Hi, my name is Andrew Fisher and I am the UK’s head of project delivery at Netmore, which is a multi-network Internet of Things (IoT) operator, connecting properties and providing open access 5G and LoRaWAN. I’m also proud to be involved with the 5G Connected Forest Project.
A typical day usually involves waking up around 6 AM and I usually try to go for a 30-minute walk before firing up the laptop. I work solidly until about 1 PM when I take a break to meditate. Sometimes I work from my garden office, but other times I’m out and about on our project sites around Nottinghamshire, which I much prefer after the isolation of Covid-19.
In Sherwood Forest, we’re using 5G to protect and promote areas of natural and cultural heritage. One example of this is placing drones in the trees to non-intrusively monitor the health of the forest. To do this, we need to be able to stream live data; we’re currently figuring out where to put the antennas. The engineers want them at the top of the tree but the RSPB who manage the nature reserve wants them at the bottom. It's part of my role to listen to both sides and figure out a solution where everybody is happy!
We’re also working with the county council and local enterprises to create what I believe is the UK’s first 5G serviced offices and to establish Nottinghamshire’s new Digital Innovation Centre at the Worksop Turbine offices.
We hope to showcase 5G and other digital innovations and act as a trial or reference site for businesses with new ideas and applications, especially around virtual and augmented reality. The centre also plans to work with local schools and colleges to increase career opportunities.
My job has been to prepare the centre for delivery. The building’s communication room needed to be completely stripped out. It was a real mess. It looked like a bad bowl of spaghetti! We replaced the old data cabinets and fitted them with new switches and core networks to enable us to deliver 5G, as well as boosting the fibre connection and enhancing the building’s Wi-Fi and telephony systems. Before they only had two public Wi-Fi radios but they’ve now got 40! I worked 18 days solid to make sure it was finished but I like a challenge and it’s great to see tenants already getting benefits from the work.
1. What do you enjoy most about working on the project? Working as a team to help others get the best out of technology!
2. What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve done in the name of 5G? Watching a room of people trying on augmented reality headsets for the first time at Sherwood Forest, where we’re trialling a 5G augmented reality visitor experience. We had good fun and humour in the process but I couldn’t stop thinking “how can this be happening?!”
3. What excites you most about the project? The capabilities and potential of 5G but also the work I’ve been doing with Blossom Homes—combining 5G IoT with some of their proof of concept experimental zero carbon building works—has been particularly innovative and exciting.
4. What would you like people to know about the project? That it is doing exactly what it says on the tin: connecting forests.
5. What’s the biggest benefit you think 5G will bring to the UK? It will protect people. It’s going to be a game-changer in many ways but especially for things like instant alerts and warnings from IoT sensors.