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.
The project will run from 2018 to March 2022.
WM5G’s purpose is to demonstrate the value of 5G technology across a number of market verticals in an urban environment. WM5G are utilising fifth generation mobile technology to make a real and positive difference to the people and businesses of the West Midlands by increasing productivity, accelerating digital adoption and improving public services.
WM5G acts as a convener, encouraging market participation and driving investment into 5G technologies. This can only be achieved by aligning the interests of the technology players (data platforms, security etc.), market players (SMEs, global businesses, systems integrators etc.) and users (the public/citizens).
Ultimately, WM5G is accelerating the adoption of 5G technology to bring opportunities and improvements to the West Midlands and across the UK. The aim is to show the way - by creating a digital hub, services for citizens and businesses and creating prosperity and growth for the region.
WM5G Transport Project Overview
Transforming our transport infrastructure in the West Midlands is vital to reduce congestion, pollution and increase ease of movement. This also links to the ‘build better digital and transport links priority’. Working in partnership with Transport for the West Midlands, West Midlands 5G (WM5G) is building better digital and transport links and have successfully completed trials demonstrating the potential of 5G. Proven benefits already include: reducing the time it takes to find a parking space thereby lowering emissions, improved safety on trams, and more accurate counting of traffic.
WM5G currently have 14 live transport products & services being developed and trialled focussing on getting the region moving. The products cover a range of use cases focussing on road and rail transport efficiency, seamless connection of modes of travel and passenger experience. Furthermore, the overriding issue of public health is going to ensure safety on public transport becomes of paramount importance and is captured in a number of the trials. Personal risk management means that commuters will need more information about their journeys than ever before in order to plan a journey safely and at the most optimum time for them. A 5G-enabled real-time flow of data will help to inform choices for public transport customers, helping them to make key decisions that will affect their livelihood.
We are also starting to roll out the UK’s first 5G road sensor network to reduce congestion & pollution - including HD video cameras and pollution sensors – at up to 350 road junctions in the West Midlands. These sensors will transmit real-time anonymised data to traffic control sensors in the region to optimise traffic flows by controlling the phasing of traffic lights.
WM5G Manufacturing Project Overview
West Midlands 5G (WM5G) are scaling productivity improvement trials in Manufacturing with the Midlands worth more than £32 billion GVA to the UK economy and more than 300,000 manufacturing jobs across the region alone, WM5G wants to elevate the levels of excitement and opportunities around the future of 5G in manufacturing.
One of the region’s aerospace manufacturing experts – AE Aerospace – is leading the transformation of the sector following receipt of funding from WM5G, enabling it as the first UK SME to start standalone 5G trials with a private network, illustrating the value of 5G for manufacturers. Through three trials, AE Aerospace is hoping to generate significant benefits including the ability to sell machine time to its clients, provide more accurate assurance that parts have been machined to specification with increased speed and efficiency, and eliminate the need to re-work or replace damaged components impaired in transit.
WM5G is also working with the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) at Coventry, developing a purpose-built 5G private network in its ‘manufacturing workshop’ facilities. This provides an ideal environment for the development and demonstration of new technologies on an industrial scale, as well as testing and proving 5G benefits in conjunction with wider Industry 4.0 technologies. The immediate ambition is to prove the benefits that 5G services could have on the implementation of robotics and Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) in a modern production line, such as an Industry 4.0 factory environment. Enterprises of all sizes will be able to explore multi-edge computing and robotics application.
5G technologies are predicted to have a seismic impact on the manufacturing sector, helping it to recover from the damage created by Covid-19 by driving greater efficiencies, reducing machine downtime and ultimately supporting growth of SMEs and safeguarding the jobs that they create.
Transforming healthcare provision with 5G - WM5G Project
- West Midlands 5G (WM5G) have been working with the NHS, local GPs and 5 care homes, utilising innovative diagnostic tools to carry out essential health checks while connected via 5G to a remote GP.
- Added to this 5G-enabled patient self-administration within the community-based managed service delivery of capsule endoscopy putting the West Midlands at the forefront of post-Covid endoscopy services.
- We’re scaling innovation across healthcare with our residential care home trial rolling out to 35 homes in the region and scaling capsule endoscopy to 10,000 patient regional trials.
The availability of GPs can be a very literal lifeline to help identify, treat, and manage the often complex and varied needs of care home residents.
When it comes to health and social care innovation we are at a key point in history, with the industry waking up to the need for smart connected technologies. While it has long been a topic for discussion, 2020 forced the rapid and widescale implementation of digital technology in a bid to keep residents safe and healthy during the pandemic.
In Coventry, in a trial by WM5G, five care homes received full GP consultations and assessments remotely. Through connected diagnostics tools GPs are able to view and record clinical information and check residents’ vital signs remotely in the same way as they would face to face. The technology has helped safeguard patients during the pandemic while improving access to GPs and opens the possibility of remote ward rounds.
5G has also made it possible to conduct more complex procedures and assessments remotely, such as an ultrasound scan conducted by a doctor supporting a paramedic miles away. It may sound like fiction, but the reality is that devices such as these are increasingly accessible and ready to be put into practice.
Report / PDF
COP26 Report | How 5G will help lay the path to net zero
Case Study / PDF
Connected Tram 5G
Case Study / Web link
WM5G: Mast-as-a-Sensor Case Study
5G ACIA Conference Presentations