Digital infrastructure5G & MobileLiverpool 5G consortium receives additional funding

Liverpool 5G consortium receives additional funding

Liverpool 5G consortium helps Liverpool's Kensington citizen to manage long-term health conditions by themselves and aims to ease the strain on NHS workers

The Liverpool 5G consortium has received £3.5 million from DCMS to fund 11 testbeds and trials that will focus on providing reliable broadband to communities around parts of Liverpool with limited access.

The announcement was made at an event to celebrate the Liverpool 5G health and social care project’s first successful year. This project is Europe’s first dedicated 5G health and social care pilot.

The consortium plans to connect the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen Hospital and Sensor City with the new accelerator. The new accelerator is called the Knowledge Quarter. This work will also be extended to parts of Kensington.

Long-term health conditions like diabetes and epilepsy will be managed at home with the help of this extra funding. Additionally, it also presents an answer to the busy health and social care resources from NHS. The funding will make sure these resources are used only for critical situations.

Stop and Go project

All of the trials have measurable social benefits and follow on from existing work on digital health and social care apps that was carried out by Liverpool Council, as part of the Stop and Go project.

Liverpool City Council was awarded the GO Procurement Innovation / Initiative of the Year Award: Health and Social Care Organisations for the Stop and Go project last year.

The trials will employ cutting edge technologies like low-cost unlicensed mmWave 5G broadband, sensors, open source networking, artificial intelligence, mixed reality, virtual reality, Smart Health, robotics and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Rosemary Kay, Liverpool 5G Health and Social Care project director, said: “Liverpool 5G is pleased to announce we’ve had funding for our 5G project extended by DCMS for another 12 months. This recognises the great work taking place across the project and gives us more time to explore the benefits of providing affordable 5G technology to people living in digitally deprived communities, with long-term health conditions.”

Margot James, Minister for Digital, said: “We want the UK to be a world leader in 5G and our modern industrial strategy will help deliver this. The Liverpool testbed is just one of the innovative 5G projects we’re funding across the country and I’m pleased it can continue its important work. I recently visited it and saw first-hand how 5G can improve quality of life and transform the way health and social care is delivered in our communities.”

Dynamic partnership

The Liverpool 5G consortium is led by Sensor City. It includes companies like Blu Wireless Technology, AIMES, Inventya, DefProc, Digicredis, CGA Simulation, Sensor City, Liverpool City Council, Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust (RLBUHT), Liverpool University, and Liverpool John Moores University.

It’s a dynamic partnership, bringing together a unique mix of public sector and SME organisations, from Liverpool and beyond. The group’s experience is gained from academic, health, social care, wireless, emerging and software design sectors.

Blu Wireless Technology is using mmWave 60GHz technology to bring gigabit connectivity to the communities. Health and social care professionals will be able deliver care at patients’ homes. This will enable to show how fifth-generation networks can support the benefits of home care and health and social care consultation.

Consistent services for patients

The other technologies being trialled include:

  • Safehouse Sensors, which are installed in homes to detect falls, changes in temperature and unusual behaviour patterns.
  • PAMAN, which provides a video link to a local pharmacy, helping people to take medicines at home safely.
  • ‘Push to Talk’ a loneliness app for isolated carers, which puts them in touch with other carers in a similar position and the ‘Loneliness Gaming and Quizzing App’, being trialled by people with a learning disability in Kensington.
  • Telehealth in a Box’, designed to aid communication between The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Trust and patients in the community, and 5G supported VR devices used as palliative pain distraction in wards.
  • ‘WarnHydrate’ a device used to detect dehydration in older people.
  • Blu Wireless Technology has developed wireless 5G mesh networks using existing fibre and equipment erected on street furniture like lampposts. The technology can be delivered cost-effectively, across a dense urban environment, to provide general coverage.

All of these applications rely on 5G’s durability, speed and increased data transfer to provide consistent service for patients. A new ‘Adoption Readiness Level’ (ARL) tool has also been designed. This tool will help to determine the usability and ease of the adopted health technologies.

BT recently called for access to street furniture to boost 4G and 5G coverage. Current concessions model for locating mini mobile masts on street furniture was a barrier to 4G and future 5G investments.

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