BT signs smart port agreement with Belfast Harbour
U.K. carrier BT and Belfast Harbour have signed a partnership to build a 5G ecosystem within the Port of Belfast.
BT said that the partnership will deliver a series of 5G-led innovations to accelerate Belfast Harbour’s digital transformation.
Under the terms of the partnership, BT will build and manage a live 5G private network with the aim of achieving the “highest levels” of ultrafast mobile connectivity, coverage, reliability and security across the port’s main operational areas. The network is expected to go live across large parts of the port early next year.
The deployment will allow Belfast Harbour to accelerate its digital transformation through optimising processes across transport, logistics, supply chain and shipping.The partnership will also explore how 5G and other emerging technologies such as AI, IoT and connected autonomous vehicles can be used together to enhance public safety, physical security and address climate change across the Port and other parts of Belfast City.
For example, the partnership will explore how 5G-led capabilities can help Belfast Harbour to ensure a safe and secure environment for businesses, employees and the wider public. BT and Belfast Harbour will work on improved productivity and safety measures by enabling 5G remote controlled inspection technology to reduce the need for staff to work at height.
“Our U.K.-first 5G trial with Belfast Harbour last year was a powerful illustration of how 5G-led technology can transform port operations, propel the success of local businesses and drive economic growth,” said Gerry McQuade, CEO of BT’s Enterprise unit. “Today’s deal with Belfast Harbour will make these benefits a reality, with the creation of a sophisticated digital ecosystem comprising of 5G, AI, IoT and Connected Vehicles. This will act as a springboard for Belfast Harbour to achieve its ambition to be the world’s best regional smart port and an innovation hub for the region.”
“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, chief executive of Belfast Harbour. “Following a successful test program last year, we are pleased to have engaged BT to bring 5G technology into Belfast Harbour and delighted that this private network is a first for the U.K. and Ireland.
“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.”
BT launched its 5G mobile service for consumers and business customers in October of last year. The service was initially available in a number of cities including London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Manchester, Edinburgh, Belfast, Coventry, Leicester and Bristol.
The network utilizes existing infrastructure already deployed by mobile operator EE, which is part of the BT Group. EE officially launched commercial 5G services in a number of U.K. cities at the end of May 2019.