BT builds 5G university-campus network to spur local research, enterprise, uni life
BT has installed a dedicated public 5G network at the University of Warwick in the UK in what it reckons is a first for the country. The new setup comprises a public 5G cell site on the university’s main campus. The campus covers an area of 720 acres (about three square kilometres). The network uses BT’s public mobile network, which operates under the EE brand.
The local network extension will bring research opportunities, to drive innovation in the manufacturing, transportation, and healthcare sectors, as well as offering university staff and students, and also local residents, an opportunity to connect to a faster mobile network. Warwickshire County Council is also engaged in the initiative, which will be leveraged for the wider Warwickshire region, as well, in order to stimulate regional economic growth, the group said.
BT called the installation the first phase of a new ‘innovation alliance’ that will extend to cover 5G-based research and development projects around autonomous vehicles, connected healthcare, and gaming. The network will be extended as well to the university’s ‘creative and digital communities’ incubator in nearby Leamington Spa, as well as the local ‘Silicon Spa’ games industry cluster.
BT and the University of Warwick hope to deliver Europe’s first ‘connected autonomous mobility’ (CAM) demo over a public 5G network. The project will be headed by Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) at the university and explore vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) scenarios with two connected autonomous pods exchanging live data feeds, as well as light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data and live video alerts of road obstacles.
The healthcare piece, with the university’s school of engineering, will explore ways 5G can help with remote patient care. BT said it will run a series of streamed events to help businesses develop “fresh thinking and new possibilities” around the role of 5G in health and wellbeing, creative and digital, and Industry 4.0.
Fotis Karonis, chief technology and information officer for BT’s enterprise unit, said: “With the 5G network now live across the entire campus, we’re gearing up to accelerate the co-creation of innovative 5G use cases in a partnership with University of Warwick. This will not only benefit its faculty, student experience and academic R&D, but will also shape 5G learning and co-creation for key business industries across the UK.”
David Plumb, chief innovation officer at the University of Warwick, said: “This alliance gives Warwick the advantage of being an early adopter of 5G technology with a significant partner. Our public 5G connected campus will support new areas of research, enable new teaching technologies, support even more regional businesses, and add to students’ campus experience.”
Councillor Peter Butlin, in charge of finance and property at Warwickshire County Council, said: “This collaboration… enhances the county’s offer as a centre of cutting-edge technology which is key to attracting the inward investment that will drive our future economic growth.”