West Midlands 5G (WM5G), a new organisation set-up by the WMCA and Government to deliver the first region-wide 5G testbed, played host to a series of demo events today in partnership with Birmingham City University and global telecommunications giant Ericsson.
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street joined others at the event at Millennium Point in Birmingham to experience the superfast speeds, reliable connectivity and endless possibilities that 5G offers.
Demonstrations included superimposed images through 5G-enabled augmented reality, a 360° visualisation of proposed developments within an existing cityscape, cloud-enabled robots for factories, a 5G-enabled homecare assistance system and a day-to-day life virtual reality experience.
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street (right) experiences a virtual reality application as part of the 5G demonstration
The Mayor said: “Investment in 5G will help us secure our region’s future prosperity and I am delighted that the West Midlands is pioneering this programme for the rest of the UK.
“WM5G is here to lead the way and accelerate the roll-out of the technology, which will drive substantial economic growth within the region.
“5G capabilities will attract leading entrepreneurs and start-up businesses to develop innovative new applications and services as part of WM5G’s Application Accelerator programme. New jobs and opportunities will make a real and positive difference to the people and businesses of the West Midlands.”
The next generation of mobile technology recently arrived in the UK following the launch of 5G services from leading Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) such as Vodafone and EE.
5G, which provides speeds of up to ten times faster than 4G, has the potential to deliver significant citizen, public and private sector benefits across the healthcare, manufacturing and construction industries.
Today's demos were staged by in partnership with Birmingham City University and global telecommunications giant Ericsson as part of WM5G’s wider 5G Application Accelerator project.
Robert Franks, Managing Director at WM5G, said: “We want to show both our citizens and the public and private sectors that 5G is here to make a positive impact on the people and businesses of the West Midlands. The technology will improve connectivity and reliability for us all, while supplying significantly faster download speeds.
“We’re delighted to have a globally revered technology brand and a large and diverse university on board to help us showcase what 5G can offer to our stakeholders. Together with Ericsson and Birmingham City University, we look forward to delivering a trailblazing series of demonstrations.”
WM5G’s initial focus has been on the deployment of the necessary infrastructure required for 5G services. The company is now working closely with manufacturers, SMEs, universities and hospitals across the region on new 5G applications that will help drive economic growth and make a real and positive difference to the people and businesses of the West Midlands.
Marielle Lindgren, Head of Ericsson UK & Ireland, added: “The West Midlands has a deep heritage of engineering innovation and WM5G is evidence that the region is now entering a new era. As the West Midlands invests in 5G roll-out, we expect the region will become a hotbed for 5G innovation in areas like AR and VR, autonomous vehicles, smart factories and healthcare.
“As the recognised leader in driving 5G across the globe, we are delighted to be the organisation’s technology partner and look forward to working closely with manufacturers, operators and universities to bring greater connectivity to the local area and beyond.”
Professor Julian Beer, Deputy Vice Chancellor at Birmingham City University, added: “Through collaboration with new and established industry and public sector partners, Birmingham City University is in a strong position to build on its current research base and further explore how intelligent 5G connectivity can be utilised to create wealth in our economy and enhance the quality of our lives.
“I am delighted to welcome WM5G Demos to the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment at Birmingham City University. The events are an excellent showcase for the positive impact that 5G connectivity has the potential to deliver across the West Midlands region, and we look forward to working with our partners Ericsson and WM5G to explore further possibilities in this exciting field.”