Digital infrastructure5G & MobileBrighton 5G testbed moves onto virtual reality

Brighton 5G testbed moves onto virtual reality

The latest phase of the 5G mobile network testbed in Brighton has got underway with the latest developments focusing on augmented, mixed and virtual reality technology.

The latest phase of the 5G mobile network testbed in Brighton has got underway with the latest developments focusing on augmented, mixed and virtual reality technology.

Digital leaders from across Sussex and the south have been testing the UK’s latest 5G mobile network testbed at Brighton innovation hub Fusebox, where the latest phase of a research and development (R&D) project run by Digital Catapult, Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Wired Sussex and the University of Brighton is now underway.

Digital Catapult’s aim is to accelerate the development and testing of innovative business models that exploit, and push the boundaries of 5G, as a crucial component of advanced digital infrastructure.

The Brighton project is the first UK 5G non-university-based testbed, which means it won’t only be used for research purposes. Its aim is to bring solutions with good commercial prospects from R&D and testing into early real-world deployment to meet the demand for faster more reliable and flexible mobile network services. The goal is that the rollout of 5G will be more advanced and happen quicker than other European and global 5G initiatives to give UK businesses a competitive advantage.

Launched in January 2017, the testbed was funded by a £1.2 million government grant, delivered through a Coast to Capital local enterprise partnership. This initial funding has been further extended by £300,000 which is being set aside specifically to engage with small to medium businesses, helping them to develop future 5G solutions.

More than just a testbed facility, this project offers innovation programmes and an ecosystem of stakeholders where small businesses can engage with 5G and its advanced capabilities, allowing them to develop and deliver the next generation of digital products and services in a controlled environment.

In the region from the coast around Brighton, through Gatwick to London, a thriving creative and digital IT sector already exists. However, to remain at the leading edge, this region needs to be supported and have access to world-class digital infrastructure.

The Brighton Testbed cements this approach and provides:

  • A testbed that facilitates deployment and usability of advanced 5G solutions as they come out of the 5G development cycle.
  • An excellent opportunity to support the local business ecosystem and contribute more widely to the UK’s leading position in the uptake of 5G and the new business models associated with it.

5G Brighton’s initial focus is to support new products and services in areas that include:

  • Virtual and augmented reality
  • Internet of Things and connected devices
  • Sports and music event experiences
  • Customer engagement in retail
  • Cloud services, network slicing and software virtualisation

This approach differs from other testbeds in that it is looking to work with the local innovative business, and the wider 5G UK ecosystem to develop a mutual understanding of what 5G can do, and what can be done with it.

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