5G CoCore: Connecting Communities in the Rural Economy

Research areas 5G & Beyond
Dates 1 January 2020 - March 2022
Funder Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS)
Contact person Prof Dimitra Simeonidou 

The 5G CoCore project will look at the intervention on rural connectivity in Wales. This £5M project is funded via the UK government's Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme, Phase 3, and will connect rural communities by demonstrating how 5G technology can have a positive impact and open up new opportunities for businesses and citizens. 

It’s focus is centred upon the south east Wales rural region of Monmouthshire and its neighbour Blaenau Gwent.  It will innovate in areas such as ‘immersive tourism’ and ‘farming security’ as key parts of the rural economy, whilst leveraging related technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things and Cyber Security as part of an ‘innovation platform’.   

The advancement in 5G technology will 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.  We will be specifically working on developing new experiences, to enhance the tourism and visitors experience in rural areas. This will be of big impact as we strongly believe that digitalisation and innovation in ways to consume Tourism are key enablers to maintain and develop touristic attractiveness of locations/regions.

This project will offer opportunities of advancing rural connectivity in terms of availability, reliability, seamless connectivity down to deep rural areas, enabling a step-change in rural productivity. It will also not only reduce digital divide, but also create new opportunities for businesses in various industry fields (rural centred and moving from urban to rural for some others).

The project will also look at neutral hosting which will enable heritage monuments such as castles to become their own private networks. These networks would then be open to mobile operators and for their users, providing good connectivity in those specific locations that are often not well covered (indoor and outdoor).

Image: Example of Radio Antenna Integration.  The antennae will be painted like the original stones so that they appear invisible.

The Smart Internet Lab will focus its efforts which builds on the Smart Tourism project, deepening knowledge and experience in the field, but since the AR/VR based use cases for Tourism figure among the most demanding ones in terms of architecture, low delay and high bandwidth communications using MEC, it will be quite easy to expand to any other field of applications in the near future. 

The project will encourage widespread adoption of 5G digital capability across the touristic industry supply chain (from creative minds and artists to technology focused SMEs, like application developers), where highly reliable connectivity, very high bandwidth per individual and aggregated across the crowd, enhanced data security and lower latency are no longer blockers, fundamentally enhancing tourism experiences and local economy. The project will seek for the transferability of solutions, to enable a wide spreading of those to other areas in the UK. 

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