5GConnect Dumfries
As part of a visit to the South of Scotland, The Crichton Trust and partners from Dumfries and Galloway College, the University of Glasgow and The Scotland 5G Centre welcomed Andrew Bailey, Governor of the Bank of England, to The Crichton on Friday 17th June.
The meeting with Mr Bailey, who was accompanied by Will Dowson, Bank of England’s Agent for Scotland, took place at Crichton Central, The Crichton’s new co-working space and home to The Scotland 5G Centre’s S5G Connect Hub in Dumfries.
Mr Bailey met with Dr Ian Macmillan, Gwilym Gibbons and Rachel Cowper from The Crichton Trust and Julie Snell, Paul Coffey and Andy Todman from The Scotland 5G Centre. They discussed the role that technology plays in enhancing the impact rural communities, like Dumfries and Galloway, can have on the wider economy.
Mr Bailey, who was encouraged by the innovative and ambitious plans of The Crichton partners to put 5G technology to the test in rural areas said: “I was delighted to see some innovative uses of 5G technology being developed in Hubs like the one in Dumfries. The potential improvements for how we live and work should have positive impacts for businesses and households, particularly in rural parts of the economy.”
During the visit The Scotland 5G Centre and the University of Glasgow showcased the potential of 5G technology with on-site robot demonstrations from the 5G testbed at Crichton Central.
Gwilym Gibbons, Chief Executive of The Crichton Trust said: “We appreciated our visit from Andrew Bailey, Governor of the Bank of England. It was a great opportunity for us to showcase our ambitions for The Crichton and the South of Scotland, but more importantly to demonstrate the potential for rural based innovation to generate technological solutions to the big challenges we face. Solutions which are born from the need of communities that are feeling first and most acutely the impacts of climate change, ageing society, and technological revolution; solutions that can be replicated and scaled from the rural to the urban and to the world. Inspiring places combined with innovative partnerships, knowledge exchange and local investment, means rural businesses and communities can influence change and make a real difference to the local and global economies. Due to our partnerships and the 5G testbed we have here, we are at the forefront of innovation when it comes to finding solutions to modern-day societal challenges and we are excited about the potential impact of our work.”
Paul Coffey, Chief Executive of The Scotland 5G Centre said: “We were pleased to host the Bank of England Governor visit to witness first-hand what the Crichton Centre and our Scotland 5GConnect hub at Dumfries has to offer. 5G provides huge transformational benefits to industries and working practices and adopting advanced connectivity, augmented through 5G network capabilities, unlocks growth and innovation and allows processes and outcomes to be re-imagined by using industrial automation, AI video applications, drones, and IoT sensing technologies.
“Importantly, advanced connectivity enables choice. The place of work no longer needs to be the office. People will have access to a work environment, regardless of location, removing physical barriers and association of a job. This has a tremendous advantage, not just at a personal level, but also to the economy as we lessen the impact such as the Covid-19 pandemic and rebuild a sustainable economy.”
Strathclyde supports BT’s pioneering showcase of 5G in live TV
Engineers from the University of Strathclyde built a custom private shared spectrum 5G standalone network which helped enable a new BT showcase of the powerful benefits that 5G can bring to broadcasters.
As part of an industry first collaboration, matchday cameras were connected to the 5G network, custom built for London’s StoneX stadium, during a match between Saracens and Northampton last weekend.
BT and the University of Strathclyde collaborated to enable a number of the matchday cameras to be connected via a standalone private 5G network it had installed at the ground. These cameras’ output then formed part of the live BT Sport coverage of the match in a UK first – never before have key matchday cameras, as part of a customer broadcast, been enabled in this way
The 5G demonstration network featured a 5G radio and 5G core from University spin-out firm Neutral Wireless Ltd, installed at the stadium by StrathSDR, the University of Strathclyde team. Pitch side cameras and user equipment (UE) radio technology was set up by visual communications firm Vislink and the 5G test network build and integration was supported by Broadcast RF.
Traditionally, broadcast cameras connect to the Outside Broadcast solely using radio (RF) signals which rely on proprietary equipment. 5G-enables potentially a range of cameras and other devices, in a wider range of locations to be used, opening up new creative and operational benefits to broadcasters.
Malcolm Brew, Principal Fellow at StrathSDR, University of Strathclyde, said: “This is a truly ‘mobile’ 5G solution – ‘mobile’ because the basestation can be easily wheeled to its location in a medium size equipment case, and the Antenna, Radio Unit, Baseband unit and 5G core can be set up in less than 15 minutes.”
Matt Stagg, Mobile and Immersive Strategy Director at BT Sport, said: “Private networks provide the capability to configure the network in any way we want to support all types of productions and are going to revolutionise the production of live events.”
Dr Cameron Speirs, Chief Commercial Officer at, Neutral Wireless Ltd, said: “Since our first demonstration with BT Sport, Dorna and Vislink at Silverstone MotoGP last year, we have continued to work with our European partners to custom design and integrate a versatile 5G software defined radio solution that has application in many market verticals and it’s great to see this live to air deployment.”
Paul Coffey, CEO at the Scotland 5G Centre added: “The urban and rural 5G Research & Development testbeds deployed with our support in Scotland, have not only aimed to demonstrate 5G technologies, but also helped stimulate and encourage the growth of tech and engineering companies contributing to the wider UK technology base for the 5G supply chain, and contribute to the UK Government 5G Supply Chain Diversification Strategy.
“It’s excellent to see StrathSDR and Neutral Wireless integrating and engineering their own custom, ‘software defined radio’ 5G base station technology for this 5G live sports event.
“This technology also has excellent application for more provincial and rural sports and events, like for shinty, mountain biking or the Highland Games.”
The BT demonstration of the trial is available on its YouTube page.
Lunch & Learn: Connected Offshore Wind – 19th May
According to the International Energy agency (IEA), global offshore wind capacity is projected to increase fifteenfold to 2040, becoming a $1 trillion industry over the next two decades. And if the industry is to grow as expected, reliable communication is essential.
Given the urgent need for low cost, low carbon energy sources, there is a strong socio-economic case for using 5G to optimise the performance of wind farms. The complex and dynamic nature of air currents means that real-time data is essential to optimise the performance of a wind farm. therefore, connectivity (and the data it captures) can have a major impact on the amount of energy produced, and ultimately the cost per watt of that energy.
Hosted by Tom Marchbanks, Business Engagement Manager for S5GConnect Forth Valley, the session explored how connectivity can support innovative maintenance approaches, such as drone inspections and AR-enabled head-mounted displays (HMDs) used by field technicians. It’s high capacity for data means that the angle of each turbine can be optimised to increase the output of the overall wind farm – a process known as wake steering, a solution that will enable turbines to be sited closer together, increasing their overall energy production.
Following an introduction from Tom, the session’s guest speaker James Thomas, CEO, JET Engineering System Solutions LTD gave a presentation on their new ‘`floating’ connectivity technology, sharing how it could have a transformational impact on the operation of offshore wind farms.
For those who weren’t able to attend or those who would like to watch the event again, you can view the event recording here.
For info on our next Lunch & Learn Connected Ports taking place on Tuesday 21st June , register here.
Function Without Friction
By Nicola Cooper, Technology and Digital Innovation Lead at Scottish Care.
Some asks are big, unrealistic – a moonshot. Some are achievable with a fair wind behind them. My ask for Social Care is that we are unbridled of obstruction, allowed the conditions in which to flourish, in short, that we can function without friction.
Since joining Scottish Care in November 2021, I have been thinking about this a lot, and it has come up in conversations with Social Care providers over and over.
Three of the biggest challenges facing Social Care are recruitment and retention of staff, and data exchange – the ability to share information digitally with regulators, commissioners, primary and acute care, and to have timeous exchange of data as equal partners in the care of citizens. 245,000 people access social care in Scotland, and an aging population means numbers will continue to rise, as will more complex levels of need.
The inability of Health and Social Care to cope under pressure, translates to hours of unmet need – people going without essential care, and this is worryingly on the increase. Pressure is being felt everywhere in the Health and Social Care system, which is most often reported by the media as delays to hospital discharge. However, if we change the narrative around and consider the largely untapped potential for social care to be the executive of early intervention and prevention, then the need for hospital admission would decrease, with huge savings to the NHS.
How might we move towards Social Care becoming a ‘springboard not a safety net’ as suggested in Derek Feeley’s Independent Review of Adult Social Care, the starting pistol for the soon to be National Care Service? And in the remainder of 2023 what will enable this change?
In Social Care, we have seen a paradigm shift in how we deliver and sustain services, largely necessitated by the pandemic. The ability to use technology to stay in touch and to be there, albeit remotely, has opened the door to further digital approaches and a cultural shift in attitudes to technology. We have momentum, what next?
Change moves at the speed of trust and in the case of Social Care, the call to action is to work with us, something that to date has never been fully realised in the way that Health and Social Care Integration proffered. Investment is also sorely needed. Social Care providers are struggling to keep the lights on. It takes real courage to think about innovation under these conditions and to adopt digital systems and approaches, but that is what many are doing.
As an example of this, care home providers in Dumfries and Galloway have recently introduced Digital Care Plans and eMar, electronic medication management, helping to enhance service delivery and outcomes for residents. Jim Gatherum from Notwen House, a residential care home in Lockerbie, told me that he thinks the next steps could be sensing technology, AI assisted diagnostics and real-time data sharing between Health and Social Care, with data fluidity being the key to unlocking unrealised potential.
Working with industry partners will help us to achieve this and we welcome the opportunity to work with S5GConnect Dumfries, the Scotland 5G Centre’s test bed and innovation hub, with its ‘Shaping Digital Health & Social Care’ Innovation Challenge. This accelerator programme will help start-ups harness the power of 5G connectivity to create digital solutions to challenges faced in the sector and we urge SMEs to bring forward their ideas.
By the way, if you are thinking that to function without friction sounds familiar, then perhaps you also practise yoga, the ambition of which is to function without friction.
It’s a mantra worth remembering.
Nicola Cooper is Technology and Digital Innovation Lead at Scottish Care.
The S5GConnect innovation challenge closes on May 18th The prize of technical support and accelerator programme equates to a value of £65,000 apply here https://scotland5gcentre.org/s5gconnect/s5gconnect-dumfries/shaping-digital-health-social-care/
Lunch & Learn: Connected Health & Social Care – 10th May
5G enables new ways of delivering services to patients, both in hospital and social care environments and to support independent living and reduce the burden of repetitive and labour-intensive tasks. From the use of robots to support logistical management to VR for pain management to wearables for real time data management – the utilisation of private, on-site 5G networks can help health and social care providers support patients in new and innovative ways that can manage thousands of connected devices at one time.
This week, we held our second Lunch & Learn event, following our successful event exploring Connected Manufacturing earlier this year.
Business Engagement Manager for S5GConnect Dumfries, Andy Todman hosted Lunch & Learn: Connected Health & Social Care held on 10th May 2022 exploring how 5G and advanced connectivity can support the health sector.
S5GConnect Dumfries, The Centre’s first rural hub supports eco-systems in Dumfries and Galloway specifically, and Scotland more broadly, to help health and social care professionals understand the opportunities that 5G connectivity can offer.
Following an introduction from Andy Todman, the session’s guest speaker Leigh Manton, EMEA Director, AT&T Consulting and Professional Services gave a presentation on enabling improved patient care highlighting how 5G can support and connect healthcare throughout the patient’s journey – including A&E, in patient care locations like hospitals, surgery centre’s and clinics and at home, improving care and operational efficiency.
For those who weren’t able to attend or those who would like to watch the event again, you can view the event recording here.
To find out more about our Innovation Challenge on shaping digital health and social care, visit the page here.
For info on our next Lunch & Learn, register here.
Innovating in Health and Social Care Blog
Guest blog by Tim Marsden, Urban Foresight, Facilitators of the Innovation Challenge.
Arguably, the pace at which technological development is happening now is faster than at any other time. Certainly, within living memory. Companies are continually evolving products and services, to become quicker, faster, better and more reliable.
We live in an increasingly ‘data rich’ world – people are consuming more data ‘on the go’ than ever before and there is far more data available for companies to utilise.
Typically, when a product is purchased, the Brand owner loses their stewardship over the product. With the advent of ‘big data’ and the ‘internet of things’, it is much easier for the Brand Owners to see where and when their products have been consumed. A recent, albeit simple, example includes Coca-Cola’s ‘name on a bottle’, which encouraged consumers to engage with the brand in a way that hadn’t been experienced before. As technology has evolved, we are now seeing the miniaturisation of electronic components, which are in turn being embedded into other products, so consumers can engage directly with a product. Brand Owners are getting much more visibility, engagement and data than they ever have before.
The health and social care industries has traditionally taken a conservative approach to incorporating new/cutting edge technologies into their products or services. It is of course true to say that the health and social care industry is one of the most regulated industries within the UK.
The pace of change combined with a traditionally conservative approach to technology adoption has often made innovation in this field more challenging than it could be. Or should be.
Connected healthcare and connected social care is increasingly important within the Health and Social Care field. The ‘internet of things’ is allowing more and more products to become connected to support healthier lifestyles, as well as to support care in home-based settings.
The UK has always been a leader in the health and social care environment, with a long history of inventions and innovations. Many of the world’s biggest healthcare companies are headquartered within the UK. The UK has world-class R&D facilities in the UK. There are established supply-chains (logistics, packaging, components, ingredients…) and we have the technological infrastructure to help facilitate change.
Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, this has become ever more focussed and highlighted to many that companies can work together to generate magnificent results in a short-time frame. This has helped push some SMEs work into the public domain, which perhaps otherwise wouldn’t have received the publicity it deserved.
The pandemic has helped accelerate the UK Government’s development programme for vaccines, for example. It has also supported many companies working together, where they otherwise might not have done.
It has also supported and highlighted the magnificent achievements of the R&D centres which already exist in the UK – but has also highlighted areas where the UK needs to accelerate.
5G is no different in this area.
There are many companies already providing products and services within the healthcare space which offer connected functionality through for example, Zigbee, Bluetooth, 3G and/or 4G.
The S5GC Innovation Challenge is a remarkably exciting opportunity for organisations in the UK to take the next step with their product or service. The prize on offer by The S5GC presents a unique opportunity for the winning organisations to take the next step technically, and accelerate their route to commercialisation. It also offers an opportunity to meet the ‘challenge owners’ – people who may utilise the product on offer.
There are many SMEs in the health and social care field, many of whom are offering innovative and cutting-edge solutions to real-world problems. Some of these are already on the market, many more are in the development stages. If that rings true with you, then perhaps this Innovation Challenge may be part the solution you’ve been looking for.
Here’s hoping the S5GC Innovation Challenge can help fast track your route to commercialisation!
Businesses Invited to Share Digital Ideas for Improved Healthcare Delivery in Scotland
- New initiative using advanced connectivity to transform and improve healthcare delivery and solve current challenges in the service.
- ‘Call’ for businesses to provide solutions to improve digital access to services, support care at home and share information safely.
- Three shortlisted projects will receive access to a private 5G test bed and full technical and business support to develop a solution for market launch.
SMEs and technology entrepreneurs are invited to share their ideas to address challenges in the health sector, as The Scotland 5G Centre and its S5GConnect Dumfries hub launches their first innovation challenge today (date). The ‘Shaping Digital Health & Social Care’ Innovation Challenge will support three projects to improve healthcare delivery, by giving the selected companies the 5G know how to make their solution market ready.
S5GConnect is supported with this ground-breaking acceleration programme by two key challenge owners, namely Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership and Scottish Care. The Challenge Owners have identified the challenges they want to address. This ensures S5GConnect is assessing solutions that the market is keen to integrate.
The ‘Shaping Digital Health & Social Care’ Innovation Challenge invites businesses to respond to real problems and bring their solutions, enabled by 5G, to meet patient and care provider needs accurately, efficiently, conveniently, cost effectively and at scale.
Companies entering are required to highlight a solution that addresses one of the following challenges:
- Enhance and develop digital access to health and care services across the region, particularly in rural areas.
- Digital ideas to help support people to manage their own conditions and care for themselves safely at home.
- Connectivity solutions that enable information to be shared with people and others involved in patients’ care safely and efficiently.
Spearheaded by S5GConnect, the Scotland 5G Centre’s series of 5G test beds and innovation hubs across Scotland, the challenge will provide access to a cutting-edge private 5G network in Dumfries, with expertise and advice to drive development within a 5G environment.
The winning companies will get access to the challenge owners’ expertise and insider knowledge throughout the accelerator programme, with support also committed post programme to bring the solution closer to market integration.
CGI, an additional challenge partner, will also be bringing its “go-to-market” and scaling expertise throughout the programme. CGI’s support will continue with network introductions and a potential showcase at the CGI Innovation Centre’s 5G lab in London. Technical support will be delivered by AWTG virtually and through direct one-to-one sessions at the testbed.
The ‘call’ is open to SMEs across Scotland and the UK who currently have a healthcare product or service in development or already on the market but requires additional digital capacity to meet a need or improve performance. Entrants also need to show they are committed to the programme and can ensure team members can attend the required sessions. There is a £1000 travel and subsistence budget available to each winning company to support these costs.
The S5GConnect innovation programme offers a comprehensive package of support for the successful companies. This includes: a 15-week development programme; access to the 5G testbed in Dumfries with one-to-one technical expertise to support technical development. In addition, companies will receive business and investment advice and introduction to potential customers and ongoing access to S5GConnect business and technical support until March 2023. The post challenge opportunities through the network of challenge owners and partners will add real value to a company.
Lara Moloney, Head of S5GConnect, said:
“Private 5G networks offer organisations a new way to deliver services, this innovation challenge focuses on how we can support independent living and care to ease the burden on the NHS and Care Providers. Collectively we are offering a real opportunity to businesses who can solve these difficult problems and that can be enhanced through advanced connectivity. This intensive programme will allow the acceleration of a business concept into a product that has the potential to transform how we care for people and change lives for the better.
“This is an ideal opportunity for businesses to access expert support to fine-tune their concept and assess it in a real environment. This will in turn lead to scaling up and commercialisation to create new skills and jobs and will make a positive and real difference to the economy.”
David Rowland, Director of Strategic Planning and Transformation, Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership, added
“We launched a comprehensive Sustainability and Modernisation Programme to address the growing pressures on local services. We recognise that adopting new and emergent digital solutions is critical to our success as it can help us provide our services efficiently and effectively.
“This Innovation Challenge offers a fantastic opportunity for our partnership to forge the new alliances necessary to explore innovative and creative solutions to some of our key challenges.”
Nicola Cooper, Technology and Digital Innovation Lead, Scottish Care
“This is a terrific opportunity to do something of real value for people who access, or work in health and social care through delivering new solutions enabled by advanced connectivity at a time when we need it most.
“We want to work with innovators seeking real world applications for their solutions in health and social care. We will help match them with care providers, to shape and evaluate their ideas as part of the accelerator process.”
The programme will be delivered in person and remotely. The live test bed used will be at the S5GConnect innovation hub, at the Crichton Centre in Dumfries. Details of the innovation challenge, including a link to the Expression of Interest form and Q&A event are available here.
Timetable for applications:
- 12th April – Challenge Launch
- 21st April – Live Q&A Application Support Event
- 18th May – First Stage: Expression of Interest Documentation to be submitted
- 1st – 3rd June – Second Stage: Technical Interviews with shortlisted Companies
- 6th June – Winning companies will be notified
- 27th June – Companies to start.
Transformational 5G hubs announced in Aberdeen and Kilmarnock
- The Scotland 5G Centre confirmed two further S5GConnect Hubs in Aberdeen and Kilmarnock
- The new hubs are part of a £4m government funding package to accelerate the adoption of 5G in Scotland
The Scotland 5G Centre (S5GC) continues expanding its S5GConnect Programme by announcing today that two 5G innovation hubs will be located in Aberdeen and Kilmarnock.
The Scotland 5G Centre is building a platform to drive investment. This launch will mark the fourth and fifth S5GConnect hubs, following the announcement of hubs in Forth Valley, Dundee and Scotland’s first rural hub in Dumfries. These new 5G innovation hubs will continue to support economic growth through the deployment and adoption of 5G technology, supported by a £4m investment from the Scottish Government.
Based in ONE Tech Hub, the new hub in Aberdeen is a partnership with Opportunity North East. In Ayrshire, HALO Kilmarnock will be the lead partner and the hub will be hosted in The HALO Enterprise and Innovation Centre at The HALO Digital & Cyber Innovation Park.
The hubs will act as ‘business enablers’ intended to accelerate strategic partnerships with key customers in the regions, to leverage new applications and services, enabled through 5G connectivity. Specialist staff will support companies to develop, prototype and test real-world applications and use cases over a 5G innovation platform, gain one-to-one consultancy and professional support to develop and scale businesses at no initial cost to the user.
Since launching the first three hubs, The Scotland 5G Centre has engaged with over 400 businesses on the transformational benefits of 5G technology. The new hubs will promote innovation and investment, focussing on sectors relevant to the Ayrshire and Aberdeen economies, including energy, offshore and ports.
Economy Secretary Kate Forbes said:
“These new 5G Innovation Hubs will help boost the economy and encourage entrepreneurship in Aberdeen and Kilmarnock.
“The S5GConnect Hub programme is playing an important role in unlocking the power of 5G technologies, helping small and medium‑sized enterprises with the skills they need to understand how 5G can benefit their business.
“This transformational technology could provide Scotland with competitive advantage and, most importantly, improve quality of life for citizens and businesses across the country as we rebuild a sustainable economy with good jobs at its heart.”
Paul Coffey, Chief Executive of the Scotland 5G Centre added:
“Announcing two further S5GConnect Hubs is a significant step forward in this innovative new programme. Our expanding hub network will unlock growth and innovation, augmented through 5G network capabilities, and re-imagine customer processes and outcomes through data, AI/AR and machine learning. Acting as a catalyst to place Scotland at the forefront of digital connectivity, each hub will build on regional engagement, job creation and skills development by supporting key sectors and businesses.”
Jennifer Craw, Chief Executive, Opportunity North East said:
“Locating the S5GConnect Hub within ONE Tech Hub provides businesses and tech developers with the opportunity to demonstrate, develop and apply 5G connectivity in new applications and ensure the region’s key sectors continue to be at the forefront of digital and technology developments and further strengthens ONE Tech Hub as the forum for the digital ecosystem.”
Marie Macklin CBE, Founder and Executive Chair of the HALO, said: “We’re really pleased to welcome a Scotland 5G Centre Connect Hub to The HALO Enterprise and Innovation Centre.
“The HALO is setting the standard for low carbon energy sites across the UK offering a state-of-the-art environment for entrepreneurs specialising in green growth by building a sustainable community powered by renewable energy.
“Hosting a Scotland 5G Centre Connect Hub here at the HALO will further enhance our community approach to providing digital and cyber jobs with skills development, economic growth and access to employment opportunities.”
Pioneering Project to Allow Immersive 5G-Based Sports Experiences
Engineers from the University of Strathclyde supported and installed a 5G private network as part of a pioneering project aimed at bringing immersive experiences of live content to viewers on consumer devices
The 5GEdgeXR sport project is harnessing 5G networks to provide new ways to watch or experience sports and the performing arts.
The innovation with EE’s 5G network, BT Sport, BT Applied Research and external partners and suppliers including the University, brings highly immersive, personalised experiences which re-imagine the experiences through virtual, augmented and mixed reality applications.
Using everyday devices such as smartphones, tablets and TVs, as well as the latest augmented reality headsets, the new prototypes enable users to take control and engage in an event from any angle of their choosing.
Building on successful demonstrations for a MotoGP event at Silverstone in 2021, engineers from the University’s Software Defined Radio team, StrathSDR, began the work on a private, 5G stand-alone network, while University spin-out firm Neutral Wireless provided and engineered the 5G shared spectrum radios and core that enabled the outside extended reality (XR) experiences to de demonstrated.
The prototypes are the first outputs from the project, which demonstrates how the potential of EE’s 5G network, paired with cloud graphics processing units, can enable consumers to view events in a range of new, highly immersive ways.
Examples included showing how the technology can be used to measure how hard the ball has been kicked and how far it will go on the rugby pitch, with the data being streamed in real time to enhance the experience. Boxing fans can bring fight nights into their own living room with highly immersive holographic videos which puts them up close to the boxers as they fight.
Football fans are offered a fully immersive ‘like being there’ experience, with screens showing the live TV match feed, team sheets and match info, embedded match information graphics showing teams score, clock, and an interactive timeline that enables users to directly jump to key events within the match.
The prototypes, which are the latest industry-first collaboration around the use of world-class 5G networks between EE, BT Sport, BT Applied Research and BT Media & Broadcast, and are being further developed by BT Sport for launch in the future.
They also include an immersive race presentation for Moto GP through a virtual multi-screen viewing suite with 17 different video panels. Dancers, musicians and other artists can remotely demonstrate, teach and engage with students and fans using EE’s 5G network to provide real-time interactive experiences.
Professor Bob Stewart from the University of Strathclyde, Director of the StrathSDR team said: “5G Edge XR is an exciting project featuring new applications for engagement and interaction for sports events. Our team is very pleased to have had the opportunity to augment the 5G connectivity used for the demonstrators from the project.”
Paul Coffey, CEO of The Scotland 5G Centre said: “In the coming years, 5G EdgeXR type applications will not just be for professional and headlining sports. As the technology matures, we can expect to see application to more provincial events, such as shinty, local rugby sevens events, and mountain biking events in Scotland.”
Dr Cameron Speirs, CCO of Neutral Wireless Ltd said: “We are very pleased to have had the opportunity to engineer and integrate the technology to set up a 5G standalone private network to support the demonstrations for the 5G EdgeXR project to complement the connectivity available from public networks.”
The project is supported by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport as part of 5G Create programme to develop new use cases and 5G technical capabilities. Other high-end XR services being explored by the project address the needs of industries such as construction, health and retail.
Lisa Perkins, Research Realisation, BT, said: “We’re excited to be unveiling experiences that could transform sports, culture, and the arts as well as demonstrating the benefits 5G can bring to people and businesses.”
Jamie Hindhaugh, chief operating officer, BT Sport, said: “These new experiences, which capitalise on the breadth of broadcast and mobile expertise across BT and EE, re-affirm the important role that 5G will play in re-imagining how sport is watched both at stadia and via television.”
New Laws to End Mobile Coverage ‘No Bar Blues’
Plans to erase mobile coverage ‘not spots’ in rural areas and roll out next-generation 5G will be accelerated under new barrier-busting laws.
- New rules to connect countryside to 4G quicker and accelerate 5G roll out
- Law changes will reduce need for new phone masts and boost signal on roads
- Comes with protections to preserve rural scenery and minimise impact of new infrastructure
Reforms to planning laws will mean fewer phone masts will be needed overall to level up the country with improved 4G and 5G mobile coverage as telecoms firms will be able to upgrade existing infrastructure over building new masts.
