Scotland 5G Centre On The Global Digital Stage
The eyes of the world watched as the combination of centuries of tradition and ceremony combined to celebrate the life of Queen Elizabeth and lay her to rest.
It’s impressive that the world-first for live TV news using shared radio spectrum was made possible by an innovative private network, designed and deployed by experts from the software-defined radio (StrathSDR) team, one of The Scotland 5G Centre’s funded projects, and part of the University of Strathclyde.
Scotland not only became the backdrop of the action, its innovators enabled the communication of high-definition pictures to communicate the historic final journey from Balmoral to Edinburgh Airport and onto London. The 5G wireless solution, was deployed in quickly, avoided the safety hazard of cables running across the airport runway and guaranteed a high-quality service. The collaboration between innovation centres, academia and business allowed the images to be captured and beamed across the globe using advanced connectivity.
The stakes for this 5G application were high and it is one of the case studies of pioneering innovation included in a masterclass session entitled ‘Future Proofing Scotland Through 5G’ at the Digital Scotland conference today (25th October) where I will take part.
The StrathSDR team responsible for the Queen’s broadcast to millions around the world is one of the projects funded by The Scotland 5G Centre for £1.9 million. The return on this investment is currently sitting at approximately £2.5 million. The real value is the pivotal role the Scotland 5G Centre played in making this innovation happen. As a national entity, we were able to support the ecosystem and ensure the collaboration between academia, industry and the licence operator Ofcom took place. The nine hours of live coverage with no reported interference is the perfect global advertisement for the importance and relevance of 5G wireless technology. We are currently seeing further developments to support rural communities using local shared spectrum 5G network and low-cost broadcasting. These all open up opportunities for business and communities in rural areas to become connected and not left behind.
We are also continuing to support innovation and research projects with one of our other founding partner, the University of Glasgow, to develop potential commercial and business applications around sensing and imaging. 5G enables the creation of a super-immersive learning experience using a remote-operated robotic arm. One of the many use cases is learning conducted across the globe where some of the commercial opportunities lie in the field of small-sized nano-scale devices for the electronics industry.
We are constantly orchestrating a network of partners to explore how 5G and its advanced connectivity can deliver innovation across diverse industries and sectors. Our network of S5GConnect hubs allow us to bring together SMEs, entrepreneurs, enterprise and regional agencies across rural and urban centres across Scotland.
With seven innovation hubs planned to be open this year, we are bringing 5G testbeds to new cities and rural locations to help local businesses access the expertise needed for digital transformation. The use of digital and data technologies will be available to overlay across key sectors such as: health, logistics, agritech and manufacturing to name a few. This technology is key to evolve processes and encourage sustainable progress.
These hubs allow demonstrations of 5G capabilities and are staffed by experts to guide businesses on uses in their own business setting. We are already seeing digital technology used to create smart factories with sensors connected to utilise remote tracking and automation technologies. The health sector is looking at immersive technologies to support software development training for adult carers.
The collaboration across academia, experts, regional enterprise centres and business is vital to our success. Our work aims to link experts and create connections and scale up opportunities that streamlines partnerships and encourages fast paced and sustainable progress.
Technology and know-how engineered and tested in Scotland has been given international recognition – here’s to it remaining on the global stage.
Julie Snell, Chair, The Scotland 5G Centre.