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Innovation Briefing Issue 9 | Project Roundup: MANY

  • 4 minute read
  • Published by Crispin Moller on 24 May 2022
  • Last modified 17 May 2022
With around 85 per cent of North Yorkshire classed as super sparse, many people would not think that a digital, data and technology revolution is taking place.

In the Yorkshire Dales, however, Mobile Access North Yorkshire has worked with and for residents to install a 5G network, developing innovations that can be delivered to the region and benefit the wider area.

In Coverdale, 5G has provided access to the latest technology advancements by providing a low latency network that delivers real time data.

On a basic level, it has  given the area fast and reliable broadband and a reliable mobile signal. this is something communities have told MANY that they have previously missed out on.

Local family the Browns said, ‘Young people tend to move away from Coverdale at working age but they are keen to move back when they are ready to start a family. It’s idyllic, a chocolate box of a place to live, but it doesn’t offer what families want.’

Engagement has been integral. Due to the pandemic this has mostly been online -  which is ironic when working in an area without reliable connectivity. MANY has overcome these problems. Ideas have been formalised, providing solutions to be delivered which are right for the different areas, whilst building a clear picture of how to deliver 5G into very rural towns. The team at Lancaster University Management School has developed an engagement toolkit to support future complex projects.

MANY focuses on four areas, all integral to North Yorkshire: Tourism, GP and hospital appointments, environmental monitoring, and mission critical communications.

Tourism is a £9 billion industry in Yorkshire. Although crippled by Covid, it is bouncing back quickly. 5G is now providing a digital quest to visitors at The Forbidden Corner, Leyburn, a labyrinth of tunnels, chambers, and follies in a four acre garden in the heart of Tupgill Park. Launching when they reopen in April, it is predicted to provide a ripple effect across rural businesses.

The project also explores the use of a helikite to provide temporary 5G coverage to an area which may experience temporarily high footfall during events. The Helikite Team, led by the University of York, has explored using the same technology in Land Rovers, which enable a local hotspot. This supports the project’s mission-critical communications, which focus on Category 2 Emergency Responders. Mountain rescue teams are now trialling real time data to enhance their search and rescue missions. 

The next two projects, led by North Yorkshire County Council, are more community focused. A key recommendation from the North Yorkshire’s Rural Commission report was to implement innovative technology solutions, in which MANY will play a significant role.

The 5G network is now supporting rural residents to stay independent for longer, by introducing video GP and hospital appointments alongside other communication tools. MANY report that this is enhancing their mental health and wellbeing, as well as reducing the NHS’s carbon footprint and saving time for patients and nurses.

Finally, the council is leading the environmental monitoring use case. This uses 5G to monitor the changing climate, enabling us to react early and prevent flooding. On a wider scale, it allows the The North Yorkshire SMART places project to learn and develop best practice, which can enhance plans to deliver better services, reduce cost and save resources.

Working tirelessly behind these is Quickline Communications: the lead technical team. Working with consortium partners, the team finds correct mast sites utilising WSDM software developed by the project, which now has a beam optimiser feature. Network monitoring developed via Lancaster University School of Computing has enabled the team to pinpoint problems. This has provided intelligence which has been fed back to suppliers.   

The work carried out has also involved collaborating with several Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), providing them with the chance to carry out in-field testing using the 5G standalone network.

Paul Howard, Technical Direct at D-Link explains, “Having access to the Quickline real-world network for testing has enabled D-Link to ensure our 5G CPE and ODU devices perform with greater throughput and stability which will, in turn, enable Quickline to deliver outstanding high speed internet to customers who have suffered from poor connectivity for too long.”

Following a successful bid to extend the project, MANY’s work will continue later into 2022. The team will continue to work with the community, both in Coverdale and a new location of Arkengarthdale.

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