Mobile network operators will get more freedom to make new and existing phone masts up to five metres taller and two metres wider than current rules permit. This will boost the range of masts, create room for the extra equipment needed for faster networks and make it easier for operators to share infrastructure.
The government will put tough new legal duties on operators to minimise the visual impact of network equipment, particularly in protected areas such as national parks, conservation areas, world heritage sites and areas of outstanding natural beauty.
Digital Infrastructure Minister Julia Lopez said:
We’ve all felt the frustration of having the ‘no bar blues’ when struggling to get a phone signal, so we’re changing the law to wipe out mobile ‘not spots’ and dial up the roll out of next-generation 5G.
Phone users across the country will benefit – whether they are in a city, village or on the road – and tighter rules on the visual impact of new infrastructure will ensure our cherished countryside is protected.
5G offers download speeds up to 100 times that of 4G and is set to revolutionise our daily lives, industries and public services by powering game-changing technologies such as virtual and augmented reality services and autonomous cars.
The move will help deliver the government-led £1 billion Shared Rural Network being built to eliminate 4G mobile ‘not spots’ in the countryside and enable communities to enjoy the revolutionary benefits of 5G technologies sooner, including specialised robots and drones driving productivity in agricultural industries.
The plans will also bring better mobile coverage to road users by allowing building-based masts to be placed nearer to highways. Families and businesses will also benefit from faster 5G roll out by making it easier for operators to use buildings to host their kit.
Hamish MacLeod, Chief Executive of Mobile UK, said:
Building the mobile networks that provide the connectivity on which we all rely is both complex and challenging. The industry welcomes the reforms to planning regulations proposed by the Government. They will enable operators to deploy mobile networks more efficiently to meet ambitious targets for rural and urban coverage, including next-generation 5G.
In its response to an extensive consultation on the plans published today, the government confirmed it will make amendments to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015.
The changes to existing permitted development rights include:
- Existing mobile masts to be strengthened without prior approval, so they can be upgraded for 5G and shared between mobile operators. This would allow increases to the width of existing masts by up to either 50 per cent or two metres (whichever is greatest) and, in unprotected areas, allow increases in height up to a maximum of 25 metres (previously 20 metres). Greater increases will also be permitted subject to approval by the local authority;
- New masts to be built up to five metres higher – meaning a maximum of 30 metres in unprotected areas and 25 metres in protected areas, subject to approval by the planning authority;
- Buildings to host smaller masts (up to six metres in height above building) in unprotected areas without prior approval to accelerate network upgrades and reduce need to build new masts;
- Building-based masts to be set up nearer to public roads subject to prior approval to improve mobile coverage for road users;
- Cabinets containing radio equipment to be deployed alongside masts without prior approval and to allow greater flexibility for installing cabinets in existing compounds (fenced-off sites containing masts and other communications equipment) to support new 5G networks;
- Conditions to ensure telecoms equipment does not block pavements and access to properties.
Mobile operators will still need to obtain agreement from the landowner before building any new infrastructure. All new ground-based masts will also need to be approved by local authorities which will continue to have a say on where they are placed and their appearance.
Robust conditions and limits will also remain in place to make sure communities and stakeholders are properly consulted and the environment is protected. A new Code of Practice for Wireless Network Development in England has been published today to provide operators and councils with guidance to ensure that the impact of mobile infrastructure is minimised and that appropriate engagement takes place with local communities.
Housing Minister Stuart Andrew said:
Ensuring as many people as possible, wherever they live in the country, have access to fast, reliable mobile coverage and digital connectivity is crucial to our levelling up vision.
These changes to planning rules will help providers to give more people access to improved 4G and cutting edge 5G coverage, while also protecting our cherished natural landscape.
Women in Technology – help shape the future
First published in The Scotsman.
By Lara Moloney, Head of S5GConnect.
As we prepare to celebrate International Women’s Day this year, I am still glowing with pride having watched the Scottish women that came, curled and conquered at the recent Beijing Olympics. I also remember the 15,000 women who took to the streets of New York over a century ago demanding better working conditions, inaugurating this day to celebrate women. I agree we have come a long way, but I hope to be part of a future where barriers that prevent women from competing on a level playing field in the work environment are broken down, particularly in science and technology.
In my role as Head of S5GConnect at the Scotland 5G Centre I am committed to unleashing the entrepreneurial potential of innovative leaders. The Scottish Government’s recently launched National Strategy for Economic Transformation recognises the need for bold ideas to transform the economy. To truly enable digital transformation and deliver the outcomes desired for all, Scotland has to provide connectivity to drive accessibility and inclusivity.
I lead the Scotland 5GConnect programme, overseeing a network of innovation hubs and private 5G testbeds across Scotland that exist to provide opportunity and competitive advantage. For cross sector SMEs in urban and rural settings, we can open the door to the potential of 5G. I would like to encourage more female leaders explore the opportunities we can offer their business.
I am not from a technical background, I’ve had a portfolio career across the media, creative and smart city sectors I am now, working with cutting edge enabling technology. It just shows how there are many routes into a career in technology for women. I understand that female founders have to swim against the tide as they receive less investment in the UK marketplace, impacting on important R&D and innovation.
I would like women to see the tech industry as a viable option for career development. A 2021 Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport report stated 30% of jobs available in Edinburgh were in the tech sector – the highest of any UK city and Glasgow wasn’t far behind with 28% of tech vacancies. This is a huge opportunity for well paid and future forward careers.
Maybe women are put off from roles in tech as they don’t feel they have the understanding of “5G” or “digital solutions”. However, the S5GConnect programme is about helping businesses invest and the returns 5G could bring – it is about the outcomes. We should focus on technology as enabling people to connect and solve problems. This could attract more female talent into the sector. As an industry we can support this with flexible working and jobs shares to retain talent. We can also promote the value of transferable skills to overcome perceived barriers.
I joined The Skinny, which went on to become the leading arts and culture magazine in Scotland and third in the UK. I identified efficiencies, I contributed to website redesigns and created a bespoke internal CRM system to manage the advertising, customer database and invoicing. I didn’t think of it as digital or tech: it was about making the business successful. It’s not about sitting in front of a computer coding. It was about creating solutions.
Positive role models are an important element in driving women to the sector. We have a female Chair, Julie Snell, who champions the important role of women in the digital sector and also my mentor. It is important for women to champion women and highlight the people who inspire them. We need to continue building networks, fostering links and Scotland has a wide range of organisations promoting, supporting and championing women.
It’s time to harness the power of women, create female role models in the sector and prime the pump of future tech talent.
International Women’s Day – Celebrating the women of S5GC!
This International Women’s Day at The Scotland 5G Centre, we are celebrating the women of our team and our achievements.
Championing women in all aspects of life is key however its even more important to celebrate women in technology – a STEM subject area which typically attracts more males than females for a number of reasons.
According to the ONS Employment by Industry survey in 2021, only 31% of UK tech jobs are held by women while only 5% of leadership roles in the technology sector are held by women (PWC).
Technology is ranked as the third faster sector for job growth in the UK and also the third top sector in terms of job creation for women in 2021 – let’s continue this trend and support, champion and celebrate women in technology. Meet the women of The Scotland 5G Centre!
Jackie Steven, Finance & Business Operations Manager
Jackie has experience working within the education and third sectors with her previous roles including working with people who faced social and economic barriers and upskilling people in employability and IT.
Get to know Jackie:
- What’s the best thing about working at S5GC?
The team have all mostly been recruited within a few months of each other, so we all began this exciting journey together – having the same fresh focus and zest for what we are hoping to achieve.
- What’s your favourite piece of technology?
My google portal which was a lifeline during COVID and beyond as it’s a great way to spend time with family and friends.
Sharon Neely, Business Engagement Manager – HALO Kilmarnock
Sharon started her career in the financial sector at Barclays, leading teams across Ayrshire and Dumfries. Over the last 3 years, she’s been involved in rebuilding thriving economies projects, engaging with businesses and the community to address social and economic challenges.
Get to know Sharon:
- Why did you get into technology?
Digital Technology is at the forefront of our ever-evolving world and, for me, a career in tech gives me an opportunity to develop my own skillset and knowledge of what is available to help businesses grow, be more productive and sustainable.
2. What’s your favourite piece of technology?
It’s got to be my smart phone – my life is in my phone! I can manage my life on the go whether its banking, shopping, contactless payments or connecting with friends and family.
Kirsty Scott, Business Engagement Manager – Dundee
Kirsty bring a specialist range of knowledge from 14 years in Computer Games Development in Dundee with a background working in STEM skills as well as in-depth project management experience successfully delivering Tay Cities Deal pipeline projects.
Get to know Kirsty:
- Why did you get into technology?
I’m an artistic person but also have a strong business pragmatism which means I like elegant solutions to problem solving and I really fit in with the culture. Tech industries often attract creative types and I really enjoy working with a wide range of talented people who are very passionate about what they do.
2. What’s the best thing about working at S5GC?
The Scotland 5G Centre characteristically embodies change and it’s exciting to be part of that. It’s a small but tight knit team and everyone communicates really effectively and brings great energy.
Esther Francisco Ballesteros, Marketing & Communications Manager
Esther has over 12 years’ experience in international marketing with a number of leading companies including s1homes, Heineken and Avon. During her career to-date, Esther has developed and implemented marketing and communications strategies, led offline and online marketing activities and managed B2B and B2C multichannel campaigns.
Get to know Esther:
- Why did you get into technology?
The benefit of technology for rural areas and local communities in Scotland is endless and that’s something I can contribute to by working at the S5GC, by improving and helping to overcome the digital challenges that remote areas face.
- What’s the best thing about working at S5GC?
People are what make a difference in an organization, and the team here is extraordinary. Opinions and ideas are valued and we’re a little family. The location of the office in the heart of Glasgow is a plus too.
Siobhan Divers, Marketing & Communications Officer
Siobhan has 8 years’ experience within the marketing and communication sector, graduating with a BA (Hons) in History and Journalism Studies. Always keen to learn something new, Siobhan’s skillset spans from event planning, radio broadcasting and magazine journalism to social media management and political reporting.
Get to know Siobhan:
- Why did you get into technology?
I’m fascinated by trends in technology. As the industry is so fast-paced, everything is constantly evolving – from mobile devices and on-demand services to social media platforms.
- What’s your favourite piece of technology?
I enjoy taking photos so upgrades in mobile technology and in-built cameras are something I appreciate as well as photo-sharing social media platforms like Instagram.
Nicola Graham, Marketing & Events Officer
Nicola has over 8 years of experience working within higher education, most recently working in the Marketing Team in the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences at the University of Strathclyde. Nicola’s experience includes graphic design, customer relations and video editing.
Get to know Nicola:
- Why did you get into technology?
The tech industry is fast-growing and ever-changing. Being part the tech industry, allows for movement and growth in my career and professional development. I find myself learning something new every day.
- What’s your favourite piece of technology?
I love my smart TV – It’s a must in my household. It’s so easy to use apps like YouTube and operate it from your mobile. I also love my pet cam, to see what mischief my rabbit is getting up to. He loves to chew.
Sue Berry, Executive Assistant
Sue has over 15 years’ experience working for C Suite Executives in both the private and public sectors and Military Commanders in Jersey, London and Germany. Sue’s previous roles have included working with the British Forces to relocate 8,000 troops and their families back to the UK.
Get to know Sue:
- What’s the best thing about working at S5GC?
The global pandemic has forced a step change in so many areas, seeing first-hand how enhanced digital connectivity can transform sectors such as healthcare, education, manufacturing, farming has been hugely positive and to know that this is helping people on a daily basis is really rewarding.
- What’s your favourite piece of technology?
I love my Laptop – it allows me to work remotely, link into apps to run my house and keep in touch with family and friends via FaceTime.
Follow our social media channels (Twitter & LinkedIn) during this week to find out more about the women at the S5GC and sign up to our newsletter to be the first to know about our events, articles and job vacancies!
S5GC CEO Paul Coffey Comments on Scottish Government’s New National Strategy for Economic Transformation
Paul Coffey, Chief Executive, Scotland 5G Centre, comments on the Centre’s role to deliver the Scottish Government’s new National Strategy for Economic Transformation.
As an innovation centre, funded by the Scottish Government, to accelerate the adoption of 5G in Scotland, we have a key role in delivering this new economic plan.
We welcome the Scottish Government’s ambition for economic transformation, and it is vital that the Scotland 5G Centre is completely embedded in this strategy.
What is clear, is that in order to lead and deliver economic transformation and prosperity, the new strategy is heavily reliant on digital connectivity. New innovations and entrepreneurial ideas need the newest technology. Connectivity underpins the strategy’s aim to support every community in every region. It is also the foundation crucial to enable and support productivity gains of existing regional industries and enterprises.
As Scotland’s gateway for advanced connectivity, advancing Scotland’s wireless connectivity, including 5G is front and centre of the transformational plan. We are already bringing together entrepreneurs with a network of SMEs through to corporates, academia and government bodies. Our S5GConnect Programme is delivering a network of ‘hubs’ to enable businesses to understand how their business and sector can be more innovative, productive, and be digital leaders within their regions. We offer opportunities and benefits of 5G throughout cities, towns and remote rural locations.
The Scotland 5G Centre acts as an enabler and already work with partners, businesses, public sector, universities and communities in Scotland and the rest of the UK to capture the opportunities and benefits of 5G. What is clear is that this National Strategy not only recognises the importance of this collaboration to drive productivity, it also recognises the need to invest in quality infrastructure and connectivity to ensure the Strategy’s success.
As we are leading the 5G ecosystem in Scotland, we will be part of the team to improve connectivity infrastructure and digital adoption across the economy. As well as supporting the adoption and successful integration of advanced technologies. This will require continued investment to enhance the digital infrastructure. Research shows that investment will pay dividends. A recent report by WPI Economics, commissioned by Vodafone, looked at how 5G can boost productivity. Its findings demonstrated 5G could add over £150 billion to the UK economy by 2030. But to achieve this significant investment is required to roll out and maintain 5G networks, build more mobile sites and develop new 5G applications and technologies.
Our work across Scotland demonstrates that one size does not fit all. Regions have their own geography, business expertise and culture. We commend the Strategy’s commitment to reinforcing regional collaboration, with the emphasis on tailoring support based on regional strengths and opportunities.
Our first rural innovation hub in Dumfries collaborates with the South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) and the Crichton business and enterprise centre to support the regional economic strategy and support the region’s growth. The hub has a live test bed and offers expertise to the ecosystem of SMEs, businesses, academic and public sector partners in the South. The Centre supports local networks and businesses and identifies transformational interventions. We are currently working with agriculture to bring innovative changes that provide efficiencies and cost savings. In healthcare, digital solutions are offering huge benefits to patients and families and we will be launching this Spring our first Innovation Challenge focused in this sector.
Enabling business by providing critical infrastructure is key to any transformational strategy. We recognise that progress is being made with the R100 and Scottish 4G Infill, however we need to go a step further by supporting more fixed wireless access to premises, enable more businesses with 5G public and private networks and facilitating discussion on investing in neutral host infrastructure. The S5GC is best placed to help get infrastructure in place to help achieve the productivity aims in this strategy and put Scotland on a global platform.
Technology ignores geography and it is also part of the levelling up agenda and creating opportunities for all, wherever you live and work. Digital technology also has a clear role to play in achieving the green targets. The S5GC is the lynchpin to innovating, influencing and setting the pathway for the delivery of the National Strategy.
Lunch & Learn: Connected Manufacturing Event – 24th February
Competitiveness is everything to manufacturers and future gains in efficiency, profitability and sustainability will be achieved through digital transformation and the use of next-generation connectivity.
This week we held our first Lunch & Learn event – hosted by Tom Marchbanks, Business Engagement Manager for S5GConnect Forth Valley. Discussing 5G and its capabilities, with a specific focus on connected manufacturing, the speakers highlighted the transformative impact which advanced connectivity can have for businesses.
S5GConnect Forth Valley is set to open for business shortly, offering a range of services including exclusive access to an Ericsson private 5G network and the opportunity to develop and test 5G new applications and services. While available to businesses of all sectors and sizes, S5GConnect Forth Valley will specifically explore how 5G can support businesses in transport and logistics, industry and environmental monitoring and the manufacturing sector.
Peter Marshall, Global Strategic Marketing Director at Ericsson presented on the industry 4.0 transformation with private cellular technology, highlighting the quantum shift from 4G to 5G and the advanced capability and adaptability which 5G supports.
Using the findings of a recent Ericsson survey, Peter showcased the benefits of 5G to the manufacturing industry – 86% of those surveyed believe that smart factory initiatives will be necessary to drive competitiveness in the next 5 years as applications such as autonomous robots, real-time automation, augmented reality and digital twin and enhanced video services begin to take off.
Crispin Moller, 5G Project Lead Account Manager at UK5G showcased the latest 5G campaigns and projects across the UK in a number of sectors including health and social care, creative media, mobility and supply chain diversification. UK5G is an impartial innovation network that exists to accelerate the adoption of 5G across the UK, aiming to manage information about 5G activities and support learning of its capabilities. With an advisory board, 8 active working groups and 5000+ registered users, UK5G is supporting the development of a 5G ecosystem.
The virtual event hosted more than 50 attendees over the lunch-time session, with a Q&A at the end.
For those who weren’t able to attend or those who want to watch the event again, you can watch the event recording here.
Speaker’s slides are available here.
Wireless Innovation in Rural Communities: 5G, Mobile Services & Shared Spectrum Event – 22nd February 2022
Innovations in wireless technology will ensure that rural and remote communities are better connected. Not only will this bridge the digital divide, it will transform how people live, work, study and socialise in these areas.
The speakers at our co-hosted event with Ofcom on Wireless Innovation in Rural Communities set out the current and future demand for mobile connectivity and the benefits of 5G private networks.
The Scotland 5G Centre CEO Paul Coffey and Ofcom Scotland Director Glenn Preston opened the event highlighting the importance for businesses to understand how 5G and advanced technology can support their day-day activities as well as allow innovation and economic growth.
Brian Potterill, Ofcom Director of Mobile Network Strategy, Networks and Communication Group and Nina Percival, Principal Strategy Advisor on Spectrum presented on mobile strategy and spectrum demand highlighting the recently published discussion paper ‘Meeting Future Demand for Mobile Data.’ In recent years, the demand and consumption of mobile data has increased and this is expected to continue however it is not clear yet how fast this growth will be. This will depend on a number of factors including the introduction of new applications, Mobile Network Operator’s decisions on network investment and pricing and the other ways in which people consume data (for example over WiFi.) Brian and Nina also discussed how mobile networks will need to evolve to meet future demand which could include – upgrading to newer technologies, more extensive deployment of existing spectrum and densification (deploying new cells to provide more capacity).
Richard Moore, Ofcom Principal, General Policy, Spectrum and Nick Evans, Ofcom Senior Policy Advisor, Spectrum Group presented on enabling wireless innovation highlighting how 5G can support applications across sectors within the Manufacturing Industry introducing digital twin tracking and automation; the healthcare sector through VR and remote treatments; through traffic control and remote vehicles, and through drones and video analytics to innovate the agriculture sector. Richard and Nick also discussed how Ofcom will plan its Spectrum work based on Spectrum Management Strategy to secure the optimal use of radio spectrum considering how best to support wireless innovation, licencing to fit local and national services and promoting spectrum sharing.
Professor Robert Stewart, StrathSDR Lead at University of Strathclyde presented on Spectrum Sharing noting this as a revolution and a key enabler for the first wave of 5G private networks. The StrathSDR team have been involved in a number of 5G projects recently including 5G New Thinking, 5G Rural First and The Scotland 5G Centre’s early rural 5G testbed project – all of which looked at the provision of mobile connectivity and demonstrating the game-changing potential of 5G technologies. StrathSDR also worked on the 5G Rail Next programme demonstrating how 5G can support the marketing and creative industries through interactive media including augmented reality while their work within 5G remote production has included bringing live segments to a worldwide audience from a 5G handheld camera at the Monster Energy British Grand Prix, MotoGP.
Nanda Menon, CEO of Athonet UK gave the final presentation of the event on Scottish Private Cellular Networks. Nando highlighted some of Athonet’s current projects including the Moray East Offshore Wind Project which will generate around 40% of Scotland’s electricity, powering 950,000 UK homes. Nanda also highlighted some real-life use cases including increased connectivity on ships using ship-board systems to enable DAS and WiFi and how AR technology can improve safety in the workplace, especially during the pandemic in industrial locations where workers no longer have to be on site to operate machinery.
The virtual event gathered more than 130 attendees and raised the interest of the audience who actively asked questions and shared their opinions and comments in the chat.
For those who weren’t able to attend or those who want to watch the event again, you can watch the event recording here.
Access the speaker’s presentations here:
S5GConnect To Launch our Inaugural Innovation Challenge
The Scotland 5G Centre’s pioneering S5GConnect programme will be launching its first innovation challenge this Spring. The opportunity to test products in a UK first cutting-edge private 5G environment is available already at our Dumfries hub all year round, but our innovation challenge offers a suite of additional expertise and advice to drive rapid development of your product or service for compatibility within 5G environments.
The challenge programmes objective is to bring new products and services into the supply chain, or closer to market realisation to meet the needs presented by the healthcare community. The accelerator itself allows businesses to trial and validate their solution in a stand alone 5G environment and provides a fantastic opportunity to refine and maximise their product or service’s performance.
Launching in Spring 2022, the focus is on solutions that solve the challenges posed in the Healthcare sector within a rural economy. The UK, along with many other counties, is facing an ageing population – with over 65s accounting for 18.8% of the total UK population in 2021 and projected to be 25.2% by 2050.
The South of Scotland has a high proportion of over 65s living alone so supporting independent living is a key priority, as well as the requirement to address the long distances that GPs and other healthcare professionals have to travel to provide care in rural settings.
Supporting the Scottish Government on its digital ambitions and delivering true digital transformation for services must be underpinned by advanced connectivity so solutions can be deployed and reduce the pressure the strain faced by Healthcare organisations and professionals.
Who can apply and what do I receive if I win?
The competition will be open to SME’s across the UK and there will be three awards given in total. The whole package of support includes:
- A 12-15 week development program including virtual classes and on-site support
- Access to a cutting edge 5G testbed in Dumfries, located at The Crichton Campus.
- Full provision of 1.1 technical expertise to support your solutions technological development within a 5G environment provided by leading technical specialists.
- High level financial review of your product and the potential for growth in the 5G market to underpin a business case for further investment or development.
- Introduction / Interactions with users and potential customers following challenge completion.
- Ongoing access to S5GC business and technical support until March 2023 following completion of the challenge to further develop your product or service.
There is no financial remuneration awarded to the three winning companies. Eligibility criteria will be announced with the launch of the competition.
Why would this help my business?
Advanced connectivity is coming and 5G offers increased performance through a more reliable, secure and much faster service. 5G also has the capability to be deployed to rural and dispersed locations through new working models that addresses some of the connectivity challenges that many rural areas still face. As 5G, a technology built for industry, is better understood and increasingly rolled out this presents an incredible opportunity for businesses. Whether you have a product that works well in 4G but could be enhanced to increase the capability or output under 5G connectivity, or if you can solve a challenge or have a solution that a 5G environment can activate then this competition is for you.
You will get direct advice and support to understand the full potential of 5G and advanced connectivity, where the market is moving in the future and how your company’s product or service can take advantage of this. Combined with the opportunity to access the testbed for the full duration of the competition (12 – 15 weeks), you will be able to innovate and be guided by experts in this cutting-edge field providing a huge competitive advantage for future growth.
Sounds Interesting – How do I find out more?
Sign up to the Scotland 5G Centre newsletter at http://ow.ly/i4tH50He9u1.
Or send an email direct to firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow us at:
LinkedIn: The Scotland 5G Centre
More information will be getting announced in Spring 2022.
The Scotland 5G Centre was set up in October 2019 as the national centre for accelerating the deployment and adoption of 5G and realising its economic and societal potential for Scotland.
The Centre enables all types of businesses to reap the benefits of this new technology. It is an innovative partnership between the University of Strathclyde (which hosts the Centre), the University of Glasgow and the Scottish Futures Trust, with investment from the Scottish Government.
It works to bring together academia, industry and government bodies to increase the adoption of 5G services; accelerate the rollout of 5G infrastructure; and to leverage advances in mobile technology to address the challenges facing rural communities in Scotland
The Centre’s S5GConnect programme is making the potential of 5G a reality through the rollout of 5G innovation hubs in urban and rural locations across Scotland.
With 3 hubs currently in place, and more to follow, each hub is tailored for its own region, with a focus on supporting key local sectors, communities, businesses and other organisations to adopt 5G. The hubs provide opportunities for collaboration and increase awareness about 5G and its capabilities.
Street Furniture Pathfinder Project Secures Funding to Improve Scotland’s Digital Coverage
SFT’s pilot only Scottish project of eight to share £4m to simplify local authority processes to speed up 4G and 5G deployment
A pilot project across Tayside, which is aimed at greatly enhancing Scotland’s mobile digital connectivity by using street furniture, has been awarded £500,000 funding from UK government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.
The pathfinder aims to create a database of public sector owned assets, such as land, buildings, streetlights and CCTV, across a specified area of Scotland that would be suitable for mobile phone operators to install mobile network transmitters.
This newly-funded project follows on from the work of the Infralink programme, funded by the Scotland 5G Centre and delivered by infrastructure body the Scottish Futures Trust. Infralink is aimed at streamlining and speeding up the process of installing digital communications equipment on public sector buildings and land they own.
The pathfinder project, Infralink-Exchange, will build on from this work to promote the installation of mobile transmitters, including small cells, across the Tay Cities region (Angus Council, Dundee City Council, Fife Council and Perth and Kinross Council). When fully operational it will attract the mobile industry to work with these local authorities and invest in improved mobile coverage in communities across the region.
Sarah Eynon, associate director at the Scottish Futures Trust and Infralink project director, said: “Being granted access to a robust database of public sector assets on which to install small network transmitters is a constant ask of mobile network operators seeking to improving mobile coverage.
“With the public sector having one of the biggest property portfolios, we are using our public sector infrastructure expertise to help pull together this data that includes a wide variety of assets including street furniture such as lampposts and CCTV locations.
“Over the coming months we’ll collect data on public sector owned assets that are relevant to mobile phone operators’ site assessment processes. This information will be hosted on a dedicated website and be used to promote the assets and the terms they can leased on. By providing a single point of entry, standardised commercial tools and a digitised lease management tool, there will be smoother interactions between the local authorities and industry during contract negotiation.
