West of England secures £3m for innovative 5G trial to boost business

Funding | South West | Technology
WofE Mayor Tim Bowles

The West of England Combined Authority (WECA) has secured over £3m from the Government to test how the country can seize the full benefits of 5G and help businesses harness the power of modern technology.

WECA’s 5G Logistics project programme will develop 5G products and services to support operations at Bristol Port and Gravity Smart Campus and demonstrate a smart and dynamic port environment. The project will focus on security, traceability, and real-time tracking of goods within and across extendable virtual boundaries – and between public and private networks.

It will demonstrate how 5G private network capabilities can offer efficiency and productivity improvements to the logistics sector and more widely, allowing real-time location tracking of individual items, improvements to road traffic management and replacing low value, manually-intensive processes with 5G enabled autonomous systems. The project offers the potential for such advances in technology to be implemented industry-wide; including at other ports in the UK, Enterprise Zones or other business parks.

The Government has backed the project with £3m as part of its 5G Create competition – which supports innovators exploring new uses for 5G to help improve people’s lives and boost businesses.

West of England Mayor Tim Bowles said: “5G has the potential to revolutionise whole industries and economies, creating exciting new jobs and opportunities. I want the West of England to be at the forefront of this revolution.

“We have already led one successful trial and I’m thrilled that our plan to demonstrate how a smart and secure port could operate using the Internet of Things has been approved for funding by the Government. Backing innovation and the jobs of the future and bringing new investment to the region by securing a Freeport are key parts of our plan for economic recovery, so this is a big vote of confidence in the West of England.”

WECA is leading a consortium of partners on the £5.2m 5G Logistics project – one of nine projects to receive government funding – which includes companies ADVA Ltd, Airspan, AttoCore, Bristol Port, Cellnex UK, Gravity, Maritime, Unmanned Life, Bristol City Council, Bristol University and Cardiff University. 5G is the type of cutting-edge technical innovation that the West of England is looking to embrace with its forthcoming Freeport bid.

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