- UK government is part-funding nine 5G projects
- Five are set to deploy Open RAN architectures
- Project partners include telecom tech startups and established vendors
Open RAN architectures are to deployed as part of five projects announced last week that are focused on how 5G can benefit UK businesses.
The UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced an investment package for a total of nine 5G projects, with government funding comprising part of the overall budgets of each project. The nine projects are the latest to be selected as part of the government’s 5G Create scheme. (See £28 million to trial innovative new uses of 5G to improve people’s lives.)
Of the nine, five will put Open RAN technology to use, a point the DCMS team highlighted as part of its efforts to drive “greater diversification in the supply chain” (now that Huawei has been ousted from the UK’s 5G network sector), efforts that also led to various engagements with NEC at the tail end of 2020. (See UK government embraces Open RAN, cosies up to NEC and Japan.)
The five are:
The West of England Combined Authority (WECA)’s 5G Logistics project programme will “develop 5G products and services to support operations at Bristol Port and Gravity Smart Campus and demonstrate a smart and dynamic port environment. The project will focus on security, traceability, and tracking of goods within and across extendable virtual boundaries – and between public and private networks.”
The project brings together a wide range of partners, including the Universities of Bristol and Cardiff, neutral host and site installation specialist Cellnex Connectivity Solutions, Bristol City Council and the Bristol Port Company, Cambridge-based enhanced packet core developer AttoCore, Maritime Transport Ltd, Unmanned Systems, cloud native Open RAN systems vendor Airspan Communications, This is Gravity Ltd, telecom hardware and software vendor ADVA Optical Networking and Davies Turner & Co., as well as WECA.
The University of Bristol is well known for its communications networking R&D programs and initiatives, covering radio access, core and optical transport capabilities.
5G Logistics will get just over £3 million of its £5.27 million budget from the UK government. For further details, see this press release.
Live and Wild: Filming with 5G
This project will test 5G’s capacity to support the needs of the documentary film industry in the UK. Filming will take place in a variety of extreme locations and weather conditions across the UK designed to test 5G’s performance to its limit including caving in the Yorkshire Dales, sea cliff climbing in North Wales and ultra-running across Britain.
The project will monitor 5G’s resilience, adaptability, reliability and image quality as it livestreams high end video content. It will also monitor transfer time and performance of raw batch footage sent directly from remote film locations back to the post-production hub.
Leeds, UK-based Candour TV, which normally sends video from location to the editing suite using physical storage media, wants to “send rushes over the air.”
To do that from remote locations, aql, a provider of communications services and supporting technologies for enterprises and government bodies with particular expertise in backhaul connectivity, will build a base station that can be transported to locations on the back of a Land Rover.
The Live and Wild project will get £1.25 million of its £2.14 million budget from the UK government.
5G AMC 2
5G AMC 2 (Accelerate, Maximise and Create for Construction) will “explore how 5G can enable the use of data to maximise productivity of construction processes. The project will set up a private 5G network at construction firm BAM Nuttall’s regional office in Kilsyth, Scotland and a construction project in Shetland, using cameras, drones, mixed reality and IoT sensors to monitor construction process and track assets.”
Two private network 5G standalone sites will be built, both using n77 shared-access licence spectrum: For more details on the nature of the sites, see this project web page.
The project, which “seeks to lead in vendor diversification with core, radio and devices sourced from new and innovative companies,” is being led by construction company BAM Nuttall. Other members of the consortium are core system vendor AttoCore and the Building Research Establishment (BRE).
“The aim is that the project will be an enabler for digital solutions that improve construction productivity within BAM Nuttall and the wider UK construction industry. Helping to connect green power from far-flung parts of the UK is just an additional bonus,” according to the project members.
5G AMC 2 will get half of its £1.7 million budget from the UK government.
Cowes Week is a major annual sailing event held on the south coast of the UK, in the Solent between the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth: About 700 boats participate and the event normally attracts about 100,000 visitors.
The Connected Cowes project is looking at how 5G technology can create an immersive yacht racing experience for the sailing community and spectators in Cowes and online, and to widen the audience and appeal of the sport.
5G technology will be used to stream real-time virtual reality video from on-board yachts racing at events from Cowes across multiple classes throughout the summer. This will be used to create engaging content and enable an immersive teaching experience using 5G-powered VR as a gateway to the sport.
The project is being supported by a consortium of companies including aql (again).
Connected Cowes is getting 50% of its £1.65 million budget from the UK government.
The Eden Project, an environmental project and tourist attraction at the very south-west tip of the UK, is seeking to enhance the experience of visitors using augmented, virtual and mixed realities, while also streaming high-quality streaming video content via its social media channels.
“We are looking forward to testing just how 5G can help support our educational, arts and community programmes and provide new and exciting reasons for people to keep visiting us in person or virtually,” stated Dan James, the Eden Project’s Development Director. “The data collected through the 5G network will also help us manage the site and improve the visitor experience and our environmental performance.”
The Eden Universe is an 18-month pilot project with, once again, aql as a key technology partner. It is getting about £1.7 million of its total £3.3 million budget from the UK government.
- Ray Le Maistre, Editorial Director, TelecomTV
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