“While we’re using Tay Cities as the test site, key to success is being able to replicate the process of collecting data at scale, as well as ensuring the data is maintained and updated with minimal impact on local authority resource.”
Economy Secretary Kate Forbes said: “Infralink is a project initiated by the Scottish Government and hosted by an organisation which we set up with £4 million funding – our Scotland 5G Centre.
“This latest funding award allows Infralink to accelerate its ground-breaking work and will deliver some of the aims of our 5G Strategy, including promoting better digital connectivity across the country.
“Infralink’s focus on reducing time and cost to the public sector and industry in reaching agreement on sites, their management and the increased speed of deployment will ultimately lead to better connectivity – everything from 4G to 5G and outdoor Wi-Fi.”
Angus Council Leader and Chair of the of Tay Cities Region Deal Board, Councillor Fairweather, said: “Tay Cities are delighted to be part of the Infralink-Exchange project that will improve digital connectivity throughout the region by working collaboratively with partners across the public, private and third sectors. Mobile connectivity offers countless benefits to individuals, communities and businesses and has become an integral part of our daily lives.
“This pilot project is an excellent opportunity to look at how engagement between forward thinking local authorities and the mobile industry can be improved using relevant data to ensure that mobile infrastructure deployment can be delivered as effectively and quickly as possible.”
Twenty-five women moving the needle in Scotland’s digital technologies sector
With help from industry experts, FutureScot has profiled 25 women changing the face of Scotland’s digital industry, including The Scotland 5G Centre Chair Julie Snell, S5GC Board Member & Associate Director in the Infrastructure Team at Scottish Futures Trust Sarah Eynon and Chair of our Strategic Advisory Group & Digital Technologies Sector Skills Manager at Skills Development Scotland, Claire Gillespie.
Read the article for the full list here: https://futurescot.com/defying-the-odds/
Festive movie favourites in less than a minute – full fibre reaches over a quarter of Scottish homes
Ofcom has today published the Connected Nations Scotland report for 2021, which provides the latest picture of fixed broadband and mobile coverage across Scotland and the UK.
This year’s report finds that:
- Full-fibre broadband is now available to 717,000 (27%) Scottish homes – an increase of 280,000 premises since last year and the highest year-on-year increase seen on full-fibre coverage so far. Just over half of Scottish homes can access gigabit-capable broadband (the second highest of the UK nations) as rollout accelerates.
- Superfast broadband coverage availability remains stable at 94% of homes in Scotland, and over two-thirds of homes that have access to superfast broadband have taken up a superfast service. However, many others are yet to take advantage of even faster services, with less than a quarter (22%) of homes upgrading to faster, more reliable full-fibre services.
- We remain concerned about a small – but significant – subset of premises (around 30,000) that still cannot access decent broadband and there is still work to do to connect the hardest to reach homes.
- 4G continues to underpin mobile experience in Scotland; 82% of Scotland’s landmass has access to good 4G coverage from at least one of the four mobile operators while only 45% has coverage from all four. 96% of rural premises are predicted to receive a good service from at least one operator. Mobile operators have continued to deploy 5G networks across the UK, with 8% of the c6,500 sites being in Scotland.
Ofcom’s annual Connected Nations Scotland report on the availability of broadband and mobile services across Scotland and the UK, reveals that the rollout of future-proof, full-fibre technology is accelerating at its fastest ever rate. Full-fibre broadband is now available to 717,000 (27%) of homes in Scotland – an increase of 280,000 premises in the last year – and the highest year-on-year increase seen on full-fibre coverage so far.
By September 2021, Gigabit-capable broadband was available to over half of Scottish homes (1.3 million), and we expect this will quickly increase further since Virgin Media O2 completed the upgrade of its cable network in Scotland. As well as delivering faster speeds, these services are more reliable than older broadband technologies. Commercial build-out of full-fibre networks has continued apace with Openreach, Virgin Media and CityFibre rapidly expanding their Scottish networks.
Superfast broadband coverage availability remains stable at 94% of homes in Scotland, and over two-thirds of homes that have access to superfast broadband have now taken up a superfast service. However, many others are yet to take advantage of even faster services, with less than a quarter (22%) of homes upgrading to faster, more reliable full-fibre services where available.
Why would I need full fibre?
Full-fibre connections – along with upgraded cable networks – can deliver download speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s. At this speed, families with full-fibre services could download Christmas film favourite Elf in High-Definition in less than a minute, compared with around 25 minutes for those with superfast broadband (30 Mbit/s).
Full fibre can better support data-hungry households where family members need to stream, work, game, video-call and study online at the same time. And in a year when many people continue to work from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, average monthly data use grew to 446 GB per connection – up from 327 GB per connection in 2019.
Connecting the hardest to reach households
Around 30,000 Scottish homes (1.1%) still do not have access to a ‘decent’ broadband connection – defined as offering download speeds of 10 Mbit/s and upload speeds of 1 Mbit/s. At this speed, it could take up to an hour and a half to download an HD film.
The UK and Scottish Governments continue to deliver projects aimed at making sure people in the hardest-to-reach areas can get the connections they need.
Read the report here.
The Scotland 5G Centre: 2021 Key Highlights
As 2021 comes to an end, The Scotland 5G Centre (S5GC) reflects on another rewarding year.
2021 is nearly over and what a year it has been. Looking back at our achievements over the past year, we can end the year on a high with all the milestones we have successfully reached.
The Coronavirus pandemic and the economic impact this has had, has presented many challenges for all of us as a nation however the progress we’ve made as a team and as a Centre has been outstanding as we consolidate partnerships, develop collaborative projects and help businesses and communities realise the economic and societal potential of 5G for Scotland.
At the beginning of 2021, S5GC recruited experts from industry, academia and the public sector to form a Strategic Advisory Board, aiming to accentuate Scotland’s position as a leading 5G nation.
Chaired by Claire Gillespie, Digital Technologies Sector Skills Manager at Skills Development Scotland, the group uses its collective experiences to put Scotland firmly on the global 5G map – something which S5GC has been celebrated for.
The Centre successfully bid for the UK Government’s Future Radio Access Network Competition, as part of 5G DU-Volution Consortium to support the “Future Radio Access Network: Diversifying the 5G Supply Chain” programme. S5GC was also nominated as a finalist in the Multiparty Collaboration category at the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards – a great achievement as the organisation received a record number of applications over its 8 categories.
Over the course of 2021, the Centre has continued to build the S5GConnect hub network, announcing two additional S5GConnect hubs in Dumfries and Dundee, following the announcement of the S5GConnect Forth Valley hub in the latter half of 2020.
S5GConnect Dundee, based in the vibrant and dynamic city centre, works with regional businesses and organisations specialising in the technology and entertainment sector to demonstrate how the gaming technology can be applied to other industries within a 5G context, whilst S5GConnect Dumfries, the Centre’s first rural hub, brings together technological expertise, academic research and local businesses to accelerate the potential of 5G in transforming communities and economies throughout the south of Scotland focusing on agritech and remote healthcare sectors.
With the announcement of each hub and the expansion of the S5GConnect programme, the Centre has created a series of videos highlighting the opportunities and services provided by each hub to local businesses and the wider community.
Over the summer, the Centre celebrated the S5GConnect programme further with the S5GConnect Awareness events – a series of 4 events with keynote addresses from Kate Forbes MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance & the Economy, Sarah Eynon, Associate Director in the Digital Infrastructure Team at Scottish Futures Trust, Martyn Wallace, Chief Digital Officer for the Scottish Local Government Digital Office, Jane Morrison-Ross, Chief Executive Officer of South of Scotland Enterprise and Robin Presswood, Executive Director of City Development of Dundee City Council.
The events covered a range of topics including, the benefits of 5G and how 5G will benefit rural and urban areas.
After the summer, the Scotland 5G Centre team were finally able to meet up in person; work in our physical office space in the University of Strathclyde’s Technology and Innovation Centre and begin to attend some in-person events including participating in a number of COP-26 events.
The S5GC team attended a Scottish Government-led Digital and Climate Change Roundtable; Holyrood’s ‘How 5G can Help Tackle the Climate Emergency’ event and the University of Glasgow’s Sustainable Solutions Showcase.
Our rural hub S5GConnect Dumfries was officially opened for business in October, when the 5G testbed went live, ready to support 5G use cases on a dedicated private network. At our in-person launch event, representatives from local authorities and companies linked to the South of Scotland, including the Crichton Trust, Qubiti, University of Glasgow and Scotland Rural College came along to find out more about the 5G testbed and the connectivity opportunities that it can offer to the area.
The team also attended, exhibited at and hosted a masterclass and leadership stream session on the potential of 5G in Scotland at FutureScot’s Digital Scotland 2021 event and CEO Paul Coffey and Chair Julie Snell spoke on ‘The role of wireless technologies in delivering a gigabit-capable UK’ & ‘Delivering the right technology mix for the countryside’ panels during the Connected Britain 2021 event.
Throughout the year, S5GC has continued to expand and grow, confirming 8 new appointments to the team.
Ian Sharp joined the team as the Head of Business Development, aiming to increase the Centre’s profile and visibility in Scotland, the UK and internationally; Lara Moloney has been appointed as the Head of the S5GConnect Programme, overseeing the growth and development of the hubs; and Jackie Stevens joined the team as Finance and Business Operations Manager.
Also joining the core Centre team, Esther Francisco was appointed as Marketing and Communications Manager, responsible for developing and implementing the marketing strategy for the Centre; and Siobhan Divers and Nicola Graham joined as Marketing Assistants.
The Centre also appointed two Business Engagement Managers to the S5GConnect hubs at Dumfries and Forth Valley.
Andrew Todman heads up S5GConnect Dumfries, based at the Crichton Campus and Thomas Marchbanks heads up S5GConnect Forth Valley based at Forth Valley College’s Alloa Campus. Andy and Tom work with businesses in their local areas to encourage them to access the skills and facilities available at the Centre’s innovation hubs.
This year, our growing team have also celebrated a number of key milestones including the 2-year anniversary of the Centre, the 1-year anniversary of the S5GConnect Programme and CEO Paul Coffey’s 1-year anniversary with the centre.
During the past 12 months, as we have grown, we have massively increased the presence and profile of The Scotland 5G Centre across the UK and internationally.
Representatives from the S5GC team have attended over 40 events this year, S5GC hosting 7 events both to virtual and physical audiences; and we have published 45 articles to our site including opinion pieces from CEO Paul Coffey on how digital connectivity can empower people to restore the planet; how 5G is the key to opening a clever countryside and the part 5G technology will play in revolutionising Scotland.
The projects funded by the Centre – the rural and smart campus testbeds led by the University of Strathclyde and the University of Glasgow respectively have also had a productive year.
The smart campus urban project, managed by our partners at the University of Glasgow, is showing a £10.9M return on investment made by the Centre, with the University’s Communication, Sensing and Imaging group developing a pioneering robot arm which can be used remotely allowing for an immersive learning experience for students across the globe and providing a blueprint to develop new commercial opportunities.
This tele-operational, 5G robotic arm uses a haptic feedback controller that allows you to feel senses of touch, motion and pressure and the setup is also being adapted for other commercial applications where extended reality can be applied – all in real time.
Our partners at the University of Strathclyde’s StrathSDR team, this year, engineered and trialled a world first stand-alone private network for sports broadcasting using shared spectrum in the 3.8 to 4.2 GHz, bringing live segments to a worldwide audience from a 5G handheld camera at the Monster Energy British Grand Prix, MotoGP at the iconic Silverstone circuit.
A 5G testbed has been installed in Orkney, to test how connectivity can work in a remote and rural environment. Already showing a £2.5M return on the investment we initially contributed with, the project is finding ways of using shared spectrum to deploy 5G to support energy management, fishing, tourism as well as next generation communications to residents to sustain and support rural communities.
Overall, 2021 has been a successful year, and we look forward to the opportunities that 2022 will bring!
The Scotland 5G Centre Wins Bid for Future RAN: Diversifying the 5G Supply Chain Funding
As part of a UK consortium, the Scotland 5G Centre (S5GC) has successfully bid for the UK Government’s Future Radio Access Network Competition, awarded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.
The Scotland 5G Centre, as part of 5G DU-Volution consortium, has been successful in applying for funding to support the UK Government’s “Future Radio Access Network: Diversifying the 5G Supply Chain” (FRANC) programme.
The 5G DU-Volution project will address the key aims of the FRANC programme by promoting the integration of RAN suppliers’ products at all levels of the architecture, (both software and hardware), into one of the most challenging RAN components – the Distribution Unit (DU).
Working with lead-partner ADVA, and other consortia members: BT, AccelerComm, ComAgility and the University of York, the 2-year programme will support the development of a new innovative Open RAN enabled Distribution Unit. The aim is to open up the means for UK-based vendors to access the market through deploying their hardware in the DU unit. Importantly, the 5G DU-Volution project will evolve DU devices to meet key industry requirements such as: reduced power, smaller form factors, improved spectrum efficiency and reduced latency.
The Scotland 5G Centre’s role in the partnership is to provide the overall project management and promote dissemination, ensuring the smooth running and delivery of the programme. The Centre will work together with the consortia to deliver the innovative new DU and support the O-RAN opportunity, which in time will enable the entry of new players into the market.
Partners AccelerComm, ADVA and CommAgility will work together to deliver the required DU evolution, performance and environmental benefits while the University of York will define DU requirements for future use of O-RAN beyond 5G.
Paul Coffey, The Scotland 5G Centre CEO said: “This is a great opportunity for collaboration – we are delighted to have been awarded this funding, alongside our partners in the 5G DU-Volution consortium.”
“Through this project, the collaborators will accelerate the understanding of interworking between components, enabling innovation through the selection of component vendors to meet specific market requirements.”
The DCMS competition was set up to allocate up to £36 million of R&D funding to projects that support the goals of the government’s 5G Supply Chain Diversification Strategy and unlock the full potential of Open RAN.
The full list of winners can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/future-ran-diversifying-the-5g-supply-chain-competition-winners
Scotland can be a beacon showcasing the transformational benefits of digital connectivity
By Paul Coffey, CEO, Scotland 5G Centre
First published by FutureScot.
The rollout of 5G in Scotland is delivering on its promise to create social, economic and environmental benefits. The investment in the technology is now paying impressive dividends and attracting interest in collaborations to accelerate its adoption throughout cities, towns, and Scotland’s vast rural landscape.
Meanwhile new jobs and opportunities are being created across the country as businesses use digital technology to explore innovative products and processes to increase efficiency and competitiveness on a global stage.
At the centre of this technological revolution is the Scotland 5G Centre. We are a national industry body, established to promote 5G and data driven innovation across the “golden triangle” of industry, academia, and government bodies.
We work collaboratively and interactively with partners to capture opportunities and accelerate 5G data-driven innovation for operations of SMEs and across wider industry sectors.
Collaborations on early research and development projects with the universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde have already created an impressive list of innovations.
Our work with academics at the University of Glasgow’s urban 5G testbed brings smart technology into the daily lives of students, staff, and business partners.
A super-immersive robotic arm responding to touch, motion and pressure has been developed further to respond to gaze. Imagine a society where physical disability is negated as you could use gaze alone to manage systems remotely.
Demonstrations of this holo- graphic telepresence and remote operation of industrial equipment at the recent Cop26 showed how these innovations, supported by 5G, can help raise productivity, minimise travel, and consequently contribute to lower carbon emissions.
So far, an investment of £1.6 million in the work at the University of Glasgow is delivering returns of £10.9m to date in further research, together with creating new businesses and jobs.
Rural Scotland accounts for 98 per cent of the land mass of Scotland with 20 per cent of the population living there.
This has traditionally made investment and infrastructure decisions difficult to justify, so we are working with the Strathclyde University and Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) project “5G New Thinking” on a rural testbed to develop new operational models, such as neutral hosting and private 5G networks, to make rural connectivity more commercially viable and sustainable.
Working in Orkney, the project is finding ways of using shared spectrum to deploy 5G to support energy management, fishing, tourism as well as next generation communications to residents to sustain and support rural communities and play a key part in the levelling up agenda.
Living and working in a rural and remote location is no longer a barrier to progression. 5G technology is putting Scotland firmly on the map as an innovator and attractive to UK and international inward investment.
The Scotland 5G Centre is not only supporting new opportunities within Scotland. It is using
its expertise to develop a shared spectrum ecosystem in developing countries such as Nigeria.
Allowing a rural country with zero or poor connectivity the opportunity to have effective, cost-efficient connectivity will help to educate its children and support business opportunities.
The Scotland 5G Centre is contributing to the Scottish Government’s digital and net zero ambitions through these projects and the regional network of support through our S5GConnect Programme.
We are working with Scotland’s enterprise agencies and other innovation centres to demonstrate how 5G supports the wider digital ambition and strategy throughout Scotland.
Our geographically spread Connect hubs are important business enablers, supporting compelling use cases with private 5G testbeds and technical support.
We have engaged with over 400 businesses in the last quarter alone as the programme has allowed us to shift up a gear to accelerate the adoption of 5G.
We are leading the delivery of major opportunities involving advanced connectivity and empowering Scotland’s regions and businesses to innovate and thrive on a national and global stage.
Enabling these transformational technological advances will create a fairer and more prosperous society for all.
Infralink working with ‘Tay Cities’ to encourage investment in mobile infrastructure
- Four local authorities in Tay Cities Region Deal to adopt new ways of working with the mobile sector to deliver a smarter and fairer region.
- New working with Infralink will encourage investment in mobile infrastructure across the region.
- Rural and urban communities across the region benefit from engagement with mobile operators.
The four Tay Cities local authorities are working with Infralink, a national programme established by infrastructure experts, the Scottish Futures Trust, to improve engagement with mobile network operators and promote the rollout of digital connectivity. The new working relationship is being part funded by The Scotland 5G Centre.
The Tay Cities local authorities, namely Angus, Dundee, Fife and Perth & Kinross, are working with Infralink to encourage investment by network operators to support the next generation of communication needs. The Tay Cities Deal region is well placed to take this initiative forward with its varied urban and rural geographies, significant commercial activity and interest, and public sector initiatives such as Shared Rural Network. This work will form a ‘blueprint’ for how other local authorities and regions can be supported to improve mobile connectivity in their area.
Infralink has built on the work of Glasgow City Council who established the Telecoms Unit last year. The work of Glasgow City Council has resulted in increased deployment of new infrastructure, including major new fibre rollouts and small cell agreements, across Glasgow. Standard leases and payment guidance for use across geographies in Scotland were published by Infralink in March 2021 on their website to provide landlords with a balanced starting point for discussions.
To kickstart the commitment in the Tay Cities Deal region, Infralink will facilitate regular meetings between the local authorities and industry. The aim is to build a working relationship and enable the Tay Cities to achieve their collective goals of optimising conditions for digital infrastructure deployment. The new working relationship will result in a more strategic coordination of supportive council policies and processes to grow digital connectivity.
Sarah Eynon, Infralink programme lead and Associate Director at Scottish Futures Trust said: “Working with the Tay Cities local authorities will allow us to demonstrate the benefits of the Infralink approach at a regional level. Infralink will work with Tay Cities and their representatives to ensure the policies, processes and documents are in places to make efficient strategic, proactive decisions that will shape the connectivity of the region. We will be encouraging the mobile industry to work with the Tay Cities authorities as an exemplar region in the UK.”
Councillor John Alexander Chair of the Tay Cities Region Deal Joint Committee, said: “We are delighted to be working with Infralink as they begin engagement with mobile operators to encourage investment and promote the ongoing rollout of cutting-edge digital connectivity across the Tay Cities region. This commitment will allow us to achieve our collective goals of creating a smarter, fairer region and will benefit urban and rural communities alike.”
Paul Coffey, CEO of The Scotland 5G Centre, added: “At the moment, there is a disconnect between network operators and landowners and bringing these two groups together is an important step in creating our next generation of communications networks. I’m delighted that these four local authorities are making the commitment to increasing mobile infrastructure and collaborating through the Infralink programme to help drive mobile connectivity and aid the development of 5G in Scotland.”
Digital Scotland 2021
Last week, The Scotland 5G Centre team attended, exhibited and hosted a masterclass and leadership stream session at FutureScot’s Digital Scotland 2021 event.
An annual event for technology professionals, Digital Scotland is Scotland’s largest public sector IT conference which, this year, welcomed over 700 delegates to the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) having held the conference virtually in 2020.
Representing all aspects of the digital economy, delegates heard from experts on data and artificial intelligence (AI), cloud and data management, cybersecurity, digital transformation, innovation, connectivity and smart public networks throughout the day at the event’s ten masterclasses and seven leadership sessions.
Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Kate Forbes MSP gave the keynote highlighting the importance of building Scotland’s strong digital foundations and securing a technology-led economic recovery, referencing The Scotland 5G Centre, the S5GConnect programme and our regionally-relevant hubs stationed across the country.
Scotland 5G Centre CEO, Paul Coffey hosted a Masterclass on ‘Transforming Scotland’s Digital Future Through 5G’, along-side Professor Muhammad Imran, Head of the University of Glasgow’s Communication, Sensing and Imaging (CSI) group and Professor Bob Stewart who leads StrathSDR, a 5G Software-Defined-Radio team at the University of Strathclyde.
Paul also participated in the ‘Innovation’ leadership Stream, on combining academic expertise with powerhouse industry investment, and how data partnerships are the key to tech sector progress.
Throughout the day, the S5GC team and the University of Glasgow’s Communication, Sensing and Imaging group exhibited in the main hall, showcasing the latest 5G innovations and the Centre’s achievements over the last 12 months.
Shared spectrum & SDR-based private network solutions event and live demonstrations
Scotland faces unique challenges in providing ubiquitous connectivity, particularly in areas where return on investment is not clearly defined and infrastructure deployment decisions have traditionally proven difficult to justify. However, 5G presents an opportunity to do things differently and to adopt new ideas and new ways of deployment and operation, making it more than simply an extension of previous mobile technologies. By looking at new operational models, such as neutral hosting and private networks, there is an opportunity to make connectivity more commercially viable and sustainable.
With significant amounts of the UK’s allocated spectrum for mobile and wireless networks available under shared access mechanisms (local, shared and TVWS licensing), there is significant and growing potential for private networks to enable improved connectivity. Spectrum sharing is therefore at the cusp of real growth enabled by new, versatile software defined radio technology.
On the 28th of October, StrathSDR and the Scotland 5G Centre (S5GC) hosted a day of presentations and live outdoor demonstrations featuring shared spectrum and SDR-based private network solutions as part of the project with S5GC developing testbed facilities at the University of Strathclyde Ross Priory estate on Loch Lomond.
These sessions covered a range of topics across the developing 5G landscape. The StrathSDR team, and various partners, provided details on the various research projects and private network demonstrator deployments.
The agenda included presentations on:
- Scotland 5G Centre Rural Testbed – Creation of a rural ‘field lab’ to allow for demonstration, test, and evaluation of new 5G technologies.
- 5G New Thinking – A 18 partner project, and evolution of the 5G RuralFirst project, exploring the viability of community-led deployments of mobile networks.
- 5G Remote Production – An exploration of the role of private networks for live Sports broadcasting and event coverage.
- 5G RailNext – A demonstrator of interactive media delivery over private 5G networks in the Glasgow Underground.
- Private Networks for Energy – Looking at the role of NB-IoT in developing the green economy by enabling energy management systems.
- Private Networks for Manufacturing – Enabling “Industry 4.0” private networks in collaboration with the National Manufacturing Institute of Scotland.
- International shared and private spectrum networks partnerships – Discussion from the Dynamic Spectrum Alliance, as well as an overview of shared spectrum activities in Kenya, Malawi, and Nigeria.
Professor Bob Stewart opened the proceedings, welcoming guests on the live broadcast and also in-person to the Ross Priory building. As the head of the StrathSDR team, Professor Stewart also delivered an introduction to the research group and the history of engagement in dynamic and shared spectrum projects.
The first presentation of the day came from CEO of the Scotland 5G Centre, Paul Coffey, who provided an overview of the centre’s activities, the future role of 5G in society, and the new research hubs being established across Scotland.
With Shared Spectrum as one of the main themes for the event, we were pleased to welcome Martin Fenton, Director of Spectrum Policy at Ofcom, to discuss the regulator perspective of the shared and local access licencing scheme. These shared spectrum policies are critical in enabling the various projects and research activities taking place across Scotland.
We were then joined remotely by Stephen Speirs from Cisco to discuss their ongoing collaboration projects with StrathSDR. This included 5G New Thinking, 5G RailNext, and also a discussion of how the new private Cisco Cloud Core installation on the University’s city centre campus will underpin 5G research across Scotland.
This was followed by a joint presentation from Dr David Crawford of StrathSDR, in-person at Ross Priory, and Greg Whitton from Cloudnet, remotely from Orkney and the main 5G New Thinking testbed. Deployment of rural networks is never a straightforward process, and this presentation highlights both the technical and logistical challenges of working in such a remote location.
Joining us from Virginia in the United States, Dr James (Jody) Neel, Senior Technologist at Federated Wireless, was next to discuss their engagement with the shared and local access licence program as part of the 5G New Thinking consortium. With significant experience in shared spectrum, through their involvement in the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) in the US, Federated Wireless has a unique perspective on the benefits and challenges of practical, private network, shared spectrum deployment. Their presentation previewed a tool being developed under the 5GNT program to simplify the SAL application process and how this could facilitate the evolution to full DSA in the Shared Access Licence bands.
S5GC & COP-26 – 3D Video-conferencing demos, remote-controlled robotics & AI
Last week The Scotland 5G Centre team, along-side Holoxica and the University of Glasgow’s Communication, Sensing and Imaging group tested out some new and immersive 5G-enabled technology.
Showcased at the Sustainable Solutions event held at the University of Glasgow on Tuesday 9th November, we experimented using the University’s pioneering robotic arm. This tele-operational, 5G robotic arm uses a haptic feedback controller that allows you to feel senses of touch, motion and pressure. Set up to enable remote work in real time, regardless of the user’s location, the robotic arm could potentially be used across the manufacturing, healthcare and education sectors with further use in driving lessons and testing being researched.
Students, researchers, lecturers and COP-26 delegates attended the exhibit, trialling out the equipment and imagining how the tech could be used in their industries and workplaces.
Enabling partners to test and develop ideas and use cases is how the Scotland 5G Centre is accelerating the adoption of digital technology in Scotland. Paul Coffey, Chief Executive of The Scotland 5G Centre, explains:
“The test bed built at the University of Glasgow is creating a major step change in ideas and adoption of 5G technology. The ability for students to be able to take part in complex work from another country is exciting and beneficial for the learner and the academic partner. Giving remote access to world leading facilities to a larger number of people worldwide is hugely beneficial.
