UK’s first 5G accelerator underway after virtual engage event

Following the launch of 5PRING – the UK’s first 5G application accelerator designed to ignite innovative solutions using 5G technology – a consortium led by O2, Deloitte, Wayra UK, Digital Catapult and catalysts West Midlands 5G (WM5G) have delivered the first in a series of engaging virtual workshops.

In spite of the Government’s enforced lockdown and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the firms were able to deliver 12 hours of content over two days in their mission to harness the power of 5G to deliver growth and innovation for the West Midlands.

The virtual event took the form of a business-orientated training programme and was delivered using a unique, new platform called Hopin.

UK’s first 5G accelerator underway after virtual engage event

Whilst being delivered virtually, attendees were able to experience the event as they would in person, dipping in and out of sessions and enjoying an opportunity to network with other businesses and tech experts.

The event included presentations, panel sessions and workshops, while organisations of all sizes, including SMEs, large corporates, local authorities and academia attended.

WM5G – backed by the West Midlands Combined Authority and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – is the facilitator behind 5PRING, awarding a major contract to the consortium to deliver the programme over the next five years and beyond.

Its mission is to engage more than 2,000 businesses, firmly putting the West Midlands on the map as leaders in 5G innovation. 5PRING will increase the core understanding of 5G, how it works and the benefits it provides to businesses – both in the public and private sectors.

Events like these will prove pivotal in connecting both supply and demand side businesses, allowing organisations – particularly start-ups and small businesses – to move along the journey of development with 5PRING, exploring 5G possibilities by using the facility first-hand.

Robert Franks, Managing Director at WM5G, said: “The benefits 5G can provide businesses are unparalleled. Through 5PRING, we are providing everything innovators could possibly need to develop the next real-world applications for the technology. Our experts are providing the necessary insights and guidance to help businesses develop solutions to real-life problems. This is the start of an incredibly exciting chapter for the West Midlands and is one that I’m sure will leave a lasting, digital legacy.”

A further two consortium-backed accelerators in both Wolverhampton and Coventry will launch across the West Midlands later this year. All three facilities will be known as 5PRING.

Once fully operational, the three accelerators will comprise of centrally-located office and demonstration spaces with access to cutting-edge 5G technology. Each venue will have access to secure networks enabling private and public sector organisations to experiment with 5G features that aren’t yet commercially released. This will be combined with the latest devices, professional advice and technical support.

By utilising 5PRING, organisations will be able to experience a live 5G network, discover the benefits the technology can bring to their business and work with innovators to take advantage of 5G through new applications and services.

A series of engagement activities and events will run throughout the 5PRING programme. Notably, the O2-led consortium is more than matching the public sector funding provided by WM5G to launch these facilities, helping to drive innovation at a time when it is needed most.

Derek McManus, COO at O2, added: “I’m incredibly proud of the hard work that has gone into the 5PRING programme to date, and it’s great to see the first virtual workshops take place. O2 is committed to helping rebuild Britain by supporting businesses through the capabilities of 5G, and 5PRING is a perfect example of this ambition in action.”

Bruno Moraes, Country Manager at Wayra UK, added: “When 5PRING launched in March, the world was already changing to reflect the new normal. Since then, 5G and the critical role of technology to society has taken a whole new purpose and established even higher precedence. Wayra UK is delighted that through rigorous collaboration between our consortium members we designed a virtual engage event to ignite the programme. 5PRING helps develop a solid foundation for a prosperous future, both for Britain and for West Midlands.”

Jeremy Silver, CEO at Digital Catapult, added: "5G will be a key enabler to growth in the West Midlands and now that the programme is off to a flying start, we continue to be excited by the benefits that this technology will bring to the region, and the role that 5pring can play in that transformation.”

The next 5PRING event – a COVID-19 ‘Hackathon’ programme – will run virtually for two weeks culminating in a final ‘Demo Day’ across July and August 2020.

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