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5G Innovation Centre officially opens at the University of Surrey

12 October 2015

Pioneering ultra-high definition (4K) video streaming and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.

Ordnance Survey has partnered with The University of Surrey in the opening of a state-of-the-art 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) to secure the UK’s role in leading the development of the next generation communications technology.

Housing over 170 researchers and attracting over £70 million of investment, including £12 million from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the 5GIC is the world’s largest academic research centre dedicated to next generation mobile and wireless connectivity.

Miranda Sharp, Head of Smart Cities Practice at Ordnance Survey, said: “The OS map of Great Britain is already used by business and the public sector to locate resources and assets to manage and maintain these as the world around them changes and develops. The location of an asset and its context allows the cross referencing of data, which is key to the success of the Internet of Things. By working with the 5G Innovation Centre, OS will be a part of the pioneering work in the future of communications, building the Internet of Things into the map of Great Britain.”

The Centre brings together leading academic expertise and major industry partners to define and develop a global 5G network that will radically change lives across the world. Through their work, they have already developed a technology that enables speeds of one terabit per second (Tbps) – more than 1,000 times faster than the highest 4G speed, and filed over 15 patents.

Professor Rahim Tafazolli, Director of the 5GIC, said: “While we have already achieved record-breaking speeds, 5G is not only about delivering faster mobile Internet. It is a transformative set of technologies that will radically change our private and professional lives by enabling innovative applications and services, such as remote healthcare, wireless robots, driverless cars and connected homes and cities, removing boundaries between the real and cyber worlds. These capabilities make 5G a ‘Special Generation’ of connectivity.

“The true impact of 5G will come from the innovative applications the new network will enable, some of which are yet to be realised. The opening of the Centre today marks an important step in allowing those from across the globe to work with us in developing the new network and for partners, other universities and industry to test out their new applications in a real world setting, before they are brought to market. This technology will then be commercialised from 2020, driving economic development and research for the UK, while delivering research that will impact the world.”

5G supporting the Internet of Things (IoT)

A key demonstration is focussed on the requirement for 5G to provide the necessary “backbone” to connect the billions of devices which will form the future IoT, supporting thousands of devices per square kilometre in addition to smart phone usage. The demonstration shows how a new (5G-Sparse Coding Multiple Access) radio waveform can support at least three times the number of IoT devices than would be possible with 4G. It is a great example of how the newly opened 5GIC testbed can be used to trial real 5G IoT applications, illustrating the level of improvement in network capacity that can be expected from a 5G network.

Video of the future

Opening alongside the Centre is the 5GIC’s new testbed facility, providing researchers with a fully-functioning advanced 4G network. Over time, it will be upgraded to include fully-fledged 5G technologies and large-scale Internet of Things (IoT). By 2018 the testbed will be able to deliver 10Gbs/per cell, ten times faster than the highest speed available over 4G.

To demonstrate the potential of the testbed, 5GIC researchers and partners are today unveiling a pioneering wireless technology performing mobile streaming of ultra-high definition video.

Developed in partnership with Huawei, BBC R&D and the 5GIC, ultra-high-definition (4k) video will be streamed to a mobile device over an enhanced outdoor mobile network, providing a first major step in delivering the expected capacity of 5G.

Professor Rahim Tafazolli explained: “Using evolved hardware and software, the demonstration showed the capabilities 5G could hold for bandwidth hungry applications such as ultra-high definition video on the move. This provides much higher quality, less compressed images than 4G/LTE, streamed to a mobile device or television.”

Jo Johnson, Minister for Universities and Science, said: “The development of 5G presents a significant economic opportunity and this world-leading centre will position the UK at the forefront of research into the next generation of communications technology. The Government wants Britain to be the best place in Europe to innovate and we are committed to supporting collaborations like this one to ensure pioneering research continues to improve people’s lives.”


Notes to Editors

5G Innovation Centre Partners
The 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) at the University of Surrey brings together leading academic expertise and key industry partners to develop the next generation of wireless technology, 5G. Partners include: EE, Huawei, O2, Vodafone, HEFCE, Enterprise M3, TEOCO Corporation, BBC, BT, Cobham, Anite, Ascom, Catapult Digital, Fujitsu, Rohde & Schwarz, Samsung, Roke, McLaren Applied Technologies, Ofcom, Imagination Technologies, ITRI, MYCOM OSI, Three and Ordnance Survey.

About the University of Surrey
The University of Surrey is one of the UK’s leading professional, scientific and technological universities with a world-class research profile and a reputation for excellence in teaching and research. Ground-breaking research at the University is bringing direct benefit to all spheres of life – helping industry to maintain its competitive edge and creating improvements in the areas of health, medicine, space science, the environment, communications, defence and social policy. Programmes in science and technology have gained widespread recognition and it also boasts flourishing programmes in dance and music, social sciences, management and languages and law.

In addition to the campus on 150 hectares just outside Guildford, Surrey, the University also owns and runs the Surrey Research Park, which provides facilities for 110 companies employing 2,750 staff. The University of Surrey was recently ranked 4th in The Guardian league table of UK universities for 2016.

About Ordnance Survey
As Britain’s mapping agency, Ordnance Survey makes the most up-to-date and accurate digital and paper maps of the country. Each day OS makes over 10,000 changes to its database of over 450 million geographic features. Since 1783 OS content has been used to help governments, companies and individuals work more effectively both here and around the world. The information OS gathers helps keep the nation, economy and infrastructure moving.

Media enquiries

  • Keegan Wilson, Senior Press Officer at Ordnance Survey: +44 (0)2380 055332 / keegan.wilson@os.uk
  • Amy Sutton, Media Relations Officer at the University of Surrey: +44 (0)1483 686141 / a.sutton@surrey.ac.uk
  • Emily Fingland, Media Relations Officer at the University of Surrey: +44 (0)1483 686076 / e.fingland@surrey.ac.uk

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