Testbeds & trials

5G Connected Forest

  • Started on 1 Mar 2020

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  • Government funding: £4,975,948

Centred around the ancient Sherwood Forest, the focus of the 5G Connected Forest project will be to explore the potential for 5G applications in the preservation of forests and their environment, and in enhancing the experience of visitors to the forest and surrounding area.

From robotic environmental management and non-intrusive live monitoring of the health of a forest, to live AR and VR experiences for visitors of all ages, and inspiring public transport users; the project will also investigate business models that can enable operators to boost rural connectivity and create innovative applications with the potential for commercial development.

This project will be front and centre of retelling the story of Robin Hood to future generations. It will be situated in the ancient royal forest of Sherwood, which has been wooded since the end of the last Glacial Period. There is no better opportunity to trial 5G in a forest setting anywhere else in the UK – not just for the area’s geography, but for its rich and fascinating history.

I see this project as the start of a journey that will truly see Nottinghamshire on the regional, national and international tourism and environment management maps; as well as providing us with the opportunity to build the digital skills and opportunities of our residents and businesses.

- Councillor Kay Cutts, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council

More about this project

Using 5G to protect and promote areas of natural and cultural heritage.

Nottinghamshire sits at the heart of the UK and contains some of the country’s most outstanding natural heritage sites, including the iconic Sherwood Forest, home to the legendary Robin Hood.   
Led by Nottinghamshire County Council, the 5G Connected Forest project has been created to explore the potential for deploying 5G in woodland areas (especially within the constraints of working in some of the most highly designated heritage and conservation sites) around the twin aims of using 5G to protect and promote areas of natural and cultural heritage.

Economically, visitors are essential to maintaining both the settings and the local communities within them - how might 5G be used to both enhance the visitor experience whilst also being adopted in ways which reduce the environmental impact of visitors and protect the settings for generations to come? How might the capabilities that 5G offers for massive amounts of data to be transmitted at unimaginable speeds be captured to enhance the protection of the forest? 

With technology partners Netmore and Gooii, and academic partners from Birmingham City and Nottingham Trent universities; the project’s focus on the potential of 5G as an enabler for business development and growth is reflected in the fact that most the 5G Connected Forest partners (Harworth Group, Parkwood Outdoors, Stagecoach East Midlands, Gooii and ISPB) are Nottinghamshire based ‘end-user’ organisations with  little or no prior experience of 5G.

All partners involved share a common interest in exploring the ways in which technology can be used to help develop and build businesses, improve consumer experience and enhance their local communities.

Within the Rural Connected Communities programme, project members have also collaborated closely with DCMS, UK5G and KTN in the areas of:

  • LEP/SME engagement 
  • Skills  
  • Security  
  • 5G devices (including research in AR/VR headsets)  
  • Open RAN and spectrum allocation 

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