BT secures 5G partnerships with University of Warwick and Belfast Harbour

Autonomous Pod
(Image credit: BT)

BT hopes two new partnerships will accelerate the development of industrial and public sector applications of 5G.

The enhanced speeds, greater capacity, and ultra-low latency promised by 5G will transform consumer mobile broadband services, but the real value in next-generation networks lies in the development of business use cases that harness these capabilities.

Working with the University of Warwick and Warwickshire County Council, BT has constructed the UK’s first dedicated public 5G network for a ‘connected campus’ that will also deliver economic benefits to the wider area.

BT industry 5G

The 720-acre campus will become a tested for 5G research, particularly in the areas of Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs), telemedicine and gaming.

BT and with the Warwick Manufacturing Group will use the 5G network to research the behaviour and movement of connected autonomous pods, while the company plans to work with the school of engineering on remote health applications.

The local area is home to a cluster for the games industry in Leamington Spa and many firms hire graduates from the university. The 5G network could accelerate the development of anew applications in gaming and eSports.

“This powerful innovation alliance with BT gives Warwick the advantage of being an early adopter of 5G technology with a significant partner,” said David Plumb, CIO at the University of Warwick.

“Our public 5G connected campus will: support new areas of research; enable new teaching technologies; help us to support even more regional businesses; and it will add to students’ campus experience be it in teaching, esports or simply through an enhanced performance on mobile devices.”

BT will also build a private 5G network at Belfast Harbour, the first to be constructed at any port in the UK & Ireland. The infrastructure will aid the port’s digital transformation and drive efficiency, improving safety and security, while reducing environmental impact. For example, remote controlled inspection technology reduces the need for staff to work at height, while sensors can monitor air quality. The network is set to go live early next year.

“One of Belfast Harbour’s key strategic ambitions is to become a smart port that engages creatively and effectively with customers, visitors and employees,” said Joe O’Neill, CEO of Belfast Harbour. “The smooth and efficient running of our Port logistics network relies on the accurate tracking and integration of data gathered from multiple sources.

“We believe the increased capabilities of 5G technology can have a beneficial effect on our operations, helping us for example to capture, process and interpret data in real time and giving insights that will speed decision making, better manage vehicle traffic through our Harbour Estate and improve productivity across our operations and services.”

The EE 5G network first went live last year and has now expanded to 112 towns and cities. BT says there are now one million 5G-ready customers on its network and will hope that demand for the iPhone 12 – the first compatible Apple handset – will drive adoption.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.