5G industry news

Industrial 5G Testbeds + Trials

  • 3 minute read
  • Published by Simon Rockman on 2 Oct 2020
  • Last modified 9 Oct 2020
DCMS’s initial Use Case Trial in Worcester showed the benefits of 5G in a manufacturing environment. Now it is doubling down with projects that are aimed at providing global benefits in advanced mass production techniques.

The comprehensive set of research and development programmes DCMS  has funded has helped to build the UK’s leadership in 5G.  The initial six trials have spawned the Rural Connected Communities programme, the Industrial programme and 5G Create, which is an open call for any kind of innovation projects based on 5G. All the projects benefit from what we have learned in those original six.

The success of the Worcester project, which showed significant improvements in efficiency and productivity at the Worcester Bosch boiler factory, led the programme to partner with Digital Catapult to consider how specific vertical industry sectors could benefit from coordinated innovation investment in exploring the application of 5G technology to their digitisation strategies.

That research and engagement, together with the Made in 5G report (Digital Catapult, July 2019) began the Industrial 5G project and has led to the 5G Enabled Manufacturing and the 5G Enabling Connectivity for Digital Engineering (ENCODE) projects being established alongside the national Industrial 5G Coordination project led by Digital Catapult. Here we look at these projects’ plans for the two-year duration.

Industrial 5G Coordination Project

5G adoption can accelerate digitalisation across a range of industries, but this is not yet a well-trodden path. It’s crucial to foster more focused, and seeded, collaborative activities to build an ecosystem of 5G-enabled solution providers focused on meeting the needs and requirements of these industries. To achieve this requires a coherent technically-underpinned coordination to bring together lessons learned across individual projects, trials and pilots focusing on 5G in industry so that they benefit the entire ecosystem.

The Industrial 5G Coordination project, funded by DCMS’s 5GTT Programme and run by Digital Catapult, is set up to deliver this programmatic approach for cross-project technical coordination. It is seeding, advancing and sharing technical learnings on the deployment and use of 5G in industrial contexts, and is sharing what has been learnt about innovation challenges and how to address them across multiple projects. The Industrial 5G Coordination project has now established, in partnership with 5G-ENCODE and 5GEMUK projects, Technical Forums and Innovation Forums specifically to address the need for effective guidance and support for the practical aspects of:

  • Deploying 5G in industrial environments
  • Exploiting 5G characteristics to create integrated advanced digital infrastructure fit for advanced digitalised processes 
  • Achieving interoperability and coherence within and between 5G systems; integrating legacy systems with 5G service architecture or operating on top of it; and across regulatory domains
  • Ensuring provision for standardised, scalable, high-performing advanced digital infrastructure that can be adapted to numerous applications.

The objective is to approach these publicly funded projects as one programme with national-level outcomes, over and above single projects with individual, however significant, outcomes, in order to enable a faster development of the ecosystem, more impactful interventions, and to de-risk project activities through better sharing of technical and innovation responses to common challenges.

This article was first published in Issue 3 - UK5G Innovation Briefing - which you can access here.

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