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BT to deploy 5G private network at the Port of Tyne

The deployment of the 5G private network will enable the port and its customers to take advantage of advanced technology such as IoT and AI


The Port of Tyne, in the UK has partnered with BT to install a new 5G Private Network as well as surveillance and smart technology.

The deployment of the 5G private network will enable the port and its customers to take advantage of advanced technology, including robotics and autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

The 5G private network, expected to go live later this year, will provide fast and low latency connectivity across the port’s facilities.

The Port of Tyne’s technology and innovation team has demonstrated a series of initial and potential use cases. Two of these are recommended for immediate use — quayside operational optimization program and OCR container tracking — with scope to expand 5G coverage for future use cases in years to come.

The operational optimization program and OCR container tracking, both of which will significantly enhance supply chain efficiency for clients, involve the installation of black box monitoring devices on cranes and other materials handling (MH) equipment to record usage patterns and enable a detailed performance analysis for continuous improvement programs. The OCR container tracking application will inspect the condition of containers and monitor entry and exit to the port.

Matt Beeton, CEO of the Port of Tyne said: “5G is an enabler and offers us huge potential to implement world-class technology applications and drive real progress in the port and maritime sectors. We already have a range of use case scenarios developed through the Innovation Hub and are ready to collaborate with technology companies to validate these exciting new solutions.”

“We are delighted to be providing the Port of Tyne with a hybrid 4G and 5G Private Network and associated surveillance and smart technology, including IoT, that will make a huge difference for the port and its customers,” said Ashish Gupta, MD for corporate and public sector, at BT.

“The secure network we have installed with Ericsson, along with our fixed fiber infrastructure, will provide the foundation to revolutionize many operations across the site – including automating processes and creating efficiencies. By leveraging the high bandwidth, low latency networks we can use surveillance cameras, advanced analytics and artificial intelligence to check for damage to containers for example. We can also use IoT sensors to deliver benefits in the use of heavy plant and machinery,” Gupta added.

The new deployment will give the Port the potential to connect thousands of devices simultaneously in a small area, e.g. using smart meters and IoT sensors to monitor conditions  and identify inefficient processes which can be immediately addressed;

BT will use Ericsson equipment to complete the installation. This deal follows a multi-million-pound new partnership announced recently by BT and Ericsson to provide commercial 5G Private Networks for the UK market.

The two companies have signed a multi-year contract that will enable BT to sell next-generation mobile network technology products to businesses and organizations in sectors such as manufacturing, defense, education, retail, healthcare, transport and logistics.

BT and Ericsson said they have already worked together on several major projects incorporating private 5G networks, including Belfast Harbour in Northern Ireland.

The partners have installed a 5G private network across 35 acres of operational port. The vendor noted that this deployment is helping to drive operational efficiencies and accelerate the Port’s digital transformation through optimizing processes across transport, logistics, supply chain and shipping.


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