Verizon ties up with the UK’s Digital Catapult to surface innovative 5G concepts

via Flickr © $hrink (CC BY-SA 2.0)

via Flickr © $hrink (CC BY-SA 2.0)

  • The new programme will use Verizon’s London 5G and edge computing capabilities 
  • Verizon claims there are a load of creative new apps ready to take advantage of the underlying technology
  • Private 4G/5G radio networks are currently all the rage 

Verizon and UK government-backed technology incubator, Digital Catapult, are joining forces to launch a 5G accelerator programme in the UK. It will use 5G and edge facilities at Verizon’s London 5G Lab and the idea is to get retail and brand partners to  work directly with UK start-ups and technology specialists to cook up prototypes for applications involving 5G and the edge and produce PoCs (proofs of concept). 

This new programme will use Verizon’s 5G and edge computing capabilities in its London 5G Lab and production studio which  offers a 5G-enabled environment where organisations can develop and test 5G applications and experiences, and explore the boundaries of 5G network technology. The production studio, RYOT, also lets innovators produce premium quality, 3D content including virtual and augmented reality experiences, such as virtual events.

Digital Catapult’s network of 5G testbeds in London and Brighton are connected to the 5G University Test Network (5GUK) through the 5GUKExchange

John Crawford, General Manager Innovation and 5G, at Verizon International, says he’s responsible for driving the adoption of 5G internationally and the idea behind the collaboration with Digital Catapult is that Verizon has brought in the experience and 5G smarts and so can help marry them to what users want to do.” 

“The evolution of all the technologies coming together is where we’ve been going for a while,” he says. “5G is right at the front of all our exec presentations. It’s absolutely our mandate. And it’s the most exciting place in the industry.“

“There are a whole load of creative new apps, new solutions and new thinking to take advantage of the underlying technology. Suddenly you can do things that you were never able to do before,” he says. “You get people saying ‘Oh, if we can marry that to that, then we can do this.’ That’s what it’s all about. If you show them one or two things in the lab, they’ll often have a lightbulb moment and come out with a completely different idea for what they want to do.”

What’s the mood of the moment? What sort of things are user companies interested in developing for 5G?

“Private spectrum,” says John.  “We’re seeing a heck of a lot of interest in private networks and LTE/5G is where we’re at the moment. A lot of customers come in looking for a 5G capability and sometimes a 4G/5G capability will suffice [for the application].” 

“The biggest segment at the movement is in manufacturing and we’re seeing a lot of interest there. It’s IoT on steroids and often involves  lots of machinery being moved about inside a factory.  Autonomous vehicles is another big area. 

“But the huge one is video. One customer we have is trying to deal with 8000 cameras across its estate, generating 2 petabytes of data per month over a 5G network. Another popular sort of applications might involve putting a £50 dumb camera in front of a machine that you need to monitor. You can put intelligence into it so you can react to what’s appearing on all the dials, but you can also do clever thighs like monitor its vibrations and so on and forestall expensive breakdowns and materials waste.”

Digital Catapult has been active since 2013 and claims to have attracted over £4bn in investment since its launch.

Email Newsletters

Sign up to receive TelecomTV's top news and videos, plus exclusive subscriber-only content direct to your inbox.