“We are able to create multiple use cases which generates an ecosystem for 5G and leads to further applications across manufacturing, healthcare and education sectors. The market for remote solutions in the robotic market alone is predicted to be worth 16.8 million dollars by 2023, the potential for use of 5G across sectors is of enormous economic benefit.”
On Thursday 11th November, as part of COP26, Holoxica and the CSI group at the University of Glasgow, hosted a 5G to 5G holographic 3D video conferencing demonstration from our S5GConnect Dumfries hub, based on the Crichton Campus in Dumfries to the 5G testbed at the University of Glasgow.
Perfect for a wide variety of use cases, the holographic equipment can be used for meetings that would ordinarily require travel and in the healthcare industry in 3D Telemedicine.
The experience included 2-way 3D Videoconferencing between Dumfries and Glasgow, using Microsoft Azure Kinect 3D depth cameras, the quick, low latency 5G network from S5G Connect Dumfries and the University of Glasgow’s 5G testbed with the help of Nokia, and 3D Looking Glass Light Field displays, all running via Holoxica’s 3D Telepresence system.
Also on the 3D call, was ‘Peppa’ the University of Glasgow’s AI robot, which is being programmed for use in the tourism industry – Peppa allows for tour guides and operators to work remotely using the AI robot to guide visitors.
Dr Muhammad Ali Imran, Professor of Communications Systems – Head of the Communication, Sensing and Imaging group at the James Watt School of Engineering said: “5G is a key technology to enable more realistic virtual tele-presence that can move us away from conventional two-dimensional screens replacing it with “holograms”. This will be a more convincing alternative to physical travel to allow people to interact and engage at distance while significantly reducing their carbon footprint by avoiding long-haul travel.”
Dumfries and Galloway Gets First Live 5G Network and is Open for Business
- The Scotland 5G Centre has switched on its first live 5G network at its Innovation Hub in Dumfries.
- Local businesses, services and industry are invited to view 5G in action with demonstrations for farming, remote healthcare and tourism currently available.
- The Innovation Hub in Dumfries is open to support the adoption of new digital technology and bring lasting benefits to the South of Scotland.
The Scotland 5G Centre switched on its first live 5G network in Dumfries to serve the South of Scotland at a special event recently. Guests from healthcare, education, rural industries, business organisations and partners experienced the technology in action. The event included demonstrations of how 5G can be used for farming, remote healthcare, and tourism.
The Innovation Hub is now open for appointments and is currently offering demonstrations of 5G capability. The aim is to attract local businesses and services to adopt the latest digital connectivity and test their own ideas, products and services within the private 5G network.
Part of the S5G Connect programme, the Innovation hub is located at the heart of the Crichton Campus in new digitally enabled centre for learning on the campus. It is led by Business Engagement Manager, Andy Todman, who is tasked with building partnerships and collaborations to accelerate the adoption of 5G in the area. The hub offers extensive business and innovation services at no initial cost to the user.
Current applications on display include communication through large format holograms. This technology enables you to feel physically present with another person in a different location. This ‘holoportation’ will demonstrate the opportunities for remote healthcare through a live, immersive, and interactive conversation with a clinician in London. It showcases the next level of telepresence for healthcare, business meetings and education across borders.
‘5G in a box’ will demonstrate a solution for rural areas with poor coverage. The application provides true end-to-end and standalone 5G network. Visitors will appreciate an instant 5G quality service.
A further application takes tourism up a gear by using augmented reality. This ‘smart tourism’ application will allow visitors to be transported to Cambridge to admire King’s College Cathedral ceiling mural. A mixed reality experience of a life-size Stonehenge will provide another immersive and engaging experience.
Andy Todman, Business Engagement Manager, at the innovation hub in Dumfries is keen to raise awareness of the service across the region. He says:
“We are part of the S5GConnect programme providing sector specific support. In this area we are tasked with supporting rural innovation. The choice to kick-start its testbed programme in Dumfries demonstrates the Scotland 5G Centre’s commitment to introduce new ways of connecting people and places to support the levelling up of the digital divide.
“My aim is to build long lasting mutually beneficial partnerships with stakeholders across the South of Scotland and to raise the profile of solution providers and useful technology within the region. We are already working Dumfries & Galloway College and partners to connect the faculties on the campus to our network to benefit students and employees. As well as working with local enterprises to bring lasting benefits for remote healthcare and agricultural solutions.”
One local company, based in Dumfries, is keen to utilise the advanced digital connectivity provided by 5G. James Slater, Chief Executive of telecommunications service provider, Quibiti, says:
“Our approach is always to connect people, technology, and environment to realise the best workspaces. Having access to a 5G private network with advice and support systems will help us realise the best solutions for our customers. This innovative resource on our doorstep means we have the potential to pilot new equipment and develop new business methods that use 5G that could give us a distinct competitive advantage.”
Leading network provider, Nokia, is supporting the introduction of 5G capability into the region. Lee Hargadon, Head of Enterprise & Public Sector, UK & Ireland, Nokia, says:
“We are delighted to be supplying our leading-edge Nokia 5G technology to the South of Scotland S5GConnect Hub Dumfries. The 5G private network will enable businesses to accelerate their digital transformation with a proven state of the art solution and industrial-grade private wireless connectivity that will give them a competitive advantage in today’s rapidly changing world.”
Live test beds across the regions are planned to follow the successful launch in Dumfries. The aim to accelerate the adoption of 5G across the country encourage economic progress through innovation.
Businesses interested in working with the Innovation Hub, Dumfries, should contact Andy Todman, Business Engagement Manager – Dumfries at email@example.com
Rohde & Schwarz supports 5G research at University of Glasgow with network test equipment
Equipment for electromagnetic field research, provided by Rohde & Schwarz, will help advance the knowledge base at the University of Glasgow regarding electromagnetic fields radiating from 5G sites. Moreover, the university is using the equipment in a demonstration during COP26, the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Glasgow, on how 5G can contribute to carbon-neutral living.
Rohde & Schwarz has provided 5G network test equipment including the R&S TSMA6 scanner and QualiPoc software to the University of Glasgow’s James Watt School of Engineering to assist research into 5G NR network performance and safety. The school’s researchers will use the equipment to perform accurate electromagnetic field (EMF) measurements to increase understanding of safe levels for human exposure, using their Scotland 5G Centre funded testbed. Their research works towards minimizing EMF strength while maintaining service quality and performance.
In addition, the University of Glasgow demonstrates a pop-up 5G network, which is supported by the Rohde & Schwarz equipment, at a University of Glasgow fringe event during the United Nations Climate-Change Conference COP26, hosted by the City of Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November 2021. A team from the school demonstrates how services supported by 5G, such as holographic telepresence and remote operation of industrial equipment, can help raise productivity, minimize travel, and consequently contribute to lower carbon emissions. The R&S TSMA6 and QualiPoc software will help show how EMF strength is well within known safe limits.
The R&S TSMA6 autonomous network scanner and QualiPoc software work together to perform code-selective EMF measurement, a proven, accurate method defined by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS) that takes into account the effects of 5G’s beamforming technology. The QualiPoc software, which runs on an Android smartphone or tablet, provides a handheld solution for service-quality tests and radio-interface analysis. For EMF measurement, the application mathematically converts signal-power (dBm) into field strength (EMF) in V/m and sums the EMF values of synchronization signal blocks according to the code-selective measurement procedure.
Professor Muhammad Imran, Professor of Communication Systems / Dean University of Glasgow UESTC (Systems Power & Energy), said: “In addition to supplying the equipment, which is highly effective for network analysis and EMF measurement, Rohde & Schwarz has also provided excellent support including usage guidance and insights into measurement techniques. This is enabling us to increase the body of knowledge concerning 5G EMF effects and prove the robustness of safety assurances.”
Paul Coffey, CEO of The Scotland 5G Centre, which is working with organizations including the University of Glasgow and the business world to accelerate the deployment and adoption of 5G in Scotland, added, “The accurate measurement capabilities provided by this equipment can give businesses, government, and consumers extra confidence to take advantage of the transformative services we are anticipating as 5G networks continue to roll out.”
For further information on EMF measurements in 5G and the respective test solutions, go to: https://www.rohde-schwarz.com/_253377.html
5G Racing Ahead with a World First Sportscast Broadcast using Shared Spectrum
- University of Strathclyde’s private stand-alone 5G network broadcasts live from handheld cameras on the network uplinks.
- 5G private networks have the potential to transform how live events are covered and bring opportunities for smaller events and remote / rural sports.
A world first stand-alone private network for sports broadcasting using shared spectrum in the 3.8 to 4.2 GHz demonstrated the potential for private networks to provide wide area connected cameras for live events.
Using a network 5G standalone design, led and engineered by the Scotland 5G Centre’s partners at the University of Strathclyde, this technology has the potential to transform the way live sport is covered and bring fans closer to the action.
The University of Strathclyde StrathSDR team partnered with BT Sport, Dorna and Vislink to bring live segments to a worldwide audience from a 5G handheld camera at the Monster Energy British Grand Prix, MotoGP at the iconic Silverstone circuit. 5G networks used in this way have the potential to enhance coverage of sporting events and bring more action to more people.
Using the same technology trialled in the test bed in partnership with by Scotland 5G, the team re-created a standalone 5G shared spectrum network at Silverstone. This network covered the pit lane, paddock and starting grid, and technology partner Vislink supplied a 5G wireless camera and on-board motorcycle uplink to the 5G network. Viewers across the world saw the broadcast courtesy of the race Dorna Sports’ production and BT Sport.
The successful demonstration paves the way to create more use cases for live sport. Using a private 5G network for regional football teams for example, could transform the fan experience by bringing them closer to the action, and offer spectator angle camera interaction. Ultimately on-field and even on-player camera positions will be used.
This technology demonstrator also opens up ideas and future opportunities for use by event organisers in remote and rural communities.
Paul Coffey, Chief Executive, Scotland 5G Centre, explains the significance of the broadcast for the adoption of 5G and said: “This collaboration between academia and industry partners is one of the enablers to help drive the adoption of 5G. This use case demonstrates a network that was first trialled in a lab based test bed and then taken in to the field for demonstration and showcase.”
“5G private networks have the potential to revolutionise how we cover live sports in the future. Remote production using 5G will be a more efficient method of producing live sports and events, and perhaps by adding some customer interaction this can improve the live experience at the venue. Another possibility, already trialled in the US, is the ability to get the view of the best seat in the house alongside your allocated seat.
“The most exciting part for Scotland and the Centre’s work is perhaps the remote and rural opportunity. Private and shared spectrum 5G has the potential to make the event coverage process accessible for smaller sports clubs, teams and rural hosted events like mountain-biking and bring spectators closer to the live-action, whether they are at the event, in the town or part of the diaspora watching from somewhere else in the world.
Malcolm Brew, the 5G projects team lead at StrathSDR, University of Strathclyde, said:
“We have been working on 5G private network design for remote media production alongside broadcast partners. At Silverstone, we operated on Ofcom’s shared spectrum band, which are radio frequencies set aside for public use, and were able to demonstrate this expertise and capability in a high pressure and real situation.
“There is something here to be said on why it is a game changer. 5G can enhance the viewer experience, while the new camera angles can bring fans closer to the action. The availability of spectrum can also transform how all fans watch and interact with each live game and can bring control of 5G networks to local communities.
“We’re particularly excited about the transformational opportunities 5G offers to live action from international to grassroots sports in rural communities.”
Radio Frequency Engineering Manager Noemi Lacasa from Dorna Sports, S.L, said: “It was really exciting to be part of the world’s first stand-alone 5G network thanks to the collaboration between BT Sport, Vislink, the University of Strathclyde and Dorna.
“This case study allowed us to learn a lot and gain a better understanding of the future possibilities for 5G private networks in live sports broadcasting.”
Strathclyde’s participation in this world first 5G live production came about through the acclaimed IBC Media Innovation Programme, a collaboration of 15 global broadcast leaders to experiment with and understand oncoming 5G capabilities.
S5GConnect Dumfries – Launch of the 5G Testbed
Friday 29th October, was a key milestone for The Scotland 5G Centre as we officially opened our S5GConnect Dumfries 5G testbed, based at the Crichton Campus.
S5GConnect Dumfries, which is our rural hub, is now open for business offering a wide range of services, including 5G funding and network advice, development workshops and access to a 5G private test bed. You can find out more about the hub services here.
Over 30 people attended our in-person event; including local authorities and companies linked to the South of Scotland. Representatives from the Crichton Trust, Qubiti, University of Glasgow and Scotland Rural College came along to find out more about the 5G testbed and the connectivity opportunities that can offer to the area.
Paul Coffey, CEO at The Scotland 5G Centre opened the event, highlighting the opportunities surrounding the S5GConnect programme and network of hubs including the landmark opening of the S5GConnect Dumfries hub and what this means not only for the region but for The Scotland 5G Centre too:
“Our S5GConnect programme will equip businesses and entrepreneurs across the South of Scotland with the skills they need to understand how 5G can benefit their business.”
Welcome addresses were then given by Kate Thomson, Vice Chair, Crichton Trust where she focused on how the hub will be a key enabler for the South of Scotland’s economic development, and Cllr Dr Elaine Murray, Leader of Dumfries & Galloway Council who highlighted how the hub offers for the region, an opportunity for digital transformation with other areas in the UK such as Northern Ireland looking to replicate the South of Scotland’s advanced technology model.
Andy Todman, Business Engagement Manager for S5GConnect Dumfries later presented to the audience, a series of informative slides about 5G including the evolution of mobile technology and the benefits that the 5G private network can bring to businesses in the local area, highlighting several use cases including the Liverpool 5G Consortium and the West Midlands 5G Connected Ambulance. Both use cases link directly with S5GConnect Dumfries’ key sectors of remote healthcare and agriculture. He also encouraged the audience to spread the message about the hub and the opportunities it offers.
Following the close of the presentations, AWTG showcased 5G and advanced technology demonstrations, including an augmented reality mobile app which can revolutionize the tourism industry, allowing visitors from all over the world to view a place or object via their mobile phones in real-time, showcasing Scotland to the world; and a 5G-enabled holographic video call, applicable in remote healthcare, a key sector for the hub, allowing the patient and the doctor to be “together” virtually.
“AWTG’s collaboration with S5GConnect Dumfries is expected to bring innovations to local industries powering growth of the local economy. AWTG’s innovation platforms will help local business create new applications in health, agriculture, tourism, and education.” – Ian Vernon (CIIO of AWTG)
Thanks to all for attending, with special thanks going to our speakers. You can find out more about S5GConnect Dumfries here.
For more information about our S5GConnect Programme visit: https://scotland5gcentre.org/s5gconnect/.
Scotland 5G Centre Announce Live 5G Network And is Open for Business
- Innovation Hub in Dumfries goes live, ready to support 5G use cases on a dedicated private network.
- Demos to include a live holographic display transmitting real-time 3D images to advance the ability to manage remote healthcare needs.
- The Forth Valley hub will go live later in the year making 5G testing accessible for a wide range of organisations and businesses across the region.
Today, the Scotland 5G Centre announced the opening of live 5G private networks to showcase, innovate and test 5G ideas, starting with its first rural hub in Dumfries in the South of Scotland. This will be closely followed by Forth Valley in the central belt going live next month.
Businesses of all sizes and stages can visit the hubs and experience 5G first-hand.
Live test beds opening across the regions will allow the S5GConnect programme to accelerate the adoption of 5G across the country with advanced digital connectivity supporting new opportunities and economic progress through innovation.
The doors of the first rural live 5G network will open for business at the Scotland 5G Centre hub at the Crichton Centre in Dumfries. Located in a new digitally enabled collaborative centre for learning and rural innovation serving the South of Scotland. This key development demonstrates the Centre’s commitment to introduce new ways of connecting people and places to support the levelling up of the digital divide.
The live network will offer demonstrations of 5G capability, as well the chance for others to test their own products and services.
Applications on display will include communication through large format holograms. This technology enables you to feel physically present with another person in a different location. This ‘holoportation’ will demonstrate the opportunities for remote healthcare through a live, immersive and interactive conversation with a clinician in London. It showcases the next level of telepresence for healthcare, business meetings and education across borders.
‘5G in a box’ will demonstrate a solution for rural areas with poor coverage. The application provides true end-to-end 5G network capability. Visitors will appreciate the benefits that 5G can enable.
A further application takes tourism up a gear by using augmented reality. This ‘smart tourism’ application will allow visitors to be transported to Cambridge to admire the King’s College Cathedral ceiling mural. A mixed reality experience of a life-size Stonehenge will provide another immersive and engaging experience.
The hub networks set up by the Scotland 5G Centre, place this advanced digital connectivity within existing communities to build and collaborate on existing partnerships. The Scotland 5G Centre is connecting with industry experts, local authority members, local businesses and public authorities to demonstrate the real benefits this latest technology has to offer.
Paul Coffey, Chief Executive Officer, The Scotland 5G Centre, said: “It’s an exciting day as our first 5G network goes live in our rural Connect Hub – creating real opportunities for the investment and use of this transformational technology.
“Our S5GConnect Programme is here to lead the way, a platform for innovation and to accelerate the roll out of digital connectivity by collaborating with the local businesses, academic institutions and partners.
“Scotland is uniquely placed to take advantage of 5G. We are creating opportunities for investors and mobile operators to link with a variety of sectors including manufacturing, logistics, farming and healthcare. This will in turn lead to scaling up and commercialisation to create new skills and jobs and will make a positive and real difference to Scotland’s economy.”
Lara Moloney, Head of S5GConnect, says:
“We are excited to open the doors to SMEs and leaders who are keen to innovate in their business and make use of our first physical 5G private network to go live as part of the S5GConnect programme. Providing an environment to test and trial 5G marks an important step forward as we work with businesses and network operators to adopt 5G in Scotland.
“Our innovation hubs create an opportunity for partnership and collaboration, allowing businesses from start-ups to established industries, to learn how to utilise 5G and use it to their competitive advantage. We have engaged with over 300 businesses in the last 4 months alone and are looking forward to supporting industry further.”
UofG launches blockchain research lab with VB Hyperledger
A £1.3m new research partnership is setting out to find ways to make blockchain technology better-suited for high-volume applications, and potentially more environmentally-friendly.
The Moshan Blockchain Lab at the University of Glasgow is a collaboration between researchers from the University’s James Watt School of Engineering and Chinese tech company Victory Bench (VB) Hyperledger.
Over the course of the next three years, University researchers will work with their counterparts at VB Hyperledger to develop new algorithms for use on the blockchain – the decentralised, international digital ledger system which allows users to securely store, verify and exchange information.
One avenue of investigation for the new lab will be developing new methods for improving the scalability of blockchain transactions.
Currently, the rate at which new information can be added to blockchain-enabled systems is limited. That bottleneck prevents it from being more widely adopted for large-scale applications like mainstream banking or securing patient records in health systems, which could require hundreds of thousands of exchanges of information per second.
The researchers aim to develop a more streamlined system which will help to create an improved method of accessing, verifying and amending blockchain records.
The team will also investigate ways to make the process of using blockchain-enabled processes easier to perform on less computationally capable devices like mobile phones. That could lead to new protocols for performing the ‘proof of work’ calculations which underpins the creation of new units of cryptocurrency like bitcoin, potentially reducing the carbon footprint of the computer-power-intensive process of crypto mining.
Dr Lei Zhang, of the University’s James Watt School of Engineering, will lead the lab. Dr Zhang said: “I’m proud to be partnering with VB Hyperledger to launch the Moshan Blockchain Lab at the University of Glasgow today.
“Blockchain technology has a great deal of potential still left untapped, and this collaboration is setting out to solve some of the problems of this evolving technology and expand the possibilities of how it can be used. We’ve already begun discussions with University colleagues in computing science, education, healthcare and finance about how we might collaborate in finding new applications for blockchain in their research and teaching.
“I’m looking forward to working with the VB Hyperledger team over the course of the next three years, and I hope that this will mark the start of a long and fruitful collaboration.”
Mr. Wang Bo, chairman of VB Hyperledger, said: “VB Hyperledger has made a number of key breakthroughs in blockchain development, including enabling more than 140,000 transactions per second, and launched the Infinite Space Storage system (ISS) which enables the blockchain to store hash values and accept large files like audio and video.
“I hope that the Moshan Blockchain Lab at University of Glasgow will closely focus on the needs of the international academic front and integrate the advantages and characteristics of related disciplines such as mathematics, computing, communications and finance to promote cross-disciplinary integration to achieve major breakthroughs in the basic theory of blockchain.
“The Joint Lab has great potential to combine scientists from China and the UK to collaboratively create high-performance, co-governance, security and privacy blockchain application scenarios and solutions. Victory Bench Hyperledger is looking forward to working with more outstanding scientists and will continuously explore and develop in the field of blockchain.”
Over the course of the initial project, the Moshan Blockchain Lab researchers will also explore how 5G communications technology can support the potential applications of their new algorithms using the University of Glasgow’s Urban Testbed, funded by The Scotland 5G Centre.
Paul Coffey, CEO of the Scotland 5G Centre, said: “5G and enhanced connectivity can improve efficiency and offer new opportunities for wireless blockchain networks to optimise performance and energy resource consumption. The Scotland 5G Centre is delighted to support this project and see the testbed as a key enabler for this research.”
Support for the Moshan Blockchain Lab at the University of Glasgow is supplied jointly by the University of Glasgow and VB Hyperledger. The partners will discuss the possibility of extending additional PhD studentships and investigating new areas of research at the end of the first year of their initial three-year collaboration.
Digital Connectivity will Empower People to Restore our Planet
By Paul Coffey, CEO, The Scotland 5G Centre
Published in The Scotsman
Six years on from Paris and the world is still getting warmer. We are now seeing first-hand the impact of climate change – the floods and fires alone are biblical. However, the number of innovative solutions and sense of urgency brings hope and optimism as Glasgow prepares to host COP26.
As Chief Executive at The Scotland 5G Centre, I am leading the charge to support the Scottish Government’s Digital and Net Zero Economy. Climate change is among the greatest challenges facing mankind and digital technology is one part of the solution.
Watching David Attenborough and Prince William announcing the first winners of the Earthshot prize I was struck by the innovation, collaboration and partnership taking place around the world to make significant changes.
Digital technologies can help decarbonise Scotland’s economy and help people and planet. However, to achieve this we need more action and intervention. The green-growth recovery needs involvement across public and private sector. These sectors need to tap into the integrated funding and support to work at pace and create jobs and opportunities.
A recent report by Vodafone showed it also has the potential to create greenhouse reductions in transport, agriculture and manufacturing of as much as 17.4 million tonnes – or nearly a quarter of Scotland’s current emissions. Optimising energy and resource consumption is one of the biggest ways to reduce emissions and 5G capability and connectivity is an exciting way to help repair the planet.
Digital technology has strong potential to reduce emissions across the whole of the country. In city centres, 87% of the digital tech savings will come from transport, whereas in the countryside 38% of the savings will come from its use in agriculture.
Whilst 5G can help efficiency, enhanced connectivity also offers new opportunities to speed up energy transition and offer tailored services based on differing needs and requirements, to enable smart grid services.
5G can support rural areas. Bringing these communities connectivity can allow businesses to innovate and explore new ways of homeworking. Additionally, it can offer access to high quality health care and education.
The entrepreneurial spirit in Scotland is vibrant. We are working across the country in rural and urban areas to help test innovative ideas that will have long term environmental possibilities. Test beds are being used for use cases in healthcare, agritech, gaming and environmental healthcare. The aim is to invest in 5G ideas that pave the way for a lower carbon way of life.
At our hub in the Forth Valley, we are working in partnership with Scotland’s International Environment Centre, part of the University of Stirling, collecting environmental information to build a green data recovery platform. This ‘digital twin’ allows a virtual model to be used to look at ways to protect precious resources.
Infrastructure is the platform for innovation. At the meeting of minds in Glasgow, world leaders, environmentalists and policy think-tanks alike will all agree that smart, wirelessly-connected appliances, factories, cities, and transportation grids will be able to optimise and reduce their power consumption and help support the necessary net zero targets.
My hope for COP26 is that 5G’s significant environmental benefits of improving energy efficiency and reducing emissions are recognised. 5G offers a meaningful contribution to global efforts to mitigate climate change and Scotland is at the forefront of efficient environmental management.
We are not about to scoop the Earthshot prize, but I am confident 5G technology will make transformational improvements to the green agenda and will give the planet a fighting chance.
5G Bootcamp: Get to Problem-Free 5G: Video Series with Julie Snell & Professor Andy Sutton
Developed for 5G Service Providers, NEMs and Contractors.
These executive insights aid those who own the deployment and maintenance of 5G, gain a concise overview of the current technical and business status, and key considerations necessary to get to problem free 5G.
Watch the videos here.
New Partnership Set to Bring Extended Reality Learning to UofG
Students and academics are set to benefit from the introduction of cutting-edge extended reality technology at the University of Glasgow.
Extended reality (XR) merges augmented and virtual reality technology to create immersive new ways of interacting with computer-generated 3D images and simulations.
The University has partnered with EON Reality, a global leader in augmented and virtual reality-based knowledge, to establish a new EON-XR Centre on campus.
The EON-XR Centre, which will be based at the University’s James Watt South Building, will aim to find new ways to expand the learning experience offered to students across the University’s four Colleges with new technologies.
Students will have access to augmented reality (AR) software on their mobile devices and virtual reality (VR) headsets to bring lessons to life in new ways. Engineering students, for example, will be able to visualise and interact with the inner workings of machinery in virtual space, while medical students could gain new insight into how organs function.
In addition to accessing through EON Reality’s ‘knowledge metaverse’ – an online repository of thousands of existing learning tools created with other partners – University teachers will be able to develop their own lessons for students. Learners will also have the chance to build, use and share their own designs.
The partnership is officially unveiled with an event at the University’s student union reading room.
Professor Frank Coton, the University’s Vice Principal (Academic Planning & Technological Innovation), said: “We are delighted to be partnering with EON Reality on the establishment of this new Centre. Despite being an ancient university, Glasgow has always embraced the opportunities that new technologies offer to enhance student learning. XR technology will become a significant feature of the future global learning landscape and this partnership will allow us to help shape that future.”
Dan Lejerskar, Founder of EON Reality, added: “It’s an honour to partner with an institution like the University of Glasgow, as they helped to set the standard for what high-level education means both today and in years past. Now, we can help launch them into the future with EON-XR and our other solutions. The University of Glasgow is an absolutely legendary academic institution and will make an incredible addition both to our global network as well as the knowledge metaverse.”
Learners at the University’s partner campuses at the Singapore Institute of Technology and the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC) will also benefit from access to the XR system.
