Local combined authority brings UK’s leading 5G tourism firms to region

Events | Leisure & Tourism | South West | Technology
Smartify user scanning Nathaniel Rackowe’s Black Shed Expanded (2014-2016), part of Sculpture in the City, 2017. © Smartify
Smartify user scanning Nathaniel Rackowe’s Black Shed Expanded (2014-2016), part of Sculpture in the City, 2017. © Smartify

The West of England Combined Authority hosts 5G Smart Futures, this Saturday, a 5G Smart Tourism Showcase at We The Curious, Mshed, Bristol VR Lab and in Millennium Square, unveiling the results of the UK’s most ambitious testbed to date.

The 5G Smart Futures showcase marks the culmination of a year-long project looking at new 5G technology using the 5G testbed infrastructure in the West of England, developed by the University of Bristol Smart Lab. It will bring together experts who have been working to demonstrate the ground-breaking power and potential of 5G to show off their progress, offering a vision of what a 5G-enabled future allows.

Revealing the transformative power of 5G technology for audiences, visitor attractions, investors and public services, the showcase brings together some of the UK’s leading 5G tech pioneers for a day of innovative, cutting-edge demonstrations, playable experiences, talks and workshops, at M Shed, Millennium Square and We The Curious. Visitors will be invited to take part in a series of events ranging from virtual reality (VR) to augmented reality (AR) to 360° video and locative media, allowing them to sample a wide range of the future applications of 5G technology and its potential to transform tourism and commercial activity in the region.

The  £8.2m 5G Smart Tourism project is led by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), and part-funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. It brings together 19 organisations and oversees the creation of a testbed to demonstrate 5G capability, establishing the West of England as a world leader in the development of advanced fixed and mobile communication systems.

Digital Minister, Margot James MP, said: “We all want to have fast, reliable and uninterrupted connectivity on the go and our 5G testbeds being rolled out across the country will help to make that possible. The 5G Smart Futures Showcase in the West of England will highlight the exciting potential of 5G technology, with the opportunity to enhance the experience of millions of visitors for years to come.”

West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles said: “The West of England is well placed to become a smart region – we are already recognised as a centre of excellence, as home to the largest cluster of digital expertise outside London. We are leading the way in technology and our businesses and universities are at the forefront of innovation in next-generation networks, including 5G. We are ambitious to help support a commercial rollout of 5G infrastructure in the West of England and we see 5G as having a role in helping us address mobility across the region and in helping with digital inclusion.”

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