Digital & IT

Minister hails "incredible innovation" as he tours ground-breaking 5G research projects

Matt Warman MP, Minister for Digital Infrastructure: "I’ve seen some incredible innovation happening across Dorset with the help of government funding."

By Staff Reporter [email protected]

Published: July 12, 2021 | Updated: 12th July 2021

A government minister has praised the “incredible innovation” in Dorset after seeing for himself 5G projects in action.

Matt Warman MP, Minister for Digital Infrastructure, visited the 5G RuralDorset project and took a tour of the locations making up the Department for Culture, Media and Sport-backed research initiative.

His day began at Dorset Innovation Park where he was given a demonstration of a fully connected emergency response vehicle which included drone footage transmitted over the 5G network from Lulworth.

He then toured the Ministry of Defence’s new Battle Lab workshop.

The new facility houses a private 5G network and will allow the MOD and small, agile technology companies to collaborate and develop new 5G products and services.

The Minister with Gordon Fong, Director, Kimcell. Picture: Len Copland.

This was followed by a visit to the secure outdoor 5G test environment which can be used to evaluate 5G applications and products ‘in the wild’, including autonomous vehicles.

The Minister was next taken to Durdle Door where he was shown the new 5G connected digital signage which informs the public of sea conditions and tide times via data collected using a sea condition monitoring system (SCMS) located offshore.

This includes what is believed to be the only self-powered floating 5G buoy on the globe.

Charged by the sun, it shows how innovation has a huge part to play in meeting net zero carbon objectives.

The buoy connects to the world’s first in-field 700 MHz standalone private 5G network and feeds digital signs with information about whether it’s safe to enter the water.

The four digital signs installed by the project at popular tourist hotspots also include footfall counting technology to help landowners and the local authorities manage potential overcrowding along the Jurassic Coast.

There was also the chance to meet the Lulworth First Responders who have recently had their emergency response vehicle brought into the 21st century with the latest communications kit and 5G connectivity.

Finally the Minister was taken by boat to view the SCMS buoy up close and to look at the coastline where the project is examining how 5G can be used to help monitor land slippage and cliff stability.

Cllr Peter Wharf, Dorset Council’s Deputy Leader, pictured left, said: “This visit marks an important milestone in the project as our research starts to become more visible and is being recognised at the highest levels of government.

“We hope what the Minister has seen here today will help inform decisions about 5G and rural connectivity, not just in Dorset but across the whole of the UK.”

Hector Gibson Fleming, CEO, Wessex Internet (left) with the Minister.

Mr Warman said: “5G is about much more than having a faster mobile phone and I’ve seen some incredible innovation happening across Dorset with the help of government funding.

“Whether it’s saving lives at sea, monitoring coastal erosion or helping our dedicated first responders, what we are learning in Dorset about this technology will help us improve lives and create new solutions to age-old problems.”

Partners and collaborators involved in the visit and the project included: Bournemouth University, British Geological Survey, Dorset Council, Excelerate Technology, Jet Engineering System Solutions, Kimcell, Neutral Networks, NGIS, Small Robot Company, Wessex Internet, Telint, University of Strathclyde, Vodafone, Satellite Applications Catapult, RNLI, Lulworth Estate, MOD, Qualcomm and University of Exeter.

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