Professor Muhammad Imran, Dean of the University of Glasgow UESTC, said: “The benefit of exploiting XR technology goes beyond the pandemic needs of enabling learners to learn from their homes. It will enhance the learning experience even in face-to-face classroom teaching by helping learners to have better visualisation and the ability to repeat the experience of learning/training of specific skills in functionally safe environment.”
As the partnership develops, Professor Imran and his team will also use the University’s Urban Testbed, funded by The Scotland 5G Centre, to explore how the high-end digital connectivity that 5G communications technology provides can help create a seamless XR experience.
Paul Coffey, CEO of the Scotland 5G Centre, said: “The end user experience of XR technology is highly dependent on the resolution and quality of immersive video/graphics as well as agile responses to users’ actions. Consequently, high-end digital connectivity solutions like 5G have a prominent role in improving the user experience and uptake of the XR technology. 5G will be a game changer for augmented and virtual reality, and will enable many new use cases and applications. Scotland 5G centre is keen to explore the role of 5G to enhance the experience of XR technology for its users.”
Delivering a Connected Future for Scotland
Connecting communities using 5G-enabled technologies will be life-changing, allowing individuals and businesses to significantly improve their quality of living and working through utilising a range of smart devices and applications.
Realising the enormous potential of 5G and advanced technologies is crucial for Scotland to recover post-pandemic. Not only will 5G create thousands of new jobs and opportunities across the country, but its deployment will also be the key to tackling digital poverty and exclusion, ensuring that everyone in Scotland, regardless of their location, has access to high-speed connectivity.
Leading the charge to support the Government’s Digital and Net Zero Economy strategies is the Scotland 5G Centre. We are the key connectivity enabler for Scotland and our remit is to accelerate the deployment and adoption of 5G across the country, which in turn will deliver huge social, economic and environmental benefits.
For example, enhanced connectivity can support Scotland’s objective to build a Net-Zero carbon nation. Innovation and the introduction of 5G networks will offer new opportunities to speed up energy transition to a decarbonised economy and society. 5G network slicing is an ideal choice to enable smart grid services for example. 5G network slicing allows the power grid to flexibly customize and offer different services based on differing needs and requirements of the various services on a power grid.
While the pandemic shone a spotlight on the many areas facing challenges with digital connectivity, 5G technology also offers an unprecedented chance to increase connectivity in the country, particularly in rural areas. Recognising this, connectivity is the critical enabler for our key priorities; such as Net Zero, manufacturing, and agriculture. These will only prosper and remain competitive through the enablement of high-bandwidth connectivity services and underpins the future for the Scotland 5G Centre.
Through our S5GConnect programme, we are ensuring that businesses across Scotland have access to advanced 5G networks, professional support, and consultancy through our growing network of strategically placed S5GConnect hubs which will span the country in both, urban and rural areas.
The Centre is also uniquely positioned to be connected to industry, government, telecom providers and academia – allowing us to work collaboratively to support the delivery of advanced communications that are future proofed to support the country’s digital needs.
Most recently, funding from The Scotland 5G Centre allowed our partners at the University of Glasgow to create a 5G testbed and demonstrate remote robotics, creating a new immersive learning experience, available to students globally as well as providing a blueprint to develop a range of exciting new commercial opportunities.
Beyond connectivity, the roll out and adoption of 5G is critical to the success of our Nation’s industries to keep abreast of competing nations who are investing heavily in this technology.
Real change is happening and it is clear to me that Scotland’s future will be formed and shaped within a digital world. Only by taking a joined-up approach with 5G and high-bandwidth connectivity at the centre of each of these major initiatives, can Scotland achieve its full potential, drive innovation and lead the digital revolution.
New S5GConnect Appointments for The Scotland 5G Centre
The Scotland 5G Centre has made two key appointments to strengthen the S5GConnect team tasked to accelerate the adoption of 5G through hubs in major urban and rural locations across the country.
Lara Moloney has been appointed as the Head of the S5GConnect Programme – a Scottish Government funded initiative, supporting the establishment of a network of regional urban and rural hubs across Scotland. Her main role is to oversee the growth and development of the hubs and facilitate effective relationships with key partners and stakeholders.
Lara was previously the Interim Business Engagement Manager for S5GConnect Dundee, one of three S5GConnect hubs currently established, working with local universities and industries to accelerate the use of 5G in the gaming and digital software sectors. Lara brings over 24 years’ experience working in the private sector across media, creative industries and connected places with a focus on commercialisation. Lara says:
“I am thrilled to be joining the fantastic S5GC team and to be supporting Scotland’s ambitions around connectivity, innovation and 5G. It is an exciting time for the industry to understand the benefits of 5G and how it can transform their business to support increased cost savings, efficiencies and to be increasingly competitive in the global market.”
Philip Petersen joins the S5GConnect team as Business Engagement Manager for Dundee, heading up the Centre’s Dundee innovation hub. Prior to joining The Scotland 5G Centre, Philip worked with deep tech scaleups across Europe, advising on raising investment and business development, opening doors to new opportunities for them. Philip says:
“Dundee is such a vibrant centre for digital innovation in Scotland and beyond, reaching across multiple sectors. I look forward to working with the innovators in the region to bring projects to life that are made possible only through the adoption of 5G. The S5GConnect Dundee Hub will be a wonderful resource to accelerate that through collaboration.”
The Scotland 5G Centre is also boosting its marketing effort to raise awareness for the hubs. Nicola Graham has been appointed as Marketing Assistant in the Marketing Team. Nicola joins the Scotland 5G Centre from the Marketing and Communications team in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Strathclyde.
‘The Big Interview: No-one Left Behind’ – Julie Snell Interview for Land Mobile
Philip Mason talks to chair of The Scotland 5G Centre Julie Snell about the organisation’s mission to enable broadband across the country, including its most remote communities
As readers of Land Mobile will be aware, the increasing use of broadband for business communications has profound implications, both on the working lives of users as well as the sector itself.
For proof of this, look no further than our feature in the new issue, during which we investigate the ever-more POC-focused nature of the handset market. The increasing reliance on cloud-based ‘remote working’ platforms, meanwhile, has also transformed entire verticals, now making it entirely acceptable, at least for some people, to conduct the majority of their professional life straight from the sofa.
If we thought 4G was a game-changer, however, its imminent successor, otherwise known as 5G, is likely to represent a veritable seismic shift, combining as it does massively increased bandwidth with comparatively infinitesimal latency. Or to put it another way – to paraphrase a famous quote from the very first ‘talkie’ motion picture – we ain’t seen nothing yet.
As promising as 5G is from a business perspective, however, that potential will mean nothing if it is not actually available to use when it comes to coverage. Needless to say – and again, we are not telling readers anything they don’t already know – this is more likely to be an issue in rural environments than in urban ones.
A case in point in relation to this are the more remote areas of Scotland, in particular the areas known as the Highlands and Islands. Step forward The Scotland 5G Centre, a government-funded initiative dedicated, according to its website, to accelerating the “demand, deployment and adoption” of the standard across every area of the country. The organisation’s chair is Julie Snell, who is the subject of this issue’s ‘Big Interview’ section.
Layered business approach
Snell began her professional life in the commercial telecommunications sector, a career which included highlights such as writing the business strategy for what became BT’s public Wi-Fi network. Up until last year, she occupied the role of CEO for Bristol is Open, a major, city-wide test bed focusing on the potential use of smart-city technology.
Taking up the story of how she came to become involved in The Scotland 5G Centre, she says: “I stepped down from Bristol just as we were going into lockdown, with the intention of retiring from full-time roles. I’d wanted to move into my non-executive career, but when COVID-19 happened, I thought, well, I’m not likely to be going anywhere for now.
“At that point, The Scotland 5G Centre basically got in contact and recruited me. It was as straightforward as that, and unfortunately I still haven’t visited Scotland yet in my capacity as chair, despite having held umpteen board meetings.”
Anyone keeping an eye on Snell’s career up until this point will notice a definite arc, from the aforementioned private sector towards roles which are much more centred on benefiting society as a whole. This was certainly the case with Bristol is Open, much of which was concerned with the broadband use-case across ‘digital divide’, health and social care. With Scotland 5G, meanwhile, the mission is to ensure that the whole population sees the benefit of what could become a profoundly transformative technology.
Elaborating on this, she says: “Of all the roles I could have wanted, I never imagined that I’d have the opportunity to make a difference at nation level. As with Bristol is Open, the fundamental task is to join industry knowledge together in order to drive connectivity, but this time across an entire country. Doing that will in turn influence how we bring together the multiple business cases, which we’re seeing develop around the use of 5G. The Scottish government has really got its act together when it comes to this area of work.”
Going back to the subject of ‘remote’ connectivity, Snell estimates that around 98 per cent of Scotland is designated as rural or remote rural. Predictably enough, this is not exactly conducive to what she refers to as the traditional (ie, profit-driven) “telco roll-out model” predicated around providing the greatest coverage for the largest market.
This – according to her – is exactly where The Scotland 5G Centre is designated to fit in, finding ways in which all stakeholders can come together “to see a wider, more layered business approach”. One way this is being accomplished is through the establishment of S5GConnect ‘innovation hubs’, such as was recently opened in Dundee. Another is through the establishment of test beds in the rural communities themselves, something which we shall return to later in the article.
Going into greater detail about the business case for The Scotland 5G Centre, Snell says: “When most people think about Scotland, they generally have in mind Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and so on. But the reality of the situation is that around 25 per cent of the income from Scottish business – around £360bn a year – comes from the rural areas.
“These communities are managing to do that with poor connectivity, so imagine what could be achieved if it could be improved. We absolutely cannot allow these amazing farms and fisheries – some of which are still relying on terrestrial phone lines – to fall behind the UK and the rest of the world.”
She illustrates how this could happen through the example of the increasing deployment of connected devices across different facets of the Internet of Things. In this context, this includes developments such as remotely monitored farm machinery, as well as crops and livestock via something which, pleasingly, has come to be known as the Internet of Cows.
As Snell identifies, it would put rural Scottish businesses at considerable disadvantage if they continued to miss out on broadband connectivity in the way that she says is occurring now. Likewise, the connected health and social care piece will become increasingly important, something which also needs to be addressed.
So how does the Scottish government plan to change this situation? What exactly is the strategy, both in the short and the long term?
“The first step,” Snell says, “is making those communities, and Scottish business as a whole, aware of the power of the digital technology itself. An important part of that is the S5GConnect hub programme, which we’re rolling out now in different parts of Scotland.
“The idea is that people can come in and use 5G to better understand what it can do, develop their skills, business cases and so on. To be fair, at this point we don’t have to try that hard to convince them – they already know there is the need.”
She continues: “The other thing we’re doing is setting up connectivity for the more rural communities, again in order to show them what it can do. We recently had a project in Orkney which not only demonstrated the connectivity, but also looked at how to get funding to build a private network and how to form a community company.
“Honestly, we really upped the ante for them. When the time came to switch it off – which we had to, because it was purely for the purposes of R&D – it was actually quite heart-breaking.”
The mention of private networks brings us around to arguably the most important part of the discussion – the connectivity piece itself. After all, given the traditional telco model mentioned above, you have to wonder just how invested MNOs are likely to be, even despite appeals on behalf of the wider Scottish economy. Will it get to the point where setting up their own networks is really the only option left to these rural communities?
“I’d say that there’s work to do in that area, which is where our continuing collaboration with the mobile network operators comes in,” says Snell. “Having said that, the mobile operator business models are already adapting.
“We have to continue to encourage the industry towards network sharing taking place through virtualisation, something you can already detect in Orange and Vodafone’s decision to sell off their tower companies. Again, this is where our work with them is essential, encouraging them to look from a needs-based perspective, such as changes that millions of IoT devices rather than user handsets sending data is going to make.
“In terms of the communities themselves, it is indeed about finding methods through which they can build their own networks if they want to, as in Orkney. It’s a bit glib to say it, but you can almost buy a 5G network off the shelf at this point.
“It’s not straightforward to install, and you need to organise a community company to put it together, but the potential is certainly there.”
The rural communities of Scotland are in clear need of decent broadband connectivity, particularly if they aim to take advantage of the benefits of 5G as it comes to full fruition. The Scotland 5G Centre will be an integral part of that process going forward.
University of Glasgow’s Online Workshops: 5G Series
A team of 5G researchers under the leadership of Prof Muhammad Imran at Communication, Sensing and Imaging (CSI) group, University of Glasgow has been actively engaged in transferring the knowledge from the university level down to primary and secondary schools.
They are inspiring the future generations of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) students through a series of online workshops that introduce the primary and secondary pupils about 5G communications and showcase the applications of 5G through a number of demonstrations that are developed in-house as part of The Scotland 5G Centre’s urban testbed.
Key contributions from experts such as Dr Sajjad Hussain, Dr Qammer Abbasi, Dr Yusuf Sambo, Dr Wasim Ahmad, Dr Hasan Abbas, Dr Guodong Zhao and Dr Shuja Ansari are presented and introduced in this series of short videos.
University of Glasgow’s 5G Series
Historic Glasgow Subway used to test potential of 5G to improve passenger experience
5G RailNext, a pioneering project to explore new 5G experiences for commuters, set up a unique private 5G network to connect passengers on an underground train on Glasgow’s historic Subway.
As part of the project, researchers from the University of Strathclyde installed a ‘pop up’ network using next generation technology to provide track-to-train connectivity between Buchanan Street and St Enoch stations.
The private and public sector consortium led by Cisco along with partners University of Strathclyde, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, Glasgow City Council, and SMEs Ampletime and Sublime, explored the potential for delivery of personalised advertising content using Augmented Reality (AR) mobile applications enabled by 5G connectivity.
The willingness of passengers to use mobile AR through wearable devices such as headsets was also examined by the project, funded by the Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS).
The demonstrator project on the Glasgow Subway, the third-oldest underground rail system in the world after the London Underground and the Budapest Metro, was in partnership with a project running in the Seoul Metro system with South Korean partners ETRI. This UK-South Korea collaboration aimed to show the potential of 5G in some of the most challenging environments.
A custom 5G Standalone connectivity solution allowed the train carriage to connect to the trackside network, and an on-train Cisco Wi-Fi network was used to connect users, who were simultaneously served by the trackside network.
Two 5G infotainment service applications streamed AR advertising content to devices when the users scanned a QR code, while an AR application enabled passengers to interact with virtual objects overlaid on top of real-world objects.
The final live trials in March were carried out on a dedicated train which drove round the Glasgow circuit continuously during normal passenger service. Triallists used the infotainment applications on handsets and headset devices.
The applications allowed users to virtually try on and buy sports goods from fashion outlets while travelling in the tunnels, something that wasn’t possible before as the data connection didn’t exist. Bringing together the connectivity and the applications, the project was able to deliver and measure AR advertising experience in the mass public transit environment. Researchers say that with their dedicated private train network they successfully demonstrated the live operation and potential of infotainment in an underground rail environment.
Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde, Professor Sir Jim McDonald, said: “The University of Strathclyde has vast experience of developing private 5G networks to create affordable connectivity solutions in both urban and rural locations, as well as hosting the Scotland 5G Centre in our Technology and Innovation Centre at Strathclyde.
“We are delighted to be building upon our strategic relationship with Cisco, and our other industry and UK Government partners, on this exciting transport project.”
Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman said: “Losing phone signal when hopping aboard an underground train can be a pain in our connected age, so I’m delighted that our £200 million 5G scheme has explored giving passengers superb quality connections to unlock new digital experiences, brighten up journeys and boost businesses.”
Dr David Crawford, 5G Engineering Director from the University of Strathclyde, said: “5G RailNext has shown that 5G mobile technology is well-suited to providing track-to-train connectivity inside tunnels for underground railway systems.
“The deployed infrastructure created a unique test environment, and by testing 5G in these technically challenging contexts, we have a much clearer idea of what is feasible and how consumers can be reached with personalised and engaging information and entertainment content, delivered through new forms of interactive media.”
SPT Acting Chief Executive Valerie Davidson said: “SPT has been delighted to support this project in the Subway, and be part of this international collaboration to look at the viability of running 5G technology within our challenging Victorian tunnel system.
“Following the success of the trial, we are now keen to look further at the potential benefits for our passengers to enhance their journey experience on the Subway. With the majority of Subway commuters now using a smartphone, there is increasing demand and a growing expectation on good connectivity to be accessible everywhere, especially as 5G continues to roll out.
“There are also significant operational benefits to SPT, including the use of digital equipment for our maintenance teams and providing track-to-train connectivity.”
Peter Shearman, Cisco’s Head of innovation for UK & Ireland, said: “The rail and metro environments present a market with limited penetration of advertising, marketing, and content services to date, but they have a high-volume, repeat-visit customer base, and our user trials have demonstrated that having the ability to explore and ‘try’ products could be appealing to passengers travelling on trains.
“Interactive media and AR-based advertising could help to improve passenger experience, enable new marketing channels, and create new revenue streams for advertisers, media owners, and operators.”
5G RailNext was part of the UK Government’s £200 million 5G Testbeds & Trials Programme, which aims to maximise the opportunities for UK businesses, including SMEs, to develop new 5G applications and services for both domestic and global markets.
Demand for data and connectivity in the UK continues to grow, with more than 80% of adults owning a smartphone in 2020 and spending an average of almost three hours a day online. Pre-pandemic, one of the most common times for doing this was when travelling to and from work.
This demand puts pressure on service and infrastructure providers to enable suitable connectivity. The majority of customers will use their 3G/4G mobile broadband, and as the rollout of 5G continues users will begin to make increased use of 5G connectivity as well.
Super immersive 5G remote robotics goes global
- One of the first demonstration of remote robotics in higher education has attracted worldwide attention
- University of Glasgow’s 5G test bed creates new immersive learning opportunities for students globally
- 5G real time technology creates new commercial opportunities and remote access to state-of-the-art facilities
A testbed mobile network, developed at the University of Glasgow, with £1.6m of funding from the Scotland 5G Centre, is creating a new ‘super immersive’ learning experience which is attracting worldwide attention as a game changer for the industry.
A pioneering robotic arm which can be used remotely, allows for an immersive learning experience for students across the globe and provides a blueprint to develop new commercial opportunities.
Students studying, regardless of their location, can work on electronic circuits and experimental setups virtually and alongside the lecturer and other students. It allows for multiple students to have a practical experience simultaneously and feel physically present.
This tele-operational, 5G robotic arm uses a haptic feedback controller that allows you to feel senses of touch, motion and pressure and the setup is also being adapted for other commercial applications where extended reality can be applied – all in real time.
This new technology is also suitable to provide remote access to specialist centres like the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre. This £35 million state-of-the-art centre offers research and international collaboration in nanofabrication technologies used extensively for research and industrial prototyping, such as fabrication of extremely small-sized nano-scale devices for the electronics industry. It is a clean room that requires limited and specialised access, and several measures are to be taken before humans can enter. However, the robotic arm now allows virtual access for many and opens the experience and opportunities, enabling people to work remotely and in real time, regardless of the location.
The University of Glasgow has already demonstrated, jointly with British Telecom, to the First Minister of Scotland how training in such specialised facilities can be carried out using Augmented/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) technology that provides immersive tele-presence experience to remote learners.
Other commercial applications that are currently being researched using this new technology include examining how we learn to drive and take a driving test. The data-transfer speed created using 5G technology provides a real time experience. The technology can allow hazard perception tests without being in a car which could support learner drivers’ experience and reduce waiting lists for lessons and tests.
Enabling partners to test and develop ideas and use cases is how the Scotland 5G Centre is accelerating the adoption of digital technology in Scotland. Paul Coffey, Chief Executive of The Scotland 5G Centre, explains:
“The test bed built at the University of Glasgow is creating a major step change in ideas and adoption of 5G technology. The ability for students to be able to take part in complex work from another country is exciting and beneficial for the learner and the academic partner. Giving remote access to world leading facilities to a larger number of people worldwide is hugely beneficial.
“We are able to create multiple use cases which generates an ecosystem for 5G and leads to further applications across manufacturing, healthcare and education sectors. The market for remote solutions in the robotic market alone is predicted to be worth 16.8 million dollars by 2023, the potential for use of 5G across sectors is of enormous economic benefit.”
Professor Muhammad Imran, who leads the research team at the University of Glasgow, said:
“The potential for 5G is remarkable and we have attracted interest from universities in the USA, China, the Far East and the Middle East. The higher quality of user experience offered by 5G connectivity enables us to offer specialised training without students entering the physical space. This has been particularly beneficial during the pandemic and coping with the restriction of movement.
“The investment in super immersive technology combined with almost instantaneous connections provided by 5G allows us to open up to the world the learning experience available from specialist centres like the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre. It also creates dynamic virtual environments for our Electronics and Electrical engineering students, several of whom are learning remotely from our Glasgow College UESTC in Chengdu in China.”
Ziwen Li, a second-year undergraduate student at Glasgow College UESTC in China said: “The remote robot has given me a fascinating and unique learning experience which undoubtedly will be useful in my future career.”
The Scotland 5G centre is currently rolling out its S5GConnect Programme and opening regional hubs to support economic growth through the deployment and adoption of 5G services across the country in rural and city settings. This programme is supported by £4m investment from the Scottish Government. Hubs are in Alloa, Dundee and Dumfries.
Virtual Event to Explore Benefits of 5G Technology for South of Scotland
Businesses, communities and organisations across the South of Scotland are being given an opportunity to find out more about the benefits of 5G technology next month.
‘Bringing 5G into the South of Scotland’ virtual event on Thursday 9 September aims to highlight how businesses can be more productive, efficient and competitive by capitalising upon the upcoming introduction of 5G in the area.
The two-hour webinar – being hosted by South of Scotland Enterprise, the Scottish Government and The Scotland 5G Centre – will also demonstrate to attendees how 5G is a radical step-change in connectivity, and how it has the potential to deliver a wide range of social, economic and environmental benefits to the region.
In support of its message, the event will boast a wide range of engaging speakers, including South of Scotland Enterprise’s Chief Executive, Jane Morrison-Ross, alongside Paul Coffey, CEO at Scotland 5G Centre; Andy Todman, Business Engagement Manager at S5GConnect Dumfries hub which is part of the Scotland 5G Centre; BT’s CTIO for Regions and Devolved Government, Simon Haston, and Gwilym Gibbons, CEO of The Crichton Campus.
The virtual event follows the announcement in May by The Scotland 5G Centre that S5GConnect Dumfries hub would be housed at the Crichton Campus, which SOSE has supported.
The hub is Scotland’s first rural 5G connectivity hub and will combine technological expertise, academic research and local businesses, with a view to accelerate the potential of 5G in transforming local communities and the wider economy in the South of Scotland.
The latest webinar aims to replicate the success of the previous ‘Internet of Things’ virtual event co-hosted by SOSE and the Scottish Government, which took place earlier this year and had over 130 people in attendance.
Jane Morrison-Ross, Chief Executive of SOSE, said:
“Supporting businesses to adopt and benefit from digital technologies is key priority for SOSE.
“We were delighted that our last virtual event received such excellent feedback and had a great turnout of attendees.
“We hope that this event can be just as interesting and useful in terms of providing attendees with information on how digital connectivity can help transform the way in which we work in the South of Scotland.
Russel Griggs OBE, SOSE Chair, added:
“I would encourage any businesses, organisations and individuals who are interested in hearing about the opportunities 5G will bring to the area to sign up to our event on 9 September.”
Kate Forbes, Scottish Government Economy Secretary, said:
“This 5G technology can transform Scotland’s economy and society, driving economic regeneration and renewal in the South of Scotland as we rebuild from pandemic restrictions.
“This area is rich with innovative companies and organisations; events like this speed up adoption of digital tools and exploration of exciting new applications.
“With a fantastic selection of speakers from industry to social enterprises, this event is not to be missed.”
Paul Coffey, CEO of Scotland 5G Centre, said:
“5G has the capability to impact everyone and every industry – be it making safer transportation, remote healthcare, precision agriculture, immersive education, and tourism, and so much more.
“Through The Scotland 5G Centre we are aiming to help businesses understand how the technology can be applied within their sector and our first rural hub in Dumfries, part of the S5GConnect Programme, will play a key role in this and will bring more connectivity to rural areas.
“This webinar is a fantastic opportunity to find out more about 5G and its potential for the South of Scotland.”
Andy Todman, Business Engagement Manager at S5GConnect Dumfries Hub, said:
“The South of Scotland 5G Hub located at the Crichton Campus Dumfries, will bring to the region an opportunity for businesses and organisations to use a state of the art private 5G network test bed with indoor and outdoor connectivity, to explore the immense potential high-capacity connectivity can bring to transform services and business models.
“The event on 9 September brings a regional focus and will give businesses and organisations the opportunity to hear about 5G use case examples that they may wish to apply themselves to accelerate their own digital transformation.”
Those who are interested in attending Bringing 5G into the South of Scotland virtual event can register at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/bringing-5g-into-the-south-of-scotland-tickets-165747409965
Unlocking the Power of 5G in Urban Areas – 17th August 2021
Advanced 5G technology is expected to be up to 100 times faster than the existing 4G networks, with a much lower latency rate when sending and receiving data in real-time. These 5G networks will also be able to handle a much larger number of connected devices, enabling them to speak to one another – a key component of the Internet of Things and Smart Cities.
The speakers at our urban event set out what is happening here in Scotland and wider within the UK to explore 5G in urban areas and how this can support sustainable urban development.
Robin Presswood, Executive Director of City Development of Dundee City Council gave the keynote speech highlighting the work which Dundee is doing, having recently been named one of the top 3 tech hubs to watch in 2021, including within digital and cyber security, digital tourism and E-Sports.
During the panel session, Paul Coffey CEO at the Scotland 5G centre was joined by Robert Franks, Managing Director, West Midlands 5G; Lynsey Brydson, Innovation Manager, Construction Scotland Innovation Centre; Ann Williams, Commissioning and Contract Manager, Liverpool City Council and Graham Thrower, Head of Sustainable Economy, Urban Foresight.
The panel discussed the importance of simplifying, streamlining and improving processes to reduce the cost of installing sites and small cells within an urban area; the benefits of 5G for industry including the ability to plan, survey and analyse data quickly; addressing and reducing the digital divide and ensuring ubiquitous broadband access and content-rich applications across education, services and healthcare sectors.
Watch the event recording here:
Unlocking the Power of 5G in Rural Areas – 27th July 2021
New technologies will bring more connectivity to rural areas – not only will this bridge the digital divide but will result in there being many significant benefits for the communities, homes, schools, and industries of Scotland’s rural areas to enjoy.
Our expert speakers at our Unlocking the Power of 5G in Rural Areas webinars introduced their respective projects and how 5G and further innovations has the potential to transform Scotland.
