UK government-backed 5G-ENCODE launches Phase One network

Coming ahead of its Phase Two network for 5G, which is due to launch in 2021, the switch-on of Phase One for 5G-ENCODE looks to establish a baseline for existing technologies, against which 5G network capabilities will be compared.

Designed and developed by Zeetta Networks and the University of Bristol’s Smart Internet Lab, the goal for the UK manufacturer-focused project is to prove the value of 5G for use case performance and user experience.

Additionally, the scheme looks to demonstrate the extent to which businesses will get a real return on investment from deploying private cellular networks within manufacturing.

The cellular network will be used to explore new business models and 5G technologies, including network slicing and splicing, within an industrial environment.

A particular focus will be placed on augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR), monitoring and tracking of time-sensitive assets, and wireless real-time in-process monitoring and analytics.

In Phase One, activity will be focused on testing the asset tracking and AR / VR use cases, with each use case being tested, while data is gathered on network performance, user experience and business benefit realisation. This process will be repeated in Phase Two.

5G-Encode is part of the 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme, delivered by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), and is among the biggest governmental investments in UK 5G for manufacturing to date.

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“Zeetta Networks is proud to be the leading partner for the 5G-ENCODE project,” said Vassilis Seferidis, co-founder and CEO of Zeetta Networks. “The use cases being explored will be integral to accelerating Industry 4.0.

“Phase One is just the beginning, and we’re confident that this project will be key to revitalising the UK’s manufacturing industry and safeguarding it against the next global recession.”

Xavier Priem, senior research fellow at Smart Internet Lab, commented: “Smart Internet Lab is proud to support and provide expertise to the 5G-ENCODE consortium. We are delighted to be working alongside communities, telecom and Industry 4.0 experts in this project by providing knowledge on 4G & 5G technologies on the delivery of use cases.

“Our work will be fundamental in introducing new capabilities into Industry 4.0 processes and systems which will provide more flexibility.”

Marc Funnell, head of digital, and director of Digital Engineering Technology & Innovation (DETI), NCC, said: “As a world-class research centre, the NCC is delighted to be the industrial test bed for the 5G-ENCODE consortium of leading industrial innovators.

“Today’s announcement marks the start of this project delivering real-life impact through the development of specific use cases for the 5G-ENCODE and DETI. We look forward to testing and sharing the results.”

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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.