As part of the government’s 5G strategy for the UK, global innovation hub, Sensor City, has been awarded a £3.5m grant to investigate the opportunities of 5G community wi-fi in health and social care.
There are six small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), universities and local authorities that have been chosen to represent the best of UK innovation, resources and expertise.
These companies will test 5G across a range of applications to pave the way for a future rollout of 5G technology in the UK. They are part of a £1 billion commitment through the Digital Strategy to keep Britain at the forefront of connectivity by accelerating the deployment of next generation digital infrastructure and driving forward new 5G business opportunities.
Sensor City will lead a consortium made up of public sector health suppliers, the NHS, university researchers, local SMEs and a leading UK 5G technology vendor.
Alison Mitchell, executive director at Sensor City, said: “Sensor City is proud to lead on what is set to be a truly groundbreaking project with a consortium of like-minded partners.
“The Government’s 5G strategy for the UK presents a fantastic opportunity to transform the lives of many, especially through health and social care, so I think I speak for all partners when I say we’re excited to see this work unfold over the next five years.”
Funded for one year in the first instance, the project will see high value technologies including low-cost open source 5G networks, artificial intelligence and virtual reality deployed across deprived communities in the Liverpool City Region test bed.
The consortium will use this technology to reduce the digital divide, while measuring the impact on patient monitoring and support, management of loneliness in older adults, aid to independents living in the home and the facilitation of communication between hospitals and the community.
Professor Joe Spencer of the University of Liverpool said: “A successful demonstration of a 5G testbed in health and social care will see the development of new, innovative and disruptive technologies that will help to bridge the digital divide in the UK, especially in deprived communities."
5G wi-fi will not only enable the development of new cost-effective products and services to address real needs and demand, but also bring huge social and economic benefits for the most vulnerable in society, while reducing the demand on hospital-based services.