Jane Morrison-Ross, Chief Executive Officer of South of Scotland Enterprise gave the keynote speech introducing the SOSE and the support they have been providing the South of Scotland over the last two years including throughout the Coronavirus pandemic. Jane noted that the South of Scotland & borderlands have collectively bid for the City of Culture, 2025 – the first time a non-city has been allowed to bid, allowing the area to showcase its heritage and culture and put innovation and innovative technology at the heart of the area.
During the panel session, Paul Coffey, CEO at the Scotland 5G Centre, was joined by Ceren Clulow, Digital Connectivity Manager, Nottinghamshire County Council, Alex Kowlaski, Chief Operating Officer, Neuron Innovations, Simon Haston, CTIO: Regions & Devolved Government, BT and Michael Armitage, Founder and CEO of Broadway Partners.
The panel highlighted the opportunities which 5G presents for rural communities and the barriers to overcome to make advanced technology a reality across Scotland.
Could 5G be one answer to Shetland’s many connectivity issues?
Paul highlights the potential of 5G in his article first published in The Shetland News.
THE SCOTLAND 5G Centre is looking to hear from local companies interested in exploring opportunities to use the technology even without a dedicated network supplied by a commercial mobile operator.
Set up two years ago as the national centre to promote and accelerate the deployment of 5G technologies across the country, the organisation is also looking at new ways to connect Scotland’s rural areas.
As such the centre is hosting a webinar next Tuesday in an attempt to bridge the digital divide by Unlocking the power of 5G in our rural areas.
The centre’s chief executive Paul Coffey said the webinar is one in a series of events “where we can bring people in to talk about the opportunities that 5G could create”.
Coffey said 5G is “so much more than a consumer offering”, it has the potential to “revolutionise how businesses access and consume digital services”.
It is the successor to 4G mobile data and it is said to provide average speeds of 100Mbps-200Mbps in the UK, although this varies by network and area.
It is not publicly available in Shetland yet, although a private network trial is being carried out by a construction firm involved in the transmission link project.
Coffey said creating “your own private 5G network” through neutral host technology would enable rural businesses to benefit from all the advantages that 5G connectivity could bring.
Speaking to Shetland News earlier this week Coffey was exploring what setting up these private networks could mean for rural businesses such as the salmon farming industry, which is often working in areas with poor or no connectivity.
“Through a private network you could create a base level that is used for communication, you can also use that for monitoring,” he said.
“Some of that could also be done by 4G, but 5G can use facilitate high definition underwater cameras looking at the fish stock, doing counts and detected diseases, for example.
“Through remote sensing and analysis you could get a different insight that would give you a level of information that fish farmers don’t have to date, increasing productivity, efficiency and safety.”
He said creating private 5G networks at “relatively low cost” could help transform how rural communities and businesses operate.
The technology could be deployed in schools, healthcare and many other sectors, he said.
“We would like to do something real. We are looking for opportunities in rural areas, so if there is something there where we could leverage we are keen to explore that further”, Coffey said.
Teleoperation of a Robotic Arm Over 5G
Professor M. Imran’s research group at the University of Glasgow have accomplished the following teleoperation at the Scotland 5G centre Urban testbed.
This video demonstrates a bi-directional, low latency teleoperation of a robotic arm over 5G. In the forward direction, a touch haptic device is used to control the robotic arm, while in the reverse direction, the forces “felt” by the robot are fed back to the user through the haptic device. Haptic feedback is critical in teleoperation as it not only closes the control loop (for accurate manipulation), but also provides information for pressure sensitive tasks executed by the remote robotic arm. In addition to force feedback, a video link over 5G was used to provide synchronized visual feedback to the remote controller for guided teleoperation. The tasks demonstrated in the video are:
1. Remote manipulation of the robotic arm via a haptic device
2. Using the haptic device to write from a remote location
3. Using the haptic device to draw from a remote location.
This successful teleoperation demonstration will support applications across several verticals including, but not limited to, Industry 4.0, healthcare, creative arts, and will be a key enabler for the Internet of Skills paradigm.
Watch the video here:
What Makes 5G So Special? – 29th June 2021
A question that has been asked in more ways than one – today we answer ‘What Makes 5G So Special?’
Martyn Wallace, Chief Digital Officer for the Scottish Local Government Digital Office gave the opening speech highlighting the capabilities of 5G and its potential to innovate Scotland’s key sectors including agriculture, tourism, healthcare and the creative industries. Martyn accentuated that 5G is more than just an upgraded mobile phone, and that in becoming 5G champions we can make connected devices a reality.
Malachy Devlin, Operations Director at the Scotland 5G Centre, was joined during the panel session by Mike Barlow, Sales Director of Smart Cities & Public Sector for Nokia; Shona Croy, Strategic Adviser of Renewables and Connectivity at Orkney Islands Council and Federico Boccardi, Principal Technology Advisor at Ofcom. The panel highlighted the opportunities which 5G presents and the importance of connectivity and building a strong, connected network across Scotland with a special focus on rural and remote areas where 5G would be mean a total revamp for them.
For more information and to book your place at our next events, visit:
Scotland 5G Centre’s Newest Appointment Encourages Forth Valley Businesses to Adopt 5G
The Scotland 5G Centre has appointed Tom Marchbanks as its new Business Engagement Manager at S5GConnect Forth Valley Hub in Alloa. Tom will be working with local businesses of all sizes across the wider Forth Valley area, to encourage them to access the skills and facilities available at the new innovation hub and harness the potential of 5G technology.
Tom will bring a wealth of experience, having worked overseas, building business engagement across a broad range of industry sectors.
Tom has worked with industry and governments to establish productive networks and to encourage inward investment, resulting in significant investment pipelines, such as venture capital investment from China into the Longbridge car plant in Birmingham.
S5GConnect Forth Valley offers a range of support, facilities and opportunities for businesses of all sizes to test and develop new 5G applications and services. One of its key projects, since its launch last September, is with the University of Stirling and underpinned by BT’s 5G mobile network from EE. This partnership is looking at the use of 5G in environmental industries. Researchers at Scotland’s International Environment Centre, part of the University of Stirling, will use this 5G capability to build a green data recovery platform to support Scotland’s Net Zero economy.
Tom’s role will be to connect with partners in the private, public and third sectors across industry and academia. He will also build networks with local small and medium sized businesses and entrepreneurs.
The Scotland 5G Centre will be running a series of virtual events over the Summer to raise awareness of the S5GConnect programme and show the wider Forth Valley business community the key benefits that 5G can offer.
Brad McGuire, Programme Manager for S5GConnect added:
“Tom is a great appointment for our hub in the Forth Valley. His knowledge of how businesses operate and their needs will be a huge benefit to connect local business and the academic community across the Forth Valley. Tom is the ideal advocate to communicate the benefits of 5G technology to create new opportunities or supercharge existing businesses.”
Simon Haston, Chief Technology Innovation Officer: Regions and Devolved Government, BT said:
“Collaborating with the innovation hub is an important part of our work to develop commercial business solutions using 5G technology. We are pleased the hub has employed Tom in this key business engagement role to encourage business involvement, interest and investment.”
Dr John Rogers, Executive Director, Research & Innovation Services, University of Stirling, said:
“Our team in Scotland’s International Environment Centre is working closely with the innovation hub on a key platform to support Scotland’s net zero ambitions. We are pleased to have Tom on board to develop this collaboration and to ensure academic partners are key to 5G innovation in the Forth Valley.”
Funded by the Scottish Government, the Centre works at a national level to stimulate economic development and promote the benefits to society of 5G connectivity.
For more information on the SG5Connect Forth Valley Hub visit: https://scotland5gcentre.org/s5gconnect/s5gconnect-programme/
S5GConnect Awareness Launch -23rd June 2021
On 23rd June 2021, we held our S5GConnect Awareness Launch, the first event of our Summer Events Programme.
Ms Kate Forbes MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance & the Economy, gave the welcome address to attendees, highlighting the potential of 5G to transform communities and the Scottish economy.
The keynote speech was delivered by Sarah Eynon, Associate Director in the Digital Infrastructure Team at Scottish Futures Trust. Sarah spoke about the benefits and capabilities of 5G, the importance of digital training and collaboration between organisations and the key role that the Scotland 5G Centre plays in ensuring Scotland is a leading digital nation.
During the panel session, Scotland 5G Centre CEO Paul Coffey was joined by Rory Young, Team Leader for Business Development at Dundee City Council, representing S5GConnect Dundee; Andrew Tyler, Professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Stirling, representing S5GConnect Forth Valley; and Gwilym Gibbons, Chief Executive of The Crichton Trust, representing S5GConnect Dumfries. The panel spoke about how the S5GConnect hubs will play a key role in accelerating the deployment and awareness of 5G and the potential of 5G in transforming their regions and supporting their local economies.
The S5GConnect Awareness Launch kicks off The Scotland 5G Centre’s virtual events programme, which runs from June – September 2021.
For more information and to book your place at our next events, visit:
If you want to contact any of the hubs to discuss potential opportunities or partnerships, please reach:
S5GCDumfries – Andy Todman at firstname.lastname@example.org
S5GCDundee – Lara Moloney at email@example.com
S5GC Forth Valley – Tom Marchbanks at firstname.lastname@example.org
Further expansion as The Scotland 5G Centre makes ‘super six’ new appointments to growing team
The Scotland 5G Centre continues to expand, confirming six more appointments as it develops its far-reaching 5G strategy through a network of regionally relevant hubs stationed across Scotland.
Ian Sharp joins the team as the Head of Business Development, aiming to increase the Centre’s profile and visibility in Scotland, the wider UK and internationally. Ian will be responsible for developing new partnerships, key strategic alliances and sourcing opportunities in order to support advancement of 5G in Scotland.
Ian joins the Centre from the University of Edinburgh’s commercialisation service, Edinburgh Innovations. Here, Ian introduced a range of initiatives to drive collaboration and increase impact, such as the University’s AIMday program and its new strategic partnering program.
Ian said: “The Scotland 5G Centre represents a fantastic opportunity to ensure Scotland is at the forefront of the 5G revolution – I’m delighted to join the team.”
Also joining the core Centre team, Esther Francisco has been appointed as Marketing and Communications Manager and will be responsible for developing and implementing the communications and marketing strategy for the Scotland 5G Centre.
Esther said: “It’s an exciting time to join The Scotland 5G Centre during a period of rapid growth. I am looking forward to further raising the profile of the Centre to enable faster and wider 5G adoption across Scotland and to show the value and impact of the Centre and its national network of S5GConnect Innovation Hubs.”
Esther has over 12 years of international marketing experience with a number of leading companies having previously worked for s1homes, part of the Newsquest Group, as Marketing Manager where she led the development of the brand and communication strategies, and for German Doner Kebab as International Marketing Manager where she established the strategy and plans for new markets in North America.
This month, the Centre has also appointed two Business Engagement Managers to their S5GConnect hubs at Dumfries and Forth Valley.
Andrew Todman heads up S5GConnect Dumfries, based at the Crichton Central – a new digitally enabled collaborative centre for learning and rural innovation on the Crichton Estate. Prior to joining the Scotland 5G Centre team, Andrew has held Chief Executive Officer roles including for a chain of residential nursing homes, and an Age UK Brand partner, and prior to those as Head of Service at Loreburn Housing Association.
Thomas Marchbanks heads up S5GConnect Forth Valley having spent many years delivering advice to UK businesses looking to enter overseas territories and expand their footprint in existing markets, on behalf of both national & regional governments, as well as for the Scottish Government. Thomas is also a seasoned inward investment practitioner helping to build billion-dollar investment pipelines for national governments at home and overseas.
Also joining The Scotland 5G Centre team are Jackie Stevens, Finance and Business Operations Manager who joins the team from Rathbone Training where she was Programme Manager for Central Scotland and Siobhan Divers, Marketing Assistant who joins the team from Scottish Chambers of Commerce.
Scotland 5G Centre makes key appointment to drive forward first rural 5G connectivity hub
Following on from the announcement that the Scotland 5G Centre has set up their first rural S5GConnect hub at The Crichton in Dumfries, the Centre has appointed Andy Todman as Business Engagement Manager. Andy will be based at Crichton Central, a new digitally enabled collaborative centre for learning and rural innovation and serving the South of Scotland.
Andy Todman has previously held Chief Executive Officer roles, including for a chain of residential nursing homes and was a Head of Service at Loreburn Housing Association. He brings a wealth of health and social care experience to the hub role and of working throughout the Dumfries and Galloway region.
The S5GConnect Dumfries hub is being equipped with a dedicated 5G network with advanced capabilities including a testbed that will enable SMEs to test products, services and solutions. Andy’s role will be to foster innovation and collaboration by bringing together partners across the private, public and third sectors to create a pipeline of projects that will promote 5G by using the S5GConnect Hub.
Paul Coffey, Chief Executive of the Scotland 5G Centre added: “We are delighted to announce Andy’s appointment at this landmark hub in our S5GConnect programme. Andy’s knowledge and connections will help to equip businesses and entrepreneurs across Dumfries & Galloway with the skills they need to understand how 5G can help to supercharge their business.”
Gwilym Gibbons, Chief Executive of The Crichton Trust said: “As the first rural 5G connectivity hub in Scotland we are excited about the potential of 5G in rural communities and we look forward to working with Andy in his role as Business Engagement Manager with The Scotland 5G Centre here at The Crichton. We are fortunate to have this opportunity to explore the potential of 5G in rural areas and so if you would like your sector or organisation to be involved in trialling 5G locally, then I would encourage you to get in touch with Andy so that we can put 5G connectivity to the test in Dumfries and Galloway!”
For more information on the Dumfries 5GConnect Hub, visit: www.scotland5gcentre.org/s5gconnect/s5gconnect-dumfries
Dumfries & Galloway to host Scotland’s first rural 5G connectivity hub
Farming and rural healthcare are amongst the sectors set to benefit.
The Crichton, a business and academic campus in Dumfries, will host Scotland’s first rural 5G connectivity hub. The new hub will bring together technological expertise, academic research and local businesses in order to accelerate the potential of 5G to transform communities and economies throughout the south of Scotland.
The S5GConnect Dumfries hub, part of the S5GConnect programme, is being equipped with a dedicated 5G network with advanced capabilities including a testbed that will enable SMEs to test products, services and solutions.
Some of the projects set to get underway include the development of agritech solutions, where sensors and drones are used to measure crop growth, animal behaviour and wellness; and remote healthcare initiatives including the use of 5G technology to support assisted living.
This will mark the third S5GConnect hub, following the establishment of hubs in Forth Valley and Dundee. The choice of Dumfries for the first rural hub of the Scottish Government funded £4 million programme to establish a network of 5G innovation hubs to accelerate 5G across the country, reflects the longstanding commitment to deliver enhanced connectivity across all areas of Scotland.
Created by the Scotland 5G Centre, the national centre for encouraging use of 5G, the S5GConnect programme is seen as a catalyst that will increase awareness about 5G and lead to the development of new products, services and applications. A dedicated team has been recruited for the S5GConnect hub at The Crichton to work with local partners and businesses.
Paul Coffey, CEO of The Scotland 5G Centre, said: “Our S5GConnect programme will equip businesses and entrepreneurs across Dumfries & Galloway with the skills they need to understand how 5G can benefit their business. It is planned over three levels – kicking off with raising awareness of the scope of 5G; followed by more detailed evaluation of the business possibilities; culminating in months of in-depth support to scale up and test using our dedicated 5G private network.”
The Crichton, an 85-acre parkland estate on the edge of Dumfries, is home to over 90 organisations including five academic partners. The S5GConnect hub at The Crichton is being supported by South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE). They will be a key partner in helping to develop future 5G dependent projects.
Gwilym Gibbons, Chief Executive of registered charity and social enterprise, The Crichton Trust, said: “This is a hugely exciting project which will have a significant impact on the South of Scotland. We believe that 5G connectivity will enable our rural communities to experience the power of fast connectivity and the opportunities this brings for innovation and the future economy, helping to generate the solutions and services we require to meet the challenges of our ageing society, the climate crisis and the fourth industrial revolution. Solutions that start in Dumfries but can scale and be replicated into our neighbouring rural and urban areas and exported across the world.”
South of Scotland Enterprise’s Chief Executive Jane Morrison-Ross said: “I am delighted Scotland’s first rural 5G Hub will be in the South of Scotland, and that our organisation is a key partner in this landmark project. While our focus in our first year was to support our region to respond and recover from COVID-19, this significant announcement highlights our commitment to now looking to the future.
“With digital connectivity an issue in a number of areas of the South of Scotland, the 5G Hub will bring together industry, academia and government bodies on a series of projects to explore opportunities which offer considerable benefits to local businesses and communities, including Net Zero manufacturing, farming and agriculture and sustainable and connected housing. I look forward to working with our partners to help the South of Scotland lead the way in this transformational technology.”
A programme of virtual events across all three S5GConnect hubs will start in June with a series of in-person events from September. Details can be found at https://scotland5gcentre.org/events/
One Year in! CEO Paul Coffey marks his first year at S5GC
This month marks my one-year anniversary at The Scotland 5G Centre and I wanted to reflect on the last 12 months. It’s been very busy, and though, of course, 2020 has been exceptionally challenging as we navigate our way through the coronavirus pandemic, we are making excellent progress in establishing Scotland as a leading digital nation.
I can sympathise with many, having myself been recruited at the start of the lockdown period last year and having to conducting much of the recruitment processes virtually. But once the green light was given, it was key for me to move safely up to Scotland to get under the skin of the opportunities and challenges that Scotland has to offer. I relocated to Scotland at the end of July 2020, when the first lockdown was easing, and had thought we were over the worst – little did we know!
I quickly recognised that the Scotland 5G Centre was in a special position – with government support, to be a national focal point for the 5G ecosystem; mobile industry, public sector, enterprise agencies, academics and SMEs. Luckily, I had some experienced and supportive Board members in the University of Strathclyde, University of Glasgow and Scottish Futures Trust to advise me and help me navigate the existing stakeholder landscape.
During the summer months, the team and I looked at this ecosystem through a strategic lense, reviewing ways the Centre could be recognised on a wider scale and have practical, national impact, and relevance so that we could promote the benefits of 5G to a greater audience, and support the adoption of 5G services.
The Centre already had some strong, early projects in the works, seeking to accelerate the 5G eco-system for Scotland – the Infralink project led by Scottish Futures Trust; and the rural and smart campus testbeds led by the University of Strathclyde and the University of Glasgow respectively – putting the Centre and its missions firmly on the map.
The launch of the S5GConnect programme allowed me to further increase the ambition of the Centre; delivering the next stage of the Scottish Government’s 5G Strategy through a network of regionally relevant hubs stationed across Scotland.
With the new strategy in place, the next hurdle was perhaps the most important – making the first of several appointments and building the team from 3 to 15 with a plan for further recruitment.
Growing the team so fast presented some challenges, especially with the additional hurdle of the pandemic, though fast forward some months, and I now have a fantastic team in place with knowledge and experience of the sector, stakeholders and challenges, and look forward to being able to meet them all in person, hopefully very soon.
Fundamental to my own and to the team’s successes has been Julie Snell, Chair of the Scotland 5G Centre who has offered her guidance and support as we grow our team, and used her enthusiasm for 5G to promote our brand and increase awareness about S5GC on UK and international platforms.
During the past 12 months, we have massively increased the presence and profile of the Scotland 5G Centre, not just in Scotland but across the UK and internationally too. The Scottish Innovation Centres, UK5G, West Midlands 5G and many other organisations have helped get the Scotland 5G Centre to where it is today, thanks to their willingness to share and collaborate during the Centre’s formational months.
The creation of the Strategic Advisory Board has also provided a leadership focus for the team and more widely, has been a source of advice to the Centre as it supports the Scottish Government to make sure 5G is ‘baked in’ to its development of policy and programmes.
One of the overriding reflections of the last year for me has been the reinforcement of the need and dependency people have for reliable bandwidth and digital connectivity – technology has been even more central to our lives over the last year than it ever has before as we hold meetings, events and social gatherings virtually. Delivering faster and more capable connectivity will support businesses and the wider community and will help to shape how the economy bounces back post-pandemic.
Scotland has some unique challenges due to its geography, but I have seen real appetite to overcome this. Through the Centre, we are exploring new models for deployment that will bridge the digital gap and ensure businesses and communities across Scotland have unrestricted access to all digital services.
The announcement of the first two S5GConnect Hub locations – Forth Valley and Dundee – showed the Centre’s statement of intent and with more to follow, I’m excited to see the S5GConnect programme establish its presence, aiding businesses on their journey to true digitalisation.
Businesses will be looking to re-invent themselves following the pandemic, and with the Scotland 5G Centre’s support – the opportunities are ready for the taking!
New economic model to make the case for rural connectivity
Approach to be based on the health and socio-economic benefits enhanced coverage can bring to Moray
A consortium of research partners – working together in support of Moray’s regional growth deal – could pave the way for better connectivity in remote and rural areas by creating a new commercial model for delivering critical telecommunications infrastructure.
CENSIS – Scotland’s Innovation Centre for sensing, imaging, and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies – The Scotland 5G Centre, and Digital Health & Care Innovation Centre (DHI) have received funding from the Scottish Government to develop an economic model that could redefine the assessments behind infrastructure deployment, prioritising the potential value to communities over cost.
The new approach will aim to address the ‘digital divide’ between areas that have access to fast, reliable telecommunications – typically large population centres – and communities that experience limited access to increasingly vital public services, many of which are in rural Scotland.
The consortium’s feasibility study will draw on a much wider range of factors to determine the overall viability of network infrastructure, rather than relying purely on the number of people in a given area.
Using healthcare as the principal use case, it will factor in the societal and quality of life benefits that enhanced connectivity could bring to rural areas. This will be determined, for instance, by the cost prevention and health benefits delivered by supporting people with underlying conditions to live more independently and avoid hospitalisation, or re-admission, through tele-medicine or remote care services.
Paul Winstanley, CEO of CENSIS, said: “We are aiming to change the way we assess the viability of proposed telecommunications infrastructure, to the benefit of currently under-serviced communities. While there might be a smaller need in rural areas when you look at it purely in terms of population figures, network coverage is incredibly important from societal and economic impact perspectives – factors not currently priced into existing commercial models.
“On the back of the pandemic we have seen huge growth in access to services being delivered remotely. As a consequence of a lack of connectivity people in rural areas don’t have that opportunity and this project could be the foundation of addressing that imbalance in the long term.
“Building on the collective strengths of the three centres, we can demonstrate the value delivered using healthcare as the initial use case and then build out a range of other applications that could deliver socio-economic benefits in rural communities.”
The health use case will be developed by DHI, while CENSIS will look at the additional applications in other sectors. The Scotland 5G Centre will analyse the connectivity through different telecommunications standards – including, but not exclusively, 5G.
Although the project’s main geographical focus will be Moray, it will also examine how the same model might be applied to rural and remote areas in the south of Scotland. The principles developed by the study could be employed by communities in the UK and potentially across the world.
Paul Coffey, CEO of The Scotland 5G Centre, added: “The pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of digital connectivity; and that need is particularly evident in the healthcare sector. The Centre’s role is to support equitable access across Scotland because we believe that wireless connectivity needs to be as readily available as our electricity and water supplies.”
George Crooks OBE, CEO of DHI, added: “This project will demonstrate how the evolution in telecommunications technologies can be best leveraged in support of securing community resilience. Supporting people to make better health and wellbeing choices, allowing the provision of safe, effective and responsive healthcare through the use of next generation digital solutions in rural areas is a priority across Scotland which can be successfully delivered.
“The project will also seek to identify how this type of infrastructure investment can be utilised create economic opportunities for these communities and so creating wider benefits. The three Innovation Centres working together, contributing their specialist knowledge and expertise, will demonstrate the true value add that innovation can bring to the lives of individual people and the communities where they live.”
Dundee announced as location for new S5GC Hub
- This latest 5G innovation hub will become part of a £4m national network announced in Scottish Government’s Programme for Government.
- It will support innovation and growth in the games, virtual reality and interactive entertainment sector and co-develop solutions for diverse sectors such as healthcare and manufacturing.
- The Dundee hub will also work in partnership to create new tools and services to combat cyber-crime activities.
Dundee, already an ideal location for developing technology applications due to its concentration of highly skilled technology graduates produced by the city’s universities, is about to reach an even higher gear.
The Scotland 5G Centre has announced the city as the location for its next innovation hub to ensure 5G (fifth generation mobile) technologies help drive growth and increase opportunities for employment and investment in the city and the wider Tay Cities region.
Businesses specialising in technology and entertainment in Dundee are poised to take advantage of a new innovation hub set up by the Scotland 5G Centre (S5GC), in partnership with Abertay University, Dundee City Council and infrastructure experts Scottish Futures Trust to accelerate innovation and investment in this established and successful sector in the city.
The launch is part of the S5GConnect* programme to deliver a network of hubs to drive economic growth across Scotland, as part of the Scottish Government 2020/21 Programme for Government. The Dundee hub will work with regional businesses and provide access to a 5G development platform, driving even more investment and interest to the area.
Experts from the Scotland 5G Centre will lead work in the new hub in collaboration with Abertay University’s Emergent Technology Centre and the InGAME R&D centre, with the physical site location due to be confirmed in the coming weeks.
The hub will offer collaboration and partnerships to bring together industry, academia and government bodies, creating opportunities for businesses of all sizes. It will provide access to a Dundee City Council-led testbed, a unique demonstration and development environment, where organisations can test and develop new 5G applications and services for potential business models.
The Dundee hub will support research and development on enabling technologies for applications where mobile plays a key role such as service delivery, manufacturing, training and marketing by diverse industries and sectors.
5G will open up opportunities to design products and services incorporating technologies such as immersive, interactive, Artificial Intelligence (AI), virtual reality, automation and the Internet of Things (IoT). The latter in particular allows for new innovative deployments of sensor-based systems and products across the area to deliver solutions such as better management of buildings and places and improved citizen experiences such as healthcare.
Another focus area will be cyber-security. The hub will encourage the adoption of proactive cyber security practices for SMEs who adopt 5G technologies through collaboration with Abertay University. New products, tools, services and software will be designed and developed to ensure secure access to the 5G network.
The hub team will also work with SMEs in and around Dundee to be more digitally connected, helping increase employment and drive profitability.
This investment will align with and build upon work currently being undertaken by Dundee City Council, in partnership with Scottish Futures Trust and Abertay University, to create a 5G Testbed within Dundee Central Waterfront. The Central Waterfront Testbed, funded through Scottish Government’s Growth Accelerator Model, will help deliver core infrastructure needed to meet the objectives of the 5G innovation hub. A total of £2 million of funding has also been ringfenced within the Tay Cities Deal to support the delivery and demonstration of 5G use cases.
The Tay Cities Deal is a partnership between the UK and Scottish governments along with public and private organisations across Angus, Dundee, Fife and Perth & Kinross that together will invest up to £700 million in projects promoting sustainable and inclusive prosperity for the region.
