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Smart Internet Lab is transforming our region's network infrastructure

31 March 2020

Two new projects from the University of Bristol’s Smart Internet Lab are creating new and exciting changes to our region’s network infrastructure. The new projects are set to transform the manufacturing sector and advance rural connectivity, a critical capability for the UK government.

Following from the successful delivery of  the 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme that established University of Bristol’s 5GUK Test Network, the Smart Internet Lab has been awarded UK Government funds from Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to deliver two new projects as part of the £65 million package for 5G trials. 

Dimitra Simeonidou, Director of the Smart Internet Lab‌ said “We are very pleased the University of Bristol and Smart Internet Lab are making advances in the region's critical infrastructure. We are transferring knowledge to the manufacturing sector and at the same time we are supporting the roll out of 5G to rural Wales.”

The 5G research at Smart Internet Lab is going to play an important role in creating opportunities within the vertical markets by supporting their specific needs for networks and innovative technological advancements.

The 5G Enabling Connectivity for Digital Engineering (5G-ENCODE) project is going to transform of the manufacturing sector in the West of England. 5G-ENCODE has been awarded £9m funding from DCMS making it the UK government’s biggest investment in 5G for manufacturing to date.

The two-year project will examine new business models for private mobile networks in the manufacturing sector. It will investigate three key industrial 5G use cases on improvement of productivity and efficiency of composite design and manufacturing; on interactive augmented reality (AR) asset tracking across multiple sites and locations; and on industrial system management.  

5G will help industries with new processes to increase precision, quality and safety in manufacturing and the application of future materials will be able to for example, reduce the carbon footprint by reducing fuel consumption.  

The Connecting Communities in the Rural Economy (CoCoRE) project will look at the intervention on rural connectivity in Wales. The CoCoRE project will receive £5m in UK Government funding to connect rural communities across Monmouthshire and Blaenau Gwent. The new testbed, located in South East Wales, will demonstrate how 5G technology can have a positive impact and open new opportunities for businesses and citizens. These advancements could change the way citizens interact with critical services such as transport whilst propelling the visitor economy in the region.

The advancement in 5G technology will also add more appeal to tourist attractions by providing engaging and interactive information and experiences. Enriching visitor experience through 5G will increase visitors, bring in more revenue to remote areas and have a wider global reach.    

The aim of the projects is to promote and maximise economic growth across South Wales and the West of England alongside the Western Gateway strategic partnership. 

With the ground-breaking research and world leading expertise in 5G, The University of Bristol’s Smart Internet Lab will work with key partners in the region, including big technology companies and local SMEs to explore innovative ways to connect cross border, urban and rural communities in the UK and revolutionise the manufacturing sector for the future.

Further information

The Smart Internet Lab at the University of Bristol and our 5GUK Test Network

The Smart Internet Lab at the University of Bristol is a hub for internet research which addresses grant societal and industrial challenges. We perform cutting edge research on optical and wireless communications and offer a unique holistic approach to hardware and software co-design, solving critical problems in the global internet evolution. We are world leaders in 5G convergence research and have deployed 5G capability in Bristol city centre focusing on the convergence of fibre infrastructure and 5G wireless access. The University of Bristol's 5GUK Test Network is the UK’s first urban 5G End-to-End Testbed.

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