Brighton testbed looks to showcase 5G technology

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Last month a UK 5G testbed was launched to showcase some of the latest innovation and immersive technologies.

Last month the UK’s Digital Catapult, Coast to Capital LEP, Wired Sussex, and the University of Brighton came together to launch FuseBox in Brighton.

The new 5G testbed is intended to allow small businesses, based in and around Brighton on the UK’s south coast, to benefit from 5G mobile wireless communications, and provide a space to test and explore potential applications associated with 5G.

The facility looks to provide an environment where start-ups and scaleups can access “the most advanced digital technology solutions”, including an Immersive Lab, designed to help these businesses grow faster.

Digital Catapult and its partners are encouraging local companies to register to take part in using the testbed to develop their ideas and it’s intended to help meet the commitment, made in the Government’s Industrial Strategy, calling for the UK to become a world-leader in 5G technology.

Commenting Dr Jeremy Silver, CEO, Digital Catapult, said: “The 5G Brighton testbed will let companies experiment with new applications and services which take advantage of the unique nature of 5G. This is a major step forward in the wider roll out of this advanced technology, helping take the technology out of university labs and into the market.”

Speaking about the testbed to New Electronics Dritan Kaleshi, Lead Technologist (Future Networks, 5G Fellow), Digital Catapult, said, ”This is a significant development. It’s the first time that a
testbed has been developed to specifically see how we can bring innovation programmes and SMEs together, to not only better understand the technology, but see how companies engage with 5G and how they can use it to better align their technology roadmaps.”

“This is a significant development. To see how companies engage with, and use, 5G.”

Dritan Kaleshi

The UK government’s ambition to make the UK a world leader in 5G saw the publication, earlier this year, of the UK 5G Strategy report. Produced by the Digital Catapult it said that there was a clear recognition that a world-class digital infrastructure was a critical building block when it came to creating new opportunities for growth by ‘enabling new business models, opening up new opportunities for innovation and driving productivity across the economy.’

“5G offers significant opportunities for the UK, leading to new and imaginative deployment models across the spectrum,” said Kaleshi. “While we don’t have the manufacturing interests in 5G that economies like China and South Korea have, the UK is a world leader in terms of system architectures, systems integration, application development, cyber security and academic research into communications.”

According to Kaleshi, the UK’s 5G ecosystem, “Has real momentum going forward and is highly interconnected. It is composed of a wide and diverse range of players, from private sector companies, academic and research organisations, through to public-sector bodies.”

This ecosystem is growing around core stakeholders, with testbeds and trials already taking place and the UK is, according to Kaleshi, “largely in line with other leading countries efforts in 5G.” In fact, it is ranked alongside Germany as being among the
top 5 economies engaging with 5G.

“Activities in the UK span the entire mobile and wireless infrastructure and involve individual mobile technology blocks and software as well as end-to-end network system integration and testbeds,” said Kaleshi.“We believe that the testbeds that are appearing in the UK will ultimately scale-up to become fully deployed solutions.”

Further success will be reliant, however, on the ability to cross-innovate between academia, innovators and industry, where UK-bred R&D in 5G can be developed into real world deployable applications.

There are a number of key areas that have been identified as benefitting from the advent of 5G including manufacturing, healthcare and transport.