Scotland’s Connectivity Minister, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, said: “Dundee has already established a dynamic technology-based economy and the Scottish Government’s investment of £4m through the S5GCConnect programme is providing the support to drive next-generation businesses in this sector. More widely, it will also create opportunities for the many SMEs across the city, including those in the services and public sectors.
“This 5G Innovation Hub will support job creation, investment and skills development in key sectors where Dundee already excels, and crucially, it will support innovation in healthcare and manufacturing.”
Paul Coffey, CEO at The Scotland 5G Centre, said: “Dundee has a proud track record of partnership working with established tech networks to enable the city to flourish. The local team at the 5G innovation hub will support organisations, networks and communities to get involved in the acceleration of 5G deployment at an earlier stage. We will work closely with the city’s games industry to enable organisations to harness the many opportunities that 5G offers, such as truly simultaneous game play.”
Derek Graham, Programme Director at Scottish Futures Trust said; “The Digital Infrastructure team have been working closely with Dundee City Council to drive the development and delivery of its 5G testbed since its inception. We are now looking forward to extending this collaborative approach with its partners to position the 5G testbed as a catalyst for future 5G innovation across the Tay Cities Region.”
Professor Gregor White, Dean of the School of Design and Informatics, said: “Abertay has been helping to drive Dundee’s evolution as a leading UK tech hub for many years, and this 5G innovation initiative has the potential to further strengthen industries that are hugely important to the city and its future. The rollout of the 5G hub offers significant growth potential for Dundee’s business sector and we are keen to explore all business collaboration opportunities.”
Councillor Mark Flynn, convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee, said: “The business community in Dundee currently enjoy a high level of connectivity and ultrafast services with good upload and download speeds.
“But as the nature of doing business changes and there is an inevitable increase not just in demand, but in expectation, we want to ensure that more businesses in the city can enjoy a more uniform experience, with the greater performance and improved efficiency that 5G offers.
The Dundee S5GC Innovation Hub will be operational from May 2021.
S5GC- Knowledge Exchange Award nominee
The Scotland 5G Centre has been nominated for the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards that celebrate the exceptional work achieved through academic and business partnerships.
Hosted by Interface, the business-academic matchmaker in Scotland, the Awards ceremony will be held online on World Creativity and Innovation Day (21 April).
A record number of applications were received for eight categories – from businesses, public sector organisations, third sector, universities, research institutes and colleges that are in leading the way towards economic growth, societal improvements and environmental advances in Scotland and beyond.
The finalists were chosen by a specially selected panel of judges who were looking for collaborations that show innovation, impact (societal or economic) and transformation, along with recognising the people contributing to knowledge exchange.
The Scotland 5G Centre is delighted to have been nominated for the multiparty collaboration category. Find out more about the awards and the other nominees.
Scotland 5G Centre and partners to deliver new 5G Cloud Core network
Cisco, University of Strathclyde and Scotland 5G Centre to deliver new 5G Cloud Core network to fuel innovation in Scotland
- New 5G network will see Cisco Cloud Services Stack for Mobility, based upon the Cisco Ultra Cloud Core, underpin research and development of 5G connectivity in Scotland
- Deployment will enable businesses and organisations internationally to test and innovate new technologies on private networks
- New 5G Cloud Core contributes to Scotland 5G Centre strategy to launch 5G innovation hubs across the country
March 11th, 2021: Cisco, the University of Strathclyde, and the Scotland 5G Centre will deliver a pioneering new private 5G Cloud Core network to underpin its 5G research and development efforts, building on Scotland’s reputation as a leading innovator in rural connectivity, and Cisco’s leadership in the world’s most innovative mobile network deployments.
As 5G technologies require cloud-based solutions with more flexible architectures, the deployment, hosted in the University of Strathclyde’s Technology and Innovation Centre, will provide opportunities for organisations internationally to innovate and test new technologies on state-of-the-art private mobile and wireless networks.
With 5G delivering potentially game changing applications – for example, new control mechanisms for manufacturing, productivity improvements in agriculture and community-based networks to plug “not-spot” areas in 5G coverage – the Scottish Government is investing £4 million through the S5GConnect programme to accelerate the adoption of 5G. These funds, channelled via the Scotland 5G Centre, will be allocated to deliver a network of 5G innovation hubs supporting business sectors and innovative use cases. This new 5G Cloud Core is a key contribution towards this initiative to promote innovation, investment and improve rural connectivity.
The 5G Cloud Core network build will see Cisco’s Cloud Services Stack for Mobility, based upon the Cisco Ultra Cloud Core, specifically support and underpin research into private networks in rural connectivity projects – including the 5G New Thinking project, and new emerging projects across the network of innovation hubs announced last year.
The 5G Cloud Core network design and deployment will be led by Cisco Customer Experience teams, who have already deployed many major 4G and 5G networks across the globe. Working with local partner Ping Network Solutions, the Cisco experts will bring their 5G experience to Scotland, to complement that of the 5G software defined radio team at University of Strathclyde and the Scotland 5G Centre.
Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, said: “The Scottish Government’s investment of £4m through the S5GConnect programme will enhance and widen digital capabilities across the country. We believe that it is through supporting our businesses to embrace, utilise and innovate in next generation technologies such as 5G that we can go on to create something special for people, businesses and communities now and in the future.”
Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde said: “We are delighted to be working with Cisco and our other industry and Scottish Government partners on this exciting project to accelerate the development of private 5G networks. We have a 30 year heritage working in wireless and mobile communications at the University of Strathclyde, and our 5G and software defined radio teams are working extensively with industry partners to build private and ‘neutral host’ 5G networks.
“With our wider engineering base, including our research teams based in the heart of Glasgow City Innovation District, and industrial centres such as our Advanced Forming Research Centre, and the Power Networks Demonstration Centre, we are working on use-cases in the areas of transport, space, health, manufacturing, agriculture, and fintech, as well as more conventional efforts to connect people with our rural-based projects and networks.”
Ishbell MacPhail, Country Manager, Cisco Scotland, said: “We are proud to be working on this ambitious build with our long-standing partners at the University of Strathclyde and the Scottish Government’s Scotland 5G Centre initiative.
“We’ve already seen terrific use cases of 5G technology in Scotland. Not only does this development align with our vision of creating an inclusive future for everyone, it demonstrates Strathclyde’s commitment to its local community, to Scottish business more generally, and the steps being taken to further Scotland’s place at the forefront of technological innovation”.
Paul Coffey, CEO at Scotland 5G Centre, said: “Scotland has an exciting and integrated technology scene, and real ambition to create innovative solutions using 5G technologies. With the innovation hubs being supported by Scottish Government, and partnerships such as this one with Cisco, we can share enterprise grade cloud and core solutions to deliver real benefit to communities and businesses.”
The Centre is sited in Glasgow City Innovation District, a partnership between the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow City Council, Scottish Enterprise, the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurial Scotland.
Previous examples of joint investment in Scottish innovation include the Cisco-led projects, 5G RuralFirst and 5G New Thinking. With significant investment from Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) programme – focused on accelerating national digitisation agendas – the 5G RuralFirst project used 5G technology, including a 5G radio access network (RAN) deployed on Orkney, in partnership with key local technology companies on Orkney, (Cloudnet IT Solutions and SHEFA) and full support and engagement from Orkney Islands Council. This network was installed in some of the harshest and hardest to reach locations in the UK. This award-winning project included collaboration with Orkney-based use-case partners such as Scottish Sea Farms – a salmon farm in Scapa Flow – and Hammar’s Hill windfarm.
5G New Thinking is a Cisco-led project, with 15 partners including principal partner the University of Strathclyde, and the Scotland 5G Centre. It is an evolution of 5G RuralFirst and also part-funded by Cisco’s CDA programme. This project is investigating the provision of mobile/wireless connectivity via shared and local spectrum licensing options. By working closely with communities, the project will develop a toolkit to allow the creation of neutral host based private networks that provide rural connectivity for cooperatives of consumers, local enterprise, councils and other stakeholders. This will deliver new options for Scotland and other countries worldwide to proactively plug localised gaps in connectivity using the latest 5G technologies.
S5GC unveils a new scheme to increase connectivity
A “game-changing” initiative which will pave the way for greater 4G and 5G mobile connectivity across Scotland has been unveiled. Communities and businesses will benefit from the launch of a new toolkit by the Infralink programme which will help identify sites on public buildings for masts and antennae – easing the process of reaching agreements to install them.
The toolkit aims to break down previous barriers to the rollout of 4G and 5G infrastructure, and is expected to lead to significantly faster deployment and increased investment in digital technology. It means Scotland will be the first part of the UK to have national pricing guidance for telecoms.
Connectivity Minister Paul Wheelhouse said:
“Infralink has been a game-changing move for Scotland’s mobile connectivity ambitions and will accelerate our commitment to next-generation connectivity, as set out in our 5G strategy for Scotland.
“The changes in the way we use digital technology to stay connected over past twelve months have shown how vital reliable digital connectivity is in all of our lives.
“Continued investment in mobile infrastructure, and the tools to remove barriers and make collaboration straightforward for all parties involved, is essential to Scotland’s social and economic recovery from the pandemic.”
The new approach will apply to potential sites on land, building and streets, as well as 4G and 5G technology across the country.
The programme is led by the Scottish Futures Trust and is funded by The Scotland 5G Centre.
A connectivity ‘marketplace’ will also launch later this year allowing the public sector and other land and property owners to break down previous legal obstacles and ease the process of striking commercial agreements.
Hamish MacLeod, Director of Mobile UK, which represents the UK’s mobile operators, said:
“Infralink is a welcome and innovative programme that will build new partnerships between the public and private sectors while breaking down barriers towards achieving Scotland’s digital connectivity ambitions.”
Sarah Eynon, Infralink Programme Lead at Scottish Futures Trust, said:
“The Infralink programme provides the ideal opportunity for forward-thinking local authorities and public sector organisations to reap the huge benefits from improved connectivity without overburdening their current resources.
“It offers a win-win situation for both the public sector and operators, but Scottish citizens and businesses will reap the ultimate rewards.”
For more information about Infralink and the toolkit please go to the Infralink website.
Scotland 5G Centre attracts big hitters to ensure Scotland meets its 5G ambitions
The Scotland 5G Centre (S5GC) has recruited a number of big hitters from across the UK to form a new Strategy Advisory Group to support Scottish Government ambitions to put Scotland at the heart of UK and international use case developments and deployments in 5G.
It will be chaired by Claire Gillespie, Digital Technologies Sector Skills Manager at Skills Development Scotland.
She is supported by leading names from industry/enterprise, academia and the public sector: Stephen Ingledew, executive chair of Fintech Scotland; Simon Haston, CTIO Regions and Devolved Nations for BT; Dr Mike Short, Chief Scientific Advisor for the Department of International Trade; Regius Professor Rahim Tafazolli, Head of the Institute for Communication Systems at the University of Surrey; and Martyn Wallace, Chief Digital Officer at the Scottish Local Government Digital Office.
The Group will provide a leadership focus for the Scottish high bandwidth internet connectivity ecosystem and, more widely, provide advice to the Scotland 5G Centre as it supports the Scottish Government in its further development of 5G policy and programmes.
Strategic Advisory Group Chair Claire Gillespie said: “To enable faster and wider 5G adoption across Scotland, one of the Group’s first priorities will be to engage with SMEs to understand their current challenges, raise awareness of how 5G can play a role in helping them grow their businesses. We also aim to bridge the technology and digital skills gap in business, supporting the transition to data driven solutions and outcomes, and working with businesses and people to develop their skills to in this exciting sector.”
She added: “Crucially, each member of the Advisory Group brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to support the Centre’s governing board. We will draw upon our collective experiences to enhance sustainable growth and put Scotland firmly on the global 5G map.”
Julie Snell, Chair of the Scotland 5G Centre said: “The formation of the Strategic Advisory Group is another key step in our commitment to creating a world-leading hub for knowledge, expertise and innovations regarding 5G. Under Claire’s leadership, the Group will bring dynamic perspective, innovative advice and external input on market needs. It will help shape our agenda and, through their extensive knowledge and networks, provide unbiased insight.”
You can find out more about our Strategic Advisory Group here.
Shared spectrum is here, but Scotland plc must go further
Paul Coffey, the CEO of the Scotland 5G Centre has shared his thoughts on shared spectrum and the opportunities presented by Ofcom’s consultation on this subject, with the Scotsman newspaper.
In this article, Paul talks about how shared spectrum can offer potential solutions to the ‘digital divide’ and can help Scotland’s economy recover. You can read the full article here.
£28 million government funding for 5G projects across the UK announced
The UK Government, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport have announced funding of £28 million for 5G projects across the country.
One of the confirmed projects will be based in Scotland and will explore how 5G can support the construction industry: testing 5G-powered cameras, drones and sensors at BAM Nuttall’s construction sites in Kilsyth, Glasgow and Shetland.
UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said:
“The UK Government is funding 5G innovation trials to help Scottish industry harness the opportunities and possibilities 5G offers.
5G is an exciting technology, with higher connection speeds and capacity having potential to enable the use of innovate technology, transforming industry.
I’m delighted this significant UK Government investment is funding such an important project in Scotland.”
You can access the full announcement here.
Five ways 5G technology will benefit Scotland
Paul Coffey, CEO of The Scotland 5G Centre, recently spoke to The National about the five ways he saw 5G benefiting Scotland.
Paul discussed the role that 5G plays in accelerating and advancing the issue of rural connectivity, the OpenRAN programme, as well as the transport, healthcare and construction sectors.
The full article can be found here.
5G enables university students to carry out remote lab work using pioneering remote robotics
- Huge potential for commercial applications across manufacturing, healthcare and other industries that are normally reliant on physical human intervention
- Testbed mobile network funded by £1.6m from The Scotland 5G Centre
- One of the first demonstration of remote robotics in higher education
Scotland is making substantial progress in developing much-needed applications using 5G technology, according to the chief executive of the Scotland 5G Centre.
Launched one year ago, and funded by the Scottish Government, the Centre is working at a national level to stimulate economic development and promote the benefits to society of 5G connectivity.
One project that has already been thoroughly tested and is ready to go to market is led by the University of Glasgow. The institution is one of three founding partners selected to receive funding, due to the critical importance of its work in accelerating the adoption of 5G in Scotland.
Funding from The Scotland 5G Centre has enabled the University of Glasgow to build its very own leading 5G network ecosystem, that will enable test and development of multiple use cases.
One of the first use cases to benefit from this facility allows University of Glasgow students to conduct their lab experiments remotely, using the pioneering robot. Students managed to assemble and measure an electrical circuit using equipment physically situated in the university’s laboratory.
This is believed to be one of the first demonstrations of remote robotics being used in the higher education sector giving global reach, including between the UK and China.
Paul Coffey, chief executive of The Scotland 5G Centre, said: “A robotic arm is always going to make people sit up and take notice! I am pleased to say that fine-tuning is now complete and this pioneering 5G-based technology is ready to enable manufacturing and other industries to be able to carry out complex tasks from offsite locations. The economic and societal benefits are significant; enabling factories to be more competitive in a wider market and allowing people to live in rural or remote areas while still being able to access urban or industrial centres. And the technology can be harnessing across several sectors, including construction, education, healthcare such as tele-diagnosis, tele-pharmacy and so on.”
“But this is only the beginning. We have several other projects in the pipeline across all three founding partners, which will deliver substantial and lasting improvements in fast, reliable connectivity, particularly in rural areas. Sectors such as healthcare, manufacturing and education are set to reap significant benefits as a result. I do believe that 5G will transform how we communicate in all walks of life.”
Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands said:
“5G connectivity presents a significant opportunity for us in the years ahead, especially as we look to generate a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The Scottish Government’s investment in the Scotland 5G Centre recognises the need to enhance and widen digital connectivity for everyone in Scotland, to ensure that no one and no part of the country is left behind and we can all benefit from the potential economic and social opportunities that next-generation technologies offer.”
Professor Muhammad Imran, who leads the research team at the University of Glasgow that includes Dr Guodong Zhao, said: “The speed of digital communication that 5G provides is remarkable, and opens up many new possibilities for ‘telepresence’, with an almost instantaneous connection between systems anywhere in the world.
“Using direct control of robots with zero-lag connections, researchers and technicians will be able to have a physical presence in the lab from the other side of the world if need be. Our trials included Glasgow students in China using our robots in Glasgow, as well as the other way around.
“We’re excited to explore the possibilities the 5G testbed offers us to shrink the distances between physical spaces, and we’re looking forward to adding new capabilities to this already very promising system.”
Over the next 12 months, The Centre will also continue to roll out its S5GConnect Programme, delivering the next stage of the Scottish Government’s 5G strategy with a series of hubs, as announced in the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government. The Hubs will support economic growth through the deployment and adoption of 5G services across the country, supported by a £4m investment from the Scottish Government. The first Hub, in Alloa, is due to open by May 2021.
The Scotland 5G Centre is one year old!
‘We are delighted to be celebrating the Centre’s first anniversary. It’s been a busy and productive year and we are all very proud of the progress that’s been made. We’ve put the Centre firmly on the map and the team have been working hard to create partnerships, develop collaborative projects and ensure we take a lead role in accelerating the roll-out of 5G across Scotland.
Of course, 2020 has been particularly challenging in terms of dealing with the pandemic, but it has also served to highlight our critical dependency on digital technology and connectivity. Virtually overnight, many workers migrated from city centre working to suburban homes, and boundaries blurred between home and office. The pandemic has also highlighted the growing digital divide between those who have access to fast, reliable telecoms and those who are less fortunate, suffering from poor connectivity with limited access to increasingly vital public information and services.
The impact on the most vulnerable in our society has reinforced that 5G is not just a nice-to-have but is absolutely critical as we look to build the economy post Covid-19.
The Scotland 5G Centre is working at a national level, so is perfectly placed to stimulate economic development and promote the benefits of 5G connectivity. September saw our announcement to launch a national network of 5G innovation hubs (#S5GConnect), accelerating digital connectivity and regional economic growth; and equipping businesses and citizens of Scotland with the skills they need to use 5G technology as an enabler for the good of their business.
Our plans are progressing well. We intend to have our first three hubs open in the first half of 2021. I’m delighted with the feedback we have received on our plans; indeed, the level of engagement from businesses and organisations wishing to collaborate with the Centre to support the S5GConnect hub programme is extremely encouraging.
We have several other live projects, spearheaded by our three founding partners. Like many other organisations, progress has been hampered by Covid-19 restrictions, but the teams have been adaptable, going the extra mile by installing equipment in their homes to mitigate the impact to timelines. As a result of their efforts, all three programmes have made significant progress and, by early next year, will be back on track.
The projects are:
- A rural testbed at the University of Strathclyde is deploying a neutral host 5G network using shared spectrum and will develop the business case to support substantial and lasting improvements in fast, reliable connectivity in rural areas.
- An urban innovation district at the University of Glasgow will deliver a scalable platform to enable testing of 5G use cases and network techniques in an urban context.
- Infralink, an infrastructure project led by Scottish Futures Trust, is creating a national asset register and redefining best practice to facilitate and accelerate infrastructure deployment for the mobile industry.
These projects are at the heart of the Centre’s establishment and I’m really excited to track their development and of course see the results!
5G will transform how we communicate in all walks of life. I’m really proud of the impact and progress the Centre has made over 12 challenging months. Equally, I’m in no doubt about the difference the Centre will make to Scotland and I feel incredibly positive about the year ahead.
Watch this space for some exciting progress and announcements in the next few months. Our programmes will be sharing use case outcomes and enabling Scotland 5G future.
The Scotland 5G Centre Chair Julie Snell and Chief Executive Paul Coffey have been recognised as 5G trailblazers.
The accolade seeks to showcase the people who are setting the agenda 5G in the UK. According to Ericsson, Julie and Paul are ‘catalysts’ –pushing the boundaries of connectivity, leading 5G programmes through investment and experimentation.
Julie Snell said the award demonstrates the Centre is making real impact. She added: “It also highlights the relevance of the research being done across the 5G sector which ultimately will have a lasting, positive influence on our economic recovery.”
Paul Coffey said: “To achieve this recognition in the Centre’s first year of operation is a testament to how far we have come. Our three founding projects are making excellent progress and we launched the Scotland 5G Connect programme which will deliver even higher levels of regional collaboration and support.”
About Ericsson Trailblazers
Britain has never needed 5G more. 5G connectivity has the potential to transform the way we live and work for the better, fast-tracking the UK’s economic recovery and enabling the use of game-changing technology in every field.
That’s why Ericsson is showcasing the work of people setting the 5G agenda. Their goal is to shed a light on the important projects that are gaining momentum and to inspire people about what 5G can do to change their lives and businesses.
More info here.
ESA Funding Call – Scotland 5G Webinar
SCOTLAND 5G WEBINAR – MONDAY 28 SEPTEMBER
- The key to unlocking funding from space agencies?
Do you work in 5G terrestrial or satellite communications? Are you seeking funding to demonstrate a business idea that relates to how the convergence of these technologies might benefit the logistics sector?
If yes, then please attend the webinar hosted by The Scotland 5G Centre on Monday 28 September at 0930 hrs.
Scotland is already carving out a reputation for itself in space technology as some of these examples below demonstrate:
- Space Hub Sutherland, near Tongue in the far north of Scotland, will be Scotland’s first space port for the launch of satellites.
- Shetland Space Centre plans to build and operate a satellite launch site and a ground station in Unst, Shetland. Its aim is to have a satellite launch facility in place by late 2021.
- Skyrora designs, manufactures and deploys rockets to clear the way for small satellite manufacturers looking to access space.
- Scotland is already seen as a hub for satellite activity, with Glasgow building more satellites than anywhere else outside the US. Read more about this here.
During the event on 28 September, our CEO Paul Coffey will facilitate a session with high profile representatives from the European and UK space agencies, and the Department for Culture Media and Sport.
These organisations have joined forces to launch a funding call to encourage further developments to enhance the UK’s logistics sector – from rail to ports, from DPD to Amazon. Companies, including SMEs, are being invited to submit ideas for demonstration projects focusing on the development and pre-operational sustainable downstream services – before 15 December 2020.
Specific ‘worked examples’ in the webinar will cover:
- Transport and Logistics (Network Rail)
- An introduction to Smart Ports (North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence)
- 5G and Urban Mobility (Ferrovial)
The session will close with a discussion about potential projects in Scotland – and next steps to increase collaboration – all with S5GC at the helm.
Those attending will gain an invaluable insight about the opportunities arising from the increasing convergence of terrestrial and satellite communications – and why 5G capability is a crucial element that will help inform and strengthen their bids.
You will also learn more about Scotland’s interest and expertise in these technologies – particularly with regard to the potential benefits for our rural communities – and how the Scotland 5G Centre is already working to bridge the gap between academia, industry and government bodies.
Paul Coffey, CEO, The Scotland 5G Centre, said: “COVID-19 has reaffirmed how important logistics companies are in keeping us connected and providing vital services like food to people’s homes and medical deliveries to people’s hospitals.
“The development of 5G is central to improving convergence between terrestrial and satellite communications and Scotland is well-placed to help organisations with innovative ideas to capitalise on these opportunities.
“During the webinar we will explain where the opportunities are, talk about the current projects in Scotland and explain how they secured funding that helped turned their early ideas into reality. This is another example of how the Scotland 5G Centre is working to close the gap between academia, industry and government bodies to accelerate 5G deployment.”
Sign up here.
£4m Scottish Government investment to launch 5G innovation hubs
£4m Scottish Government investment to launch 5G innovation hubs to drive economic growth across Scotland
- The Scottish Government has today confirmed a £4m funding package to support the establishment of a network of hubs to accelerate the adoption of 5G
- The Scotland 5G Centre to launch national network of hubs as announced in the Programme for Government, starting in Forth Valley
The Scotland 5G Centre (S5GC) will today (September 17th, 2020) launch its S5GConnect Programme, delivering the next stage of the Scottish Government’s 5G strategy with a series of hubs, as announced in the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government. The Hubs will support economic growth through the deployment and adoption of 5G services across the country, supported by a £4m investment from the Scottish Government.
The Connect Programme will help bridge the gap between academia, industry and government bodies to accelerate 5G deployment and the adoption of 5G services to realise its economic and societal potential for Scotland, and enable businesses, organisations and people to reap the benefits of this new connectivity platform.
The S5GC is working and collaborating to build on Scotland’s existing Innovation Centres and government initiatives to accelerate the post pandemic recovery and address the digital gap that has been highlighted as key to ensuring Scotland’s business sectors, health care and education can thrive in the new economic environment
Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Energy, Connectivity, and the Islands will later this morning, at an online event ,discuss plans to create a network of S5GConnect Hubs across Scotland as part of the Programme for Government, to an audience of businesses, academic institutions, and public sector organisations with an interest in 5G.
The S5GConnect Hubs will promote innovation and investment, focussing on sectors relevant to their local areas. The Hubs will work with mobile operators and private network providers to accelerate regional 5G networks, offer a private network with advanced capabilities, as well as access to an accelerator facility and mentoring schemes.
To reflect the importance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to the Scottish economy, the hubs will also provide specific support packages for small businesses. They will support SME engagement where they can develop, prototype and test real-world experiments and use cases over a 5G innovation platform, offer one-to-one consultancy and professional support to develop and scale businesses.
Combined, the hubs will aim to enhance Scotland’s overall connectivity by building a national infrastructure, creating momentum that establishes the entire country as a global leader in 5G technologies.
Scotland’s Connectivity Minister, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, said:
“The 5G revolution presents a significant opportunity for us in the years ahead, and seizing such opportunities is particularly important as we look to build the economic recovery following the lockdown required to suppress the COVID-19 virus. A study conducted by Deloitte in 2019 found that harnessing enhanced 4G and 5G connectivity could increase Scotland’s GDP by more than £17 billion by 2035.
“The Scottish Government’s investment of £4m through the S5GConnect programme will enhance and widen digital connectivity in all parts of the country because we believe that it is through deploying next-generation technologies that we can create something special for businesses, families and communities.
“The Forth Valley Hub will initially focus on the delivery of digital platforms that support job creation, skills programmes, and innovation support for SME and R&D activities. Its first project will aim to develop a green data recovery platform, which will support Scotland’s net zero economy.
“Potential locations for additional hubs across Scotland are being considered with plans for further rollout over the course of 2020 and 2021.”
Paul Coffey, CEO at The Scotland 5G Centre, said: “We are delighted to be launching the S5GConnect programme today and to be able to start the process of offering businesses across Scotland the opportunity to get involved in the acceleration of 5G deployment. The role of the Scotland 5G Centre is to act as a catalyst for bringing together industry, academia and the public sector and this programme allows us to do that. We are excited to begin working with industry partners from a variety of sectors on this initiative.
