In September 2018, West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) successfully won the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sports (DCMS) competition to accelerate the roll out of 5G and be the lead partner of the DCMS 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme Urban Connected Communities (UCC) Project.
They setup West Midlands 5G Ltd (WM5G); UK’s first regional 5G testbed, operating across the West Midlands and paving the way for the future roll-out of the technology across the UK. The investment will cover these key workstreams:
- An application accelerator, raising 5G application awareness and engagement with end user organisations and technology companies to explore the possibilities enabled by 5G.
- A citizen wellbeing testbed, exploring potential use cases around integrated and connected health, social care and emergency services.
- A mobility testbed related to transport and travel in cities, exploring how 5Gcan help make the West Midlands less congested, less polluted, operate city services more effectively with the ability to prioritise traffic flows to help public services and importantly improve the user experience of travellers.
- Manufacturing, related to industrial processes and logistics and how 5G can make manufacturing more productive across the supply chain (from global players to SMEs).
- Construction, covering design and building and again looking at making construction more productive but also safer.
- Infrastructure acceleration, prototyping the speeding up of 5G deployment in urban environments with new 5G Infrastructure solutions.
In addition to the above WM5G is exploring new sector opportunities in the region – recognising that this is an innovation programme.
Last month, they partnered with University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) to conduct a demonstration of a 5G ambulance in collaboration with UHB and BT and hosted by the Medical Devices Testing and Evaluation Centre (MD-TEC) in their prestigious simulation lab. The demonstration, designed to serve as a real world example of the ways in which 5G connectivity can facilitate the work of public and emergency services, it saw paramedics conduct an ultrasound scan on a patient with real time remote guidance from a clinician viewing the ambulance through a 5G connection.
We are delighted that WM5G has joined UK5G as an associate partner which means we'll be able to promote insight and opportunities to our members more efficiently.
Bob Driver, UK5G Lead, comments:
The variety of stakeholder engagement makes the UCC project an exciting one. We look forward to seeing what 5G demonstrations will be launched across the six workstreams and how our members can support them.
Robert Franks, Managing Director for West Midlands 5G, comments:
5G has the potential to transform citizens lives, public services and businesses and we’re delighted to be launching the UK’s first regional 5G testbed in the West Midlands. 5G will only be successful if the UK collaborates at every level to accelerate network deployment as well as to test, prove and scale new services. Hence we see collaboration through the UK5G network as critical.