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First UK large-scale 5G testbed announced

DCMS announces The West Midlands Combined Authority has been selected to receive funding from their The Urban Connected Communities Project to become UK’s first large-scale 5G testbed.

Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton are set to become 5G hubs after winning the national competition.

The West Midlands Combined Authorities bid has an initial focus on the health, construction and automotive sectors, with its overarching ambition to help drive economic growth and benefit people’s lives through participation in new digital technologies and digitally transformed public services.

Subject to formal approval, initial plans include:

  • Hospital outpatient appointments and emergency consultations carried out remotely by video link not subject to droppage or latency barriers. As well as being more convenient for patients, this means they can play back their appointment at a later date or share it securely with a family member or carer to help inform their care.
  • “Connected Ambulances” – Paramedic crews at an incident could access specialist advice while they are at the scene, eg video conferencing with consultants or other clinical specialists. Live streaming of patient data from ambulance en route to hospital would help inform the immediate care patients receive on arrival.
  • Live streaming of CCTV footage from public transport buses, enabling immediate action against anti-social behaviour. “Intelligent cameras” using artificial intelligence (AI) to identify incidents could provide the opportunity for far greater coverage than is possible at present.

Autonomous vehicles will transform the way we travel, preventing major accidents, improving traffic flow and reducing energy consumption. The WMCA will partner with Jaguar Land Rover to facilitate real world testing of driverless cars.

Future Cities Catapult has embarked on a programme of work titled Hyperconnected to uncover the governance and business model challenges and opportunities which emerge when delivering such large-scale demonstrator projects to help inform and support the next generation of city-based projects.

Our White Paper Smart City Demonstrators – A Global Review of Challenges and Lessons Learned outlines best practices and lessons learned captured from existing demonstrator projects.

The Governance & Regulation report seeks to address some of the policy and regulatory challenges and opportunities that need to be considered when the public sector, regulators and commercial organisations work together.

And lastly, a comprehensive Playbook has been produced for asset owners, service providers, businesses, entrepreneurs and local authorities who wish to engage in deploying integrated city systems at scale.

Our research is free and can be downloaded from our project page.

A Hyperconnected workshop will be hosted at Urban Innovation Centre on 20th September on the subject of 5G testbed and demonstrators tailored for cities who are currently implementing or have ambitions to roll out and scale a 5G demonstrator in the future. Interested participants can register interest in attending.

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