The first hub will be located in Alloa, Clackmannanshire serving the wider Forth Valley region, and builds on a partnership between Scotland’s International Environment Centre, which is part of the University of Stirling, and BT, the telecoms group.
“The Forth Valley Hub will initially focus on the delivery of digital platforms that support job creation, skills programmes, and innovation support for SME and R&D activities. Its first project will aim to develop a green data recovery platform, which will create a digital twin to support Scotland’s net zero economy.
“5G deployment has commenced, but the technology is still nascent – and some of the new use cases are still a few years away. The S5GConnect Hubs will play a key role in accelerating that process and making the potential of 5G a reality. They will think nationally, but act locally, bringing together global and national priorities with local expertise through the reach of existing regional centres and organisations.
“We are working in tandem with the national network of development agencies and enterprise accelerators to establish these facilities quickly. This is a hugely exciting development for Scotland and the wider UK 5G ecosystem and we look forward to announcing more hubs in the near future.”
Find out more about the S5GConnect Programme.
Infralink – uniting organisations to accelerate mobile roll out
Infralink has announced its new collaboration involving Scottish Futures Trust (SFT), Connected Places Catapult, global legal firm DWF and IT and telecoms consultancy FarrPoint. It aims to accelerate the installation of 4G and 5G networks across the country.
Check out the article in the Scotsman to find out more
Cisco and Strathclyde join forces to empower rural communities
5G New Thinking, a consortium led by Cisco with principal partner University of Strathclyde, has announced a first-of-its kind project to empower rural and poorly connected communities to build their own commercially viable and sustainable 5G wireless networks.
The project, titled 5G New Thinking, will be run in partnership with the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and with community and civic partners in the Orkney Islands, Borderlands and Northern Ireland. It brings together diverse partners to develop the tools, processes and business models that mean rural and poorly connected communities can rapidly establish next generation and 5G connectivity for local benefit. This is a very different approach.
5G New Thinking will help by providing a practical how-to guide for rural communities looking to capitalise on this opportunity and invest in local connectivity. By developing this replicable and flexible approach, the project aims to help poorly connected communities build commercially sustainable, next generation networks using 5G technologies. The Scotland 5G Centre will play an active part in promoting the how-to-guides and showing how this approach can be replicated in other parts of Scotland and the UK.
Find out more on the UK5G website.
S5GC features in UK5G Innovation Briefing No 3
UK5G has delivered a new 60-page special on the state of the UK’s 5G rollout with a particular emphasis on the accomplishments and lessons learned from the Rural Connected Communities 5G Testbeds & Trials. This is the third edition and features a Q&A with Paul Coffey setting out how he believes Scotland can be a world leader in 5G. Take a look.
S5GC supporting DIT in the USA
The Scotland 5G Centre is supporting the UK Government’s Department for International Trade (DIT) with Innovation IntrodUKtions – a 2-day virtual trade mission with 20 UK based companies pitching to the telecom innovation ecosystem on the 15th and 16th July 2020.
The two-day event will include pitching sessions to hardware and telco scouts from the Telecom Council, Silicon Valley’s leading telecom network. Attendees will have access to digital demos and a matchmaking platform for arranging one-on-one meetings with innovation scouts.
The Scotland 5G Centre’s Chair, Julie Snell, will be hosting a fireside chat along with Ros Singleton, Chair of the UK5G Advisory Board, Mohammad Lari, Head of Cross-Government and International Coordination 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme at DCMS, and Michel Sabatier, Business Development Director at WM5G. Julie will be addressing innovation in 5G, mobility, and immersive tech. The Scotland 5G Centre will also be supporting two Scottish based companies who will be pitching:
- QIoT – an end to end IoT company who specialise in remote access in healthcare sector by connecting medical devices such as inhalers and EpiPen’s with IoT technology to allow monitoring and reporting of real time usage (www.qiot.co.uk); and
- DDK Positioning – providers of high accuracy GNSS corrections service, currently working with American Partners Iridium Communications LLC to deliver this over their satellite network. (https://www.ddkpositioning.com/)
Attendance to this event is free of charge. To find out more and register go click here .
5G to support Scotland’s fourth industrial revolution
5G can underpin the next revolution in Scotland’s manufacturing base, with the development of a first-of-its-kind, private testbed at a pioneering R&D facility acting as the initial step, according to industry experts.
Although still in its formative stages, 5G is expected to be a critical part of a range of new concepts in manufacturing, such as the live streaming of engineering instructions to machines, machine-to-machine communication, and the implementation of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) – also known as the fourth industrial revolution.
In July 2019 Ofcom decided to open up ‘shared spectrum’, allowing individuals and organisations to create their own private mobile networks. Access to state-of-the-art infrastructure will allow manufacturers to trial new business models, technologies and concepts, by connecting equipment, monitoring data in real-time, and supporting the application of machine learning algorithms.
5G experts said that, in practice, this should enable factories to operate more efficiently, safely, and with greater autonomy.
Malcolm Brew, 5G senior research fellow at the University of Strathclyde, said: “5G means different things to different people, but in an industrial context is much more than just another number – it is going to be very different to its predecessors. While it is not yet fully baked, 5G will help manufacturers break the mould and create a lot of opportunities for new applications and even business models. The use of Ofcom’s ‘shared spectrum framework’ policy will be a major enabler in building new private 5G networks, and also bring opportunities for featuring shared radio access with other mobile operators and vendors, using neutral hosting strategies.
“Through a network of networks – whether they are Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or LoRaWan – next-generation connectivity can help manufacturers securely integrate their existing technologies to link millions of devices, which will give them much better visibility of their processes and equipment. Access to regular information, without relying on third parties, will help them be much nimbler, tracking assets to drive efficiencies in the production cycle, supporting health and safety for staff, and securely store data on site.
“The potential benefits extend far beyond individual factories. With interaction between public and private networks, manufacturers could understand the provenance of all the parts and materials they use, supporting efficient methods of production such as just-in-time manufacturing and having a much closer understanding of their supply chains. Ultimately, our aim is to find out whether these new ways of working are feasible and whether 5G’s potential is worth the hype.”
Paul Coffey, CEO of the Scotland 5G Centre, added: “The use of 5G in this way underlines how very different it will be to 4G and its previous iterations, and Scotland has the opportunity to be at the forefront of the seismic changes that it will sweep through manufacturing and other sectors in the years ahead. The Scotland 5G Centre is here to accelerate the deployment and adoption of 5G infrastructure and services, realising its economic and societal potential for Scotland and enabling all types of businesses to reap the benefits of this new technology.”
As a first step, a consortium of partners – comprising of the Scotland 5G Centre, University of Strathclyde, and the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS), which is operated by Strathclyde – is developing a next generation network at the NMIS specialist technology centres, the Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) and Lightweight Manufacturing Centre (LMC), in Renfrewshire.
Planned to be deployed in six months’ time, it will trial the use of 5G in a manufacturing context and is expected to be the UK’s first industrial application of 5G. Acting as an exemplar for others to follow, once use cases are proven, it is anticipated they will be adopted by manufacturers across the country, creating their own pop-up private networks.
Paul Coffey said: “The development of a private 5G network at NMIS facilities is an important first step towards the wider adoption of the next generation of connectivity in Scottish manufacturing. Ultra-low latency, high-bandwidth telecommunications will underpin many of the technologies which will define the next industrial revolution – but we need an appropriate environment to test, develop and prove use cases and this initiative will serve exactly that purpose.”
Danny McMahon, metrology and digital team lead at the AFRC, added: “The application of 5G to manufacturing is still very new – the full benefits haven’t yet been realised and there is little understanding of what the return on investment might be. With the creation of this new private network we’re aiming to see what value can be unlocked with state-of-the-art connectivity and prove the use cases that many people have talked about, but are still to be delivered. We will then be able to advise industry what is and is not possible and practical for them to adopt.
“Manufacturing sites have huge amounts of data; but, to get the most out of it, you need to have access to the data as close to real-time as possible. 5G enables that through ultra-low latency and rapid data transfer, in theory, helping you to understand what has happened as soon as an instruction is processed or a piece of equipment breaks down, for example. While the network will initially be hosted at the AFRC and LMC, it will go on to form a key part of NMIS’s offering in supporting the adoption of advanced manufacturing techniques across Scotland.”
Vodafone’s 5G impact report aligns with the Scotland 5G Centre’s thinking
Research out on Monday 29 June 2020, commissioned by Vodafone and authored by Matthew Oakley, highlights how the 5G “revolution” could help transform businesses across sectors, including manufacturing and retail.
Commenting on the findings of Vodafone’s report on 5G, Paul Coffey, CEO of the Scotland 5G Centre, said: “The findings in Vodafone’s report very much align with the many economic and societal benefits we believe 5G can bring to communities across Scotland. Through the creation of new companies and products, along with better access to job opportunities and public services, 5G will be very different to what has come before and will have a transformational impact. To become a global leader, Scotland has to be at the vanguard of infrastructure deployment and development, as well as the trial of new use cases.
“To support that aim, we are planning to create a network of digital hubs across the country. These will provide a platform that enables innovation, leading to new products, processes, and adoption of these services at scale. The innovation enabled by 5G will be critical in the months and years ahead as we look to aid economic recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic, with Scotland offering the ideal place to develop applications and showcase what is possible anywhere in the world.”
Take a look here at Vodafone’s report.
Economic Recovery report highlights need for greater connectivity
The new report by the Scottish Government Advisory Group on Economic Recovery states that “The UK and Scottish Governments should mobilise investment in Scotland’s digital infrastructure, covering broadband and mobile networks, to build resilience and enhance exports”. Take a look at its other recommendations.
Scotland 5G Centre supports free online STEM learning
The Scotland 5G Centre is proudly sponsoring the University of Glasgow’s summer STEM Academy programme, an initiative designed to help school pupils learn about science, as well as share knowledge between academics and student teachers.
Now in its third year, STEM Academy will consist of 26 online workshops covering a variety of science and engineering topics, along with potential 5G applications, ranging from robotics to biodiversity.
The workshops are created by volunteers from some of Scotland’s top universities, including the University of Strathclyde, University of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt University and Edinburgh Napier University.
Over the course of the summer, the project will provide student teachers and pupils with industry and science experience related to 5G, develop 5G-related STEM activities that parents and students can use at home, and enhance the career opportunities of participants.
Paul Coffey, CEO of the Scotland 5G Centre, said: “STEM Academy is a great opportunity for everyone involved – whether you are a school student or academic – to engage with science and engineering and learn something new. We are proud to sponsor the programme and help engage communities with some of the 5G research that is already underway in Scotland.
“As well as engaging the next generation of engineers and scientists with the potential of 5G, we expect it to create partnerships between universities, schools and businesses, and provide students and teachers with the opportunity to become more familiar with 5G technology and its applications.”
The initiative began on Monday, 15 June 2020 and you can sign up at https://www.stemacademyscotland.org/
Dispelling the 5G myths: essential reading
A group of Scotland 5G Centre project partners and connections have published an excellent article using science to address 5G myths and paranoia.
Professor Bob Stewart (University of Strathclyde), Professor Muhammad Imran and Dr Yusuf Sambo (both University of Glasgow) have joined forces with Professor Rahim Tafazolli (University of Surrey) to effectively debunk six misconceptions about 5G.
Their article – ‘The truth is out there: Examining the science around 5G paranoia’ – has been published by the IEEE Communications Society in its ComSoc Technology News (CTN) journal.
As well as being an interesting read, the article offers an effective reference tool for debating with or reassuring other people. And as Professor Stewart points out, it must be the first IEEE ComSoc publication to mention pickled vegetables.
You can also read our own recent statement on 5G and health here.
Event, 28 May: A focus on 5G security
We’ve partnered with ScotlandIS and the Scottish Government’s Cyber Security team to organise an event on 5G security. The online event is the first step towards setting up a special interest group on this theme.
This first event – on Thursday 28 May at 9.30am – will look at key issues and also feature a facilitated Q&A panel session with:
Paul Coffey, Scotland 5G Centre
Greig Paul, Mobile Networks and Security, EEE, S5GC and Strathclyde University
Ciara Mitchell, ScotlandIS
Keith McDevitt, Cyber Security Integrator, Scottish Government
Further webinars on the 5G security theme are planned across the rest of the year, with focus and format determined by the conversations stimulated and the new partners introduced.
To book your place, please click here.
DCMS tackles 5G coronavirus myths
The UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has just published new guidance debunking myths about 5G and coronavirus (Covid-19).
The guidance states firmly there is no evidence of a link between 5G and coronavirus, pointing out that these theories have been rejected by scientific experts in the World Health Organisation and Full Fact, a UK-based independent fact checking charity.
As a further step towards these myths spreading, Twitter users who search for ‘5G coronavirus’ will now see a banner directing them to the new DCMS guidance.
* Read our own recent statement about 5G and health here.
Media coverage: 5G and health
‘Mobile connectivity has seldom been more important. 5G will play a critical part in its contribution to the wellbeing of our society and Scotland’s economy. In the situation we find ourselves, we should be embracing new technologies and innovative ways of working, not attacking them.’
Our interim director Derek Boyd was in The Times this week, not only dispelling 5G health myths, but pointing out that 5G connectivity has an important role in supporting wellbeing and healthcare improvements.
You can read the full article on The Times website.
You can also read our recent statement on 5G and health here.
The Scotland 5G Centre’s position on 5G and health
The Scotland 5G Centre is aware that some members of the public have concerns over the perceived health risks of 5G. In working closely with the Scottish Government, other devolved administrations and UK Government departments, we receive advice from Public Health England (PHE), the UK’s lead technical authority on this matter.
PHE’s current evidence indicates that there should be no consequence for public health. Overall exposure to radio waves when 5G is added to existing networks, or deployed in a new area, remains low relative to guidelines and, therefore, there should be no health implications.
For a full explanation of PHE’s position on 5G and health, you can find more information on the UK Government website.
As an organisation, the Scotland 5G Centre continues to track and act on the latest research and reports by the relevant global bodies.
Limits for exposure to electromagnetic fields have been established in internationally recognised guidelines produced by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).
The guidelines were updated in March 2020 and 5G levels are well within these limits. The ICNIRP has made a number of changes to ensure its testing keeps up with new technologies, such as 5G, and that they will not cause harm.
In fact, upon updating the guidelines, ICNIRP Chairman Eric van Rongen said: “We know parts of the community are concerned about the safety of 5G and we hope the updated guidelines will help put people at ease.”
For full details of the ICNIRP’s guidelines and its updates on 5G, visit the Commission’s website.
In the UK, Ofcom has recently undertaken a series of measurements on electromagnetic field emissions from equipment used to transmit mobile signals and other wireless devices, including frequencies used for 5G.
Measurements from 16 5G sites in 10 cities and towns across the country, focused on areas where mobile use is highest, showed that emissions at every site were a very small fraction of levels included in international guidelines. More information on Ofcom’s tests can be found on its website.
The body of currently available scientific and health evidence is conclusive: 5G does not pose a danger to human health. We are, therefore, satisfied that it should not be a concern to Scotland’s citizens.
Delivering Orkney’s energy future
Orkney is taking another step towards a carbon-neutral future with the development of a 5G-powered digital twinning system* to inspire people and businesses on the island to participate in the delivery of its new energy network.
Led by Heriot-Watt University’s ground-breaking GRID facility and supported by the Scotland 5G Centre, the project will develop a demonstrator that will create a virtual 3D environment that models Orkney and the different components in its energy system – from electric vehicles and domestic batteries, to generators and turbines.
The immersive simulator system will also build a virtual dashboard, which outlines some of the energy network’s key features, and model a live 5G data connection to key assets on the island.
5G-powered digital twinning system
Highly technical in nature, the use of decentralised energy networks and 5G infrastructure has largely been restricted to engineers and technology specialists. The demonstrator will be used to engage members of the public on Orkney and support their understanding of what can be achieved through new energy networks and the digital control enabled by 5G.
David Richardson, chief entrepreneurial executive at Heriot-Watt University, said:
“Our digital twinning system will demonstrate how Orkney’s new energy network will operate, what the different component parts are, how people can interact with it and collaborate to create a genuinely democratised energy system.
“It will be an engagement tool that helps people understand how they can get involved in helping the island maximise renewable energy and, ultimately, achieve a carbon neutral future. The system will show people what can be taken from the virtual world and made into a physical reality, helping communities to flourish with the use of renewable technology.”
Building on 5G RuralFirst
The project – expected to last an initial three months – builds on the 5G RuralFirst initiative already undertaken on Orkney and provides a foundation for the further use of 5G technologies on the island.
One of the Scotland 5G Centre’s flagship projects, Scotland 5G Rural Testbed – led by the University of Strathclyde and Cisco – is providing a 5G testbed on Orkney for a series of trials that could provide a pathway to move from the virtual into the real world ultimately delivering benefits for local communities and industries.
Gordon Ross, Innovation Strategist at Heriot-Watt University, added:
“There are ambitious projects already underway in Orkney to create a state-of-the-art distributed energy system, helping to secure an affordable, reliable and sustainable energy supply for the future.
“The future of energy is going to be defined by smart, distributed networks and micro-grids. For that to work to its maximum potential we need everyone to understand how it works and how they can get involved in making Orkney a ‘smart energy island’. The island is the ideal testing ground for principles that could be applied on a larger scale elsewhere.”
Derek Boyd, interim director at the Scotland 5G Centre, said:
“5G will be an integral part of enabling the smart energy systems of the future, delivering the ultra-reliable, low-latency connectivity that is required to manage these networks. We are working with organisations across Scotland to demonstrate its transformative potential.
“While the benefits of 5G are still to be understood for many people, this digital twinning project will go a significant way towards showcasing its potential and the positive impact the next generation of connectivity can have for society and the economy.”
Showcasing Scotland’s 5G potential and expertise
Scottish Government Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, commented:
“Given Scotland’s expertise in renewable energy, 5G technology will be integral to the creation of smart energy systems, and this exciting project demonstrates how 5G technology can support our island communities on the journey towards a carbon neutral future.
“I’m delighted that our Scotland 5G Centre is part of this fantastic collaboration, showcasing the innovative talent our universities and their partners possess.
“What’s also very appealing is that this project is designed to encourage understanding, listening and community engagement in what can often be seen as a very technical and specialist area. We know that 5G technologies have transformative potential in other areas such as healthcare and transport, and through innovative projects like this, we can illustrate the benefits that 5G can and will deliver for our industries and communities and the people within them.”
* A digital twin is a digital replica of a physical entity that can track data and performance metrics.
ITU Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning in 5G Challenge
ITU has launched its ITU Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning in 5G Challenge, a competition which is scheduled to run from now until the end of the year.
ITU has been at the forefront of exploring how to apply AI / ML in future networks including 5G networks and has already approved four specifications which form part of a toolkit to build Machine Learning into communication networks. Further standards are in the pipeline.
The Challenge builds on ITU’s standardisation efforts in AI / ML by adopting ITU’s AI/ML toolkit in 5G networks in the development of end-to-end solutions that will realise the full capabilities of AI / ML models in a 5G network.
Participation in the Challenge is free of charge and open to all interested parties from countries that are a member of ITU. Detailed information about the Challenge can be found in the document ‘ITU AI/ML 5G Challenge – Applying AI/ML in 5G networks. A Primer’, on the Challenge website.
Information relating to the Challenge, including a link to the form signalling your interest, is available at https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-T/AI/challenge/2020. Participants can register during March and April 2020.
S5GC partner DARES to think differently with drones
A project which aims to use drones to ensure that mobile communications remain accessible in disaster zones has had its first successful demonstration by our Wave 1 project partners at the University of Glasgow.
The Distributed Autonomous and Resilient Emergency Management System (or DARE) project took to the skies in the University of Glasgow’s Stevenson Building.
Over the last three years, the DARE research team has developed a system of portable, battery-powered communications nodes which use ultra-fast 5G networking to communicate with airborne drones to deliver wireless internet access to users on the ground. Once set up, the system runs autonomously, self-organising to deal with potential network and coverage problems and deliver reliable, high-speed internet access.
Technology for first responders
Ultimately, the researchers hope the technology will be available to first responders on the scene of terrorist attacks or natural disasters like earthquakes or tsunamis.
Communications towers are frequently damaged during large-scale emergencies, making it much more difficult for first aid teams and police and fire services to stay in touch with their bases and each other.
The technology could also be used to ensure access to communications in less critical circumstances, like large-scale concerts, where traditional networks often struggle to cope with providing service to every attendee.
DARE is led by the principal investigator Regius Professor Rahim Tafazolli from the University of Surrey in collaboration with the University of Glasgow, one of the Scotland 5G Centre’s founding partners, and the Universities of Kingston and Malaya.
The demonstration was attended by representatives from each of the partner universities, including Professor Muhammad Imran, Head of the Communications, Sensing and Imaging research group at the University of Glasgow’s James Watt School of Engineering and the Director of University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre Regius Professor Rahim Tafazolli. They watched as the team set up five network nodes around 200 metres apart which delivered a continuous 5G network signal to users via the drone.
Professor Muhammad Imran, one of the lead principal investigators on the DARE project, said: ‘We’re proud to have developed the system that we set out to build together three years ago, and we’re pleased that this demonstration was such a success with our partners.
‘The University of Glasgow’s 5G testbed system provides the robust infrastructure that pushes the boundaries of this transformative technology. This project will also feed into the Scotland 5G Centre’s Wave 1 projects for 5G use cases.’
The Scotland 5G Centre in the news
“For companies of all sizes, 5G is an opportunity to transform products, services and business models. Greater connectivity can help small and medium-sized enterprises reach new markets, encourage start-ups to develop new technologies, and inspire organisations to re-design how they work.
“It also opens up the potential for public sector organisations to re-invent how they operate.”
Our Interim Director Derek Boyd (pictured right) had an article in the Scotsman today (24 Feb), writing about how 5G can transform the nation’s public and private sectors.
You can read the full version at https://www.scotsman.com/business/5g-can-create-a-more-prosperous-connected-scotland-derek-boyd-1-5093673
The Centre also featured in a recent article in the Herald, when Derek Boyd was interviewed about our projects and other activity: https://www.heraldscotland.com/business_hq/18225698.5g-glasgow-test-bed-run-autonomous-vehicles-next-year/
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.”
S5GC Welcome Event: presentations
At the end of November, we held an S5GC welcome event with our three founding partners: the University of Strathclyde (which is also our host university), University of Glasgow and Scottish Futures Trust.
As well as thanking our partners for their support in setting up the Scotland 5G Centre, we wanted to start our work to build a 5G ecosystem in Scotland, connecting people and organisations who can help to realise the benefits. The event brought together over 90 5G researchers and specialists from S5GC Wave 1 projects, universities, businesses and the public sector.
Speakers at the event included our Interim Director Derek Boyd and representatives from our three founding partners. You can see their presentations by clicking on the links below.
Vision and Mission of the S5GC – Derek Boyd, The Scotland 5G Centre
Wave 1 Project 5G Rural Testbed – Professor Bob Stewart, University of Strathclyde
Wave 1 Project Infrastructure Deployment Accelerator – Sarah Eynon, The Scotland 5G Centre & Scottish Futures Trust
Wave 1 Project Innovation Districts – Professor Muhammad Imran, University of Glasgow
Scottish Futures Trust 5G Activity – Derek Graham & Bernard Dougherty, Scottish Futures Trust
Welcome to the Scotland 5G Centre
The new Scotland 5G Centre is a key part of the Scottish Government’s aspiration to position Scotland as a leader in 5G technology.
Announced as part of the Government’s Programme for Scotland 2019-20, the S5GC will be the national platform accelerating the adoption of 5G while realising its economic and societal potential for Scotland. It will play an instrumental role in delivering the Scottish Government’s 5G strategy.
Located in the heart of the Glasgow City Innovation District, we are working closely with businesses, researchers and the public sector across Scotland. The centre has kicked off three major projects, led by our founding partners University of Strathclyde, University of Glasgow and the Scottish Futures Trust.
These projects will focus on three different key elements in Scotland’s adoption of 5G technology:
- bringing connectivity to rural and remote areas to support businesses and communities
- creation of 5G testbeds in urban districts, to explore potential for business growth
- mechanisms for improving access to 5G infrastructure and assets
The executive team
The Scotland 5G Centre is hosted at the University of Strathclyde, with an interim team led by Director Dr Derek Boyd and Operations Director Dr Malachy Devlin. Both have a distinguished track record in driving new technologies.
Welcoming the setting-up of the Scotland 5G Centre in November 2019, Dr Derek Boyd said:
“5G will be a critical enabler for a host of new applications and will dramatically change the communications landscape; it’s great news that there is now a centre to provide a focal point in Scotland. It’s an exciting time as we now bring the Scotland 5G Centre into existence and start on a path to realise the benefits for Scotland.”
His colleague Dr Malachy Devlin added:
“This is an exciting time for wireless communications and in particular, 5G, which brings more than surfing the internet faster. 5G opens up the capability for new applications and more importantly the opportunity for new business models for operators and enterprises. I am delighted to be part of the Scotland 5G Centre to bring these benefits to Scotland at this pivotal time.”
Derek & Malachy are also supported by Sarah Eynon (Scottish Futures Trust) leading on public sector engagement and Michael Burns (University of Glasgow) leading on business development, and have also entered into a novel resource-sharing agreement with CENSIS (Scotland’s Innovation Centre for sensing, imaging and IoT technologies) on communications and marketing.
A £17bn boost for Scotland’s economy
A recent analysis by Deloitte, for the Scottish Futures Trust, showed that enhanced digital capability relating to wireless and mobile technologies such as 4G and 5G could add £17bn and around 160,000 net new jobs to the Scottish economy by 2035 and increase productivity per worker by £1600 pa.
According to the research, which helped shape the Scottish Government’s 5G strategy, launched in August 2019, a number of key economic sectors in Scotland could benefit from adoption of 5G technology, including:
- public services
- agriculture and aquaculture
- immersive content
- energy and resources
The S5GC’s work to deliver these benefits to Scotland and its businesses, communities and public sector now begins in earnest.
For more on the Scotland 5G Centre’s initial activity and aspirations, read Dr Derek Boyd’s blog: Getting our sleeves rolled up.
Want to know more?
- To see, the Scottish Government strategy on Forging our Digital Future with 5G, click here
- For the Deloitte Report on Scotland’s Digital Potential with Enhanced 4G and 5G Capability – including its economic impact analysis and more information on how it could benefit key economic sectors – click here
- For more info about 5GRuralFirst – the forerunner to one of the initial projects, and an early-stage testbed project for delivering 5G connectivity to rural businesses and communities, go to https://www.5gruralfirst.org
- A good general source of information on 5G news, events, opportunities and other developments is https://uk5g.org/