While the world enjoyed the action at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, we were just as interested in what was happening away from the ice and snow. Namely the first large-scale 5G pilot service.
For critics it served as a marketing ploy for KT Group, South Korea’s largest telecom, who promoted the event as the first “5G Olympic Games in the world.”
For us though, the games with its driverless buses, immersive broadcasting, 360-degree instant replays and zooming, as well as the opening ceremony’s spectacular 5G-enabled peace dove, the trial seemed like a fun way of introducing the next generation of wireless communications to a wider audience.
However, the surface has yet to be scratched on what 5G can truly deliver to help improve our lives. It’s very much in its infancy, but already we see how more and more devices are increasing their worth to us with services that require reliable Internet connectivity. Even the humble doorbell has received a tech makeover. You can now see and speak to whoever is at your door, no matter where you are on the planet. Imagine one day a surgeon in one area of the country performing vital surgery somewhere else through a 5G-enabled robot. 5G will help the Internet cope with this increase in demand.
In 1899, the Head of the US Patents Office, Charles H. Duell, famously declared: “Everything that can be invented has been invented.”
Then came the 20th century, the age of mass invention. Nearly 120 years on and, in this context, you sense that 5G is the start of something extraordinary. With some even stating it will: enable the future – accelerating innovation and growing the economy. Exciting stuff for everyone, you’d think. But it’s not that Mr Duell was wrong in 1899, though he was, he just demonstrates how fallible we all are when it comes to imagining the future.
If Mr Duell, a man surrounded by invention and America’s brightest minds couldn’t see computers, microchips, moon rockets and the Internet coming – to name just a few of the 20th century’s stunning breakthroughs that would have bent his head – then what chance do the rest of us have in explaining what the 5G future will be or look like? Except to say: It’s what you make it.
5G and OS
One thing that we know with certainty, and we write about this in two government-funded reports published today, is that the most cost effective and simplest way for the UK to adopt 5G is through the creation of a ‘Digital Twin’.
A short while ago, my wife received two seemingly identical catalogues in the post from a well-known online fashion retailer. Both were addressed to our home, but the catalogues differed in two respects. Firstly, one was labelled using her maiden name, whilst the other used her married surname. The second difference was more interesting. The first catalogue promised a 30% reduction on all purchases as a loyal customer reward. The second catalogue promised a 20% reduction. This told me two important things: (1) my wife spends more with this retailer since we married; (2) the retailer in question has no master data management (MDM) strategy for addresses.
By Katerina Harrington, Relationship Manager, OSGB
With an increased focus on house building across the country, how can we monitor the changes to the landscape of Great Britain? Government has pledged to enable the building of 300,000 new homes a year, to counteract the short fall of homes in this country. But they’ve also promised to protect the greenbelt and build more homes on brownfield land. How can we ensure our green spaces are being protected? Do we know how many homes are built on brownfield land vs greenspace or on the green belt? How can we monitor land change?
Land classification from Ordnance Survey (OS) data provides a way of monitoring the changes to the natural and built environment. Information about land cover and land use is a key part of the planning process. It’s used as a benchmark of current investments and can reveal patterns to inform regional planning. Planners may use land change patterns as part of an environmental conservation or sustainability project, or to predicted future housing requirements.
In fact, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) use OS land change information. It aids the analysis and monitoring of change in the number of homes built on the green belt, flood risk areas and previously developed land (brownfield).
We were hugely proud of our Geovation alumni Refill last week. Refill encourages businesses to allow thirsty passers-by to fill up their water bottles for free and their scheme is being rolled-out across England. And the good news created a splash of national headlines!
We’ve all heard about the issue of single-use plastic bottles and Refill, backed by industry body Water UK expect to cut usage by tens of millions bottles a year. All 15 water companies in England support the expansion of the scheme, which originated in Bristol.
You can use Refill’s app to find water stations and public fountains, or through window signs pointing people in the direction of the nearest one. Whitbread (owner of Costa Coffee and Premier Inn), has already signed up and will allow you to refill your bottles with drinking water in all branches from March 2018.
What’s in a name? Do you know where to find your Nuncle Dicks or your Deadman’s Head? Here’s half a million reasons why OS is helping the Coastguards save lives.
A distress call comes in. HM Coastguard swings in to action, time is of the essence, but the chances that the caller has a grid reference, post code, road name or the official title of a landmark is by no means certain. However the caller might well know the local nickname or vernacular for the location and when that information can be accessed immediately, then vital minutes could be cut off the time to save lives.
We’ve been working in partnership with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) using a technology which has helped Coastguard teams with more than 20,000 call outs last year alone.
A map is a graphical visualisation of the world around us and is made up using a variety of symbols to help us represent that geography.
Maps use symbols to label real-life features and make the maps clearer. With so many features on a map, there would not be enough space to label everything with text.
Symbols can be small pictures, letters, lines or coloured areas to show features like campsites, pubs or bus stations. If you look closely at a map, you will see that it is covered in symbols.
Over the past months, the OS Labs team has been busy developing a GIS based educational game experience using the Oculus Rift virtual reality system. The project is one element in a wider project that is exploring how both virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) can be used to present geospatial data in new and stimulating ways. Read on for a little background on the project…
Virtual reality, as a concept, has existed for many years. The first functional VR headset was built in the sixties, yet long before that, science fiction authors had already been daring to imagine such worlds. The early 90s saw consumer-orientated VR products being developed, marketed and, in some cases, actually released for sale. However, that technology couldn’t meet people’s expectations, leaving many disillusioned. More recent advancements in technology have put it back on the agenda. There is already a broad range of VR kit available for purchase, with more lined up for release in 2018. So, how might this relate to Ordnance Survey? With a sense of ‘place’ being a key component in VR, it seems that there is some common ground to explore.
By Miranda Sharp, Head of Smart Cities Practice at OS
We’re pleased to welcome the National Infrastructure Commission’s report, Data for the public good. As custodian of Britain’s geospatial database, containing over half a billion data points and updated up to 20,000 times a day, we recognise the challenges and opportunities of using information to make more of our infrastructure assets.
In our response to the original consultation, we called for a multi-party group to make infrastructure data accessible, using a framework of data standards for quality and interoperability. We’re pleased to be named in the report as part of the Task Group which will take forward this proposal.
By Nigel Clifford, Ordnance Survey Chief Executive
It was great to see ‘geospatial’ highlighted in the Autumn Budget on Wednesday.
Geospatial data already supports a wide range of economic activity and there is a significant opportunity to generate growth through more effective, co-ordinated use of the vast range of geospatial data captured and managed on behalf of government. In light of this, we look forward to working with the Geospatial Commission to investigate ways to capture the full potential of that growth as it co-ordinates the geospatial agenda for the country.
The Year of Engineering launched at Allenby Primary School in Southall, Ealing last week and our surveyor and air camera operator Roger Nock was on hand to inspire the children. The Minister of State at the Department for Transport, John Hayes CBE MP was at the Primary Futures event along with volunteers from the world of engineering, aiming to showcase the vast range of exciting roles within the sector.