BAM set to participate in £28 million trial of innovative new uses of 5G to improve people’s lives

13 January, 2021

A BAM-led consortium will be part of a government-funded trial to explore the potential of 5G to improve people’s lives and help build back better from the pandemic.

It is one of nine projects to receive funding as part of a £28.3 million joint investment between government and businesses to test how the country can seize the full benefits of 5G and help British industries capitalise on the power of modern technology.

● Other government-funded test projects include improving fan experiences at O2 arena and MK Dons stadium, trialling 5G-powered cargo ports and boosting tourism sites such as the Eden Project

● One scheme will see David Attenborough swap the TV airwaves for 5G to show people the wonders of the natural world through modern technology

● More than half of the projects will use new Open RAN technology as the government drives greater diversification in the 5G supply chain

The project will be an enabler for digital solutions that improve construction productivity within BAM Nuttall and the wider UK construction industry. Additionally, it will help grow UK technical capability in the field of 5G. The £1,692,733 project will be delivered by a consortium led by BAM Nuttall partnered with AttoCore and Building Research Establishment with £846,365 funding coming from government.

Minister for Digital Infrastructure, Matt Warman, said:

“The government has put £200 million behind some of the UK’s most enterprising innovators to explore how 5G can accelerate growth in key industries. I look forward to seeing how this new era of mobile technology can empower construction firms to work smarter, shorten delivery times and cut costs.”

5G Create is part of the government’s £200 million investment in testbeds and trials across the UK to explore new ways that 5G can boost productivity, grow existing businesses or spark new ones. In the competition’s second round, DCMS has provided £15.2 million to be shared across the nine projects with the remaining £13.1 million coming from project partners.

Colin Evison, Head of Innovation at BAM Nuttall said:

“We are really excited to join the 5G Create programme and have the opportunity to further develop our digital capability that will help us in our mission to build sustainable environments that enhance people’s lives. We believe the project outcomes will benefit our business and the wider construction industry in its drive to improve productivity.”

Rob Youster, Global Director of Construction Site IT at BAM Group said:

“This is a fantastic opportunity to see how a construction site and their workforce empowers and interacts with this new way of working on 5G technology at a remote location. It will illustrate that this is the real “crossroad” moment of change in our industry that ensures we can go into a new direction when delivering services to our sites.

“The rule book of delivering IT services and Digital Construction can be re-written if our teams identify what is possible with this technology. We will see cost efficiencies, increased user experience and access to large real-time data all within secure environments. A win for our business and clients alike.”

BAM Nuttall will explore how 5G can support the construction industry: testing 5G-powered cameras, drones and sensors at construction sites in Kilsyth, Glasgow and Shetland.

The project working as 5G AMC 2 (Accelerate, Maximise and Create for Construction) seeks to explore how 5G can enable the use of data to maximise productivity of construction processes. The project will set up a private 5G network at construction firm BAM Nuttall’s regional office in Kilsyth, Scotland and a construction project in Shetland, using cameras, drones, mixed reality and IoT sensors to monitor construction process and track assets.

UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said:

“The UK Government is funding 5G innovation trials to help Scottish industry harness the opportunities and possibilities 5G offers.

“5G is an exciting technology, with higher connection speeds and capacity having potential to enable the use of innovate technology, transforming industry.

“I’m delighted this significant UK Government investment is funding such an important project in Scotland.”

Other trials will include:

A new augmented reality app, to be released alongside upcoming BBC series The Green Planet, will see users stream high resolution ‘holographic’ video of Sir David as meticulously detailed graphics of exotic plants and animals adorn their surroundings.

Developed by a consortium of leading creative and technology firms, including EE and London-based immersive content studio Factory 42, the app will highlight the possibilities of 5G to new audiences and show other creative and technology firms how the ultrafast network can handle data-intensive immersive content. It will also get people engaged with nature and wildlife.

Award-winning Leeds-based TV production company Candour TV will test 5G’s ability to broadcast high quality live content and transfer huge video files from a variety of extreme locations, terrains and weather conditions - from dog sledding in the Cairngorms to cave diving in the Yorkshire Dales and sea cliff climbing in Gogarth, Wales.

This capability, if proven, could see 5G becoming a standard for the film production industry in the UK - not just in TV production but for YouTubers, Instagrammers, outdoor events companies, music festivals and many others.

5G will be put to use in some of Britain’s biggest venues. In London, O2’s Project Vista will explore how it can provide instant, multi-angle replays via smartphones during stadium events. The MK Stadium, home to Milton Keynes Dons FC, will be kitted out with driverless taxis, smart parking management and robots to help the site run more efficiently and enhance experiences for spectators and staff.

To support the tourism sector, the Eden Project in Cornwall will explore how 5G and 360 degree video can enhance the visitor experience and allow anyone to enjoy the exhibits and talks. On the Isle of Wight people will be encouraged to take up yacht racing using immersive virtual reality experiences in a bid to explore use-cases for the sports industry.

In a boost to Global Britain, the funding will help improve operations at ports. 5G-powered yard cranes will aim to improve productivity at the Port of Felixstowe and at Bristol Port 5G will enable the real-time tracking of movement of goods. This is part of the Government’s push to harness tech to turbocharge our future as an independent trading nation.

Five of the projects, including BAM Nuttall’s, will also test out the technical possibilities of Open RAN - an alternative way of building telecoms networks that allows for greater interoperability of radio equipment between vendors and will give operators more choice and flexibility as they roll out 5G infrastructure.

The adoption of Open RAN forms a key element of the government’s 5G Diversification Strategy which aims to boost diversity, competition and security in the digital infrastructure supply chain.

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