5G industry news

Nine ambitious startups join Digital Catapult’s 5G Testbed Accelerator programme to unleash their potential with 5G

  • 5 minute read
  • Published by Lucy Woods on 14 Sep 2020
  • Last modified 14 Sep 2020
As one of the leading technical authorities in 5G in the UK, Digital Catapult created the 5G Testbed Accelerator programme to empower discovery, development and testing for innovative products and services with 5G.

For the first time, the 5G Testbed Accelerator programme has been themed to focus on the creative industries because of the unique opportunities that 5G presents to the sector, particularly for companies working with audio and video streaming technologies, immersive (AR/VR/MR) technologies and real-time production technologies. Low-latency high-bandwidth capabilities will make download and processing speeds five times faster than 4G; enhanced mobile broadband will enable higher data volumes than 4G, opening up diverse opportunities for VR and AR, as well as ultra HD streaming, and the ability to connect thousands of devices simultaneously will transform mass participation activities.

The latest programme cohort is drawn from across the UK’s creative sector, with content focusing on music, theatre, and immersive storytelling taking centre stage. 

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK creative industries have been particularly hard hit because live performances and events have been unable to take place. The 5G Testbed Accelerator programme has also adapted to focus on how it can support companies in the creative industries to create alternative products and experiences to bring experiences to new, and existing audiences, no matter the location. 

Dritan Kaleshi, Head of 5G Technology at Digital Catapult, said: “We have uncovered exceptionally strong, exciting creative talent to join us on this collaborative journey over the next six months. The transformational potential of this technology on creative endeavours really can not be understated, not just for content production, but in how it will affect existing production, distribution and consumption models.

5G’s capabilities present a unique opportunity for the performance, media, music and entertainment industries, and this programme helps companies offer exciting 5G enabled experiences, allowing the entertainment sector to evolve and delight new audiences, no matter their location.” 

The nine teams are: 

Bushra Burge Studio - BB Studio is creating an immersive VR experience using mindful reflection to create personal, interactive stories that fuse multicultural elements of meditation. 

KAVE Immersive - a live music performance-based film production company that specialises in multi-camera production, live streaming and audio recording for conventional and 360° / VR. 

Overview Ark - a creative studio specialising in multi-reality events which blend elements of Secret Cinema with live streamed VR to create a platform for musicians, brands and artists to bridge the gap between real and virtual events for their audiences. 

photogram.ai - a computational photography startup bringing its product - the Alice Camera™ - to content creators and photographers. Mixing AI with traditional photography, a single device processes images using 5G to enable streaming of high quality video content from various social media platforms. 

Reality Check Productions - a content software development studio for innovative uses of immersive tech for performance and storytelling. It has created The Round, an innovative new platform built with motion and volumetric capture experts and theatre visualisation specialists for theatre makers to create and distribute live performances in AR delivered directly to audiences’ homes around the world.

Rippla - enabling real time collaboration between musicians, and bringing audiences unique, engaging and exclusive music events, live streamed at home and into a live venue to create unforgettable music experiences.  

THAYAHT - recreating the rebellious spirit of the 1919 Chelsea Arts Club “Dazzle Ball” at the Royal Albert Hall this collaborative, VR performance piece brings together the audience with professional dancers for a shared mixed reality experience that combines an immersive experience, a live virtual reality experience and a costumed ball featuring a live performance streamed live.  

To Play For - Charisma.ai’s app brings a new dimension to storytelling on mobile devices, transforming graphic novels into interactive experiences where the story and the characters adapt and react depending on how you play. 

Relative Motion - developing a creative production model for high-definition live-streaming of theatrical performances, made for the VR space, that offer live connections between performers and audiences in an entirely new way.

The startups now have access to COVID-safe, industry-leading 5G testbed facilities in London and Brighton to test their solutions on a 5G network, as well as remote, bespoke support from Digital Catapult technology expertise throughout the development phase, supporting the companies to differentiate their value propositions or refocus their business models by exploring how 5G can have a positive, disruptive impact on their sector.

Previous 5G Testbed Accelerator Programme participants include Mativision, the market leader in pioneering interactive live-streamed 360 degree VR for live events (like MTV’s VMAs) that used 5G to reduce broadcast latency from 45 to just four seconds and raised over £60,000 through the 5G Smart Tourism project, Sceenic which developed Watch Together, an app that brings audiences together in a unified experience enabling them to watch and communicate using the same app, and has since worked with BT Sport and La Liga, and ori, which used the 5G testbed to accelerate the development of its solution that makes edge computing more accessible to the wider development community, enabling organisations to harness the advantages mobile edge computing provides.

Find out more about Digital Catapult’s 5G Testbed Accelerator programme here.

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