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: