The 5GIC has to date attracted an additional £68m from industry and regional partners.
The Centre will provide a research hub for the telecommunications sector with dedicated specialist laboratories for network management/operation and communications electronics. The Centre will be connected to the Vodafone Core Network, the Fujitsu Cloud Computing facilities and to a 4km2 5Gwireless test facility’ encompassing motorway, rural, urban and dense urban radio environments.
With the aim of delivering innovation from the lab to the real-world, the 5GIC testbed is split into three key areas: mobile broadband radio, fixed core network and service platform based on software defined networking (SDN ) and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Professor Rahim Tafazolli, Director of 5GIC, says: “The plan is that these three testbeds will be integrated into one system which will become 5G. These will be open facilities where we will welcome industry (large and small and start-ups) and academia to take advantage of our facilities for the furthering of communications technologies and applications as a whole. This will enable us to translate research from the lab to a real-world environment, along with industry partners who will be able to work with us to translate technical breakthroughs to deliver 5G applications and continuously feed our work into standardisations of the 5G system.”
In addition to the core programme of research and development which is being progressed with major corporate partners, 5GIC intends to connect to high growth SMEs and start-ups within the wider region. The SME programme involves collaborations with a group of 6 LEPs known collectively as the Greater Thames Valley 6 (GTV6). These comprise, Enterprise M3 (The LEP 5G lead); Coast2Capital; Buckinghamshire Thames Valley; Hertfordshire; Oxfordshire; and Thames Valley Berkshire.
The project has initially been awarded £5m funding from The Enterprise M3 Local Growth fund and will consist of a two-stage approach. The first stage of fundingwill cover an 18 month Pilot Phase which will include:
The Enterprise M3 region is home to around 100,000 SMEs, in addition to global businesses. It is a location that offers success and opportunities for growth to newly created businesses, whilst acting as a key workforce artery to London’s economy. EM3’s Growth Fund investment will be focused on delivering connections to the 5GIC testbed that will be accessible to local businesses under quality controls designed to ensure effective and optimal use. Use of 5GIC facilities will also bring local business into contact with the mobile communications corporates who are founder members of the Centre. In these terms, the investment will:
Outside of EM3, it should be noted that the extension project is an integral part of 5GIC which will involve other UK areas that have HE strengths in 5G mobile technologies
Many technology start-ups are driven by people of vision. However, in many cases they require support in non-technology issues in order to turn their vision into profitable businesses. The Surrey Business School is running an “Agile Innovation Programme” to address this. Their concept is of a “Business insight lab” and “Impact acceleration lab” as two parallel bridges helping SME address the business issues of taking an idea and making it “product ready” for the market.
The service the Business School offers SMEs is technology-neutral. The 5GIC is technology-specific and routed in the telecoms market. The two centres are complementary and can be considered as two sides of a coin providing help and support to technology/application SMEs that engage with the University by either route.
See more information about the benefits of becoming a 5GIC member and how to join us.