An Introduction to 5G and the 5G testbed

This blog explores the key learnings from The Digital Catapult Centre Brighton’s event ‘An Introduction to 5G and the 5G testbed’ and how your digital business can innovate with 5G technologies through the Brighton 5G testbed.

Last night, The Digital Catapult Centre Brighton hosted the event ‘An Introduction to 5G and the 5G testbed’, in which it provided an exploration of 5G – an expert view of what it is, how it will revolutionise the way we use our smartphones, unlock the potential of new technologies and provide a platform for new innovation opportunities for companies.

The Digital Catapult Centre Brighton also shared its plans to make this technology available via it’s state of the art Brighton testbed. The testbed will enable help small, innovative businesses across the UK develop new products and services that can benefit from 5G technologies.

What 5G is and why is it so exciting

5G is an incredibly fast, always on wireless mobile technology… however it is not just an evolution of 2G, 3G, 4G – but a revolutionary enabling technology that will unleash game changing new digital products and services.

Changing the mobile experience
In our ever increasingly connected world, 5G is needed to keep pace with smartphones user’s appetite for data. This demand is growing at an astonishing rate – the average smartphone consumes 1.4GB of data every month and this is set to dramatically increase to 8.9GB by 2021. Read more here. The 5G vison is that it consumers will have always on, invisible connectivity which will enable new forms of previously impossible mobile content.

For example, virtual and augment reality experiences (VR/AR) delivered over 4G mobile networks have a notable latency (a lag in the content that would make users motion-sick), disappears over 5G. Also, VR/AR experiences are limited by the 4G bandwidth. 5G will enable much higher definition and immersive content, faster – when tested in the lab, it was so fast a high-definition movie was downloaded in less than half a minute.

Therefore, 5G enables new possibilities which could include immersive mobile gaming, places augmented with real-time information and the possibility to collaborate with colleagues virtually anywhere.

Rob Minson from the Brighton company Fracture (a local start-up that build immersive tech to help various industries to innovate and transform their business) shared his excitement around the potential of 5G powering mobile experience at the event.


Enabling new technology
It will also unlock transformative technologies, such as The Internet of Things (a network of many connected devices capable of sending and receiving data know as IoT). 4G was not built to handle the bandwidth of many devices communicating smaller chunks of data. With IoT set to generate a staggering 400 zettabytes (a trillion gigabytes) of data a year by 2018 a 5G enabled network of IoT unlocks huge potential. Not only improving existing devices – but providing a framework for new, yet to be imagined products and services hyperconnected and in real-time. Read more here.

In addition to IoT and VR/AR enabled 5G, we also explored the other avenues of innovation that 5G opens up including cloud computing, network slicing and edge computing as well as what would a future sports or music venue look like driven by 5G.

A National 5G Testbed located in Brighton – driving digital innovation
5G represents a unique opportunity for innovation, where previous wireless connectivity was ‘fenced off’ – with its usage prescribed by network operators, there is a recognition that the true value of 5G will only be exploited through open innovation. This means enabling a diverse range of companies to innovate their own application of 5G.

Dan Warren from Samsung’s 5G R&D Lab shared his vision of how digital companies could start to innovate now and the verticals 5G could disrupt.

The Digital Catapult Centre Brighton announced at the event their plans to support this innovation through a state of the art testbed and a range of activities that will enable small, innovative businesses across the UK develop new products and services that can benefit from 5G technologies. Dritan Kaleshi, Lead Technologist at Digital Catapult and 5G Fellow described how the 5G testbed will be configured with innovative digital companies in mind and encouraged anyone interested in exploring 5G to get in touch with the Digital Catapult Centre Brighton.

The testbed will initially be situated within the FuseBox innovation hub in New England House near Brighton station, but will eventually expand to cover a test area of around 200 square metres. This testbed project will give digital businesses the opportunity to understand how their existing products operate under 5G conditions. They will be able to work with University academics, as well as learning from those larger corporations who are already investigating 5G’s capabilities.

The Digital Catapult Centre Brighton will be running a series of events in continuation of their 5G project, you can sign to receive alerts about these events here
There is also a virtual community of practice in which you can collaborate with other experts and keep up to date with breaking 5G news.

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