Verizon and Digital Catapult create enterprise 5G accelerator programme

Venture will enable retail and brand partners to work directly with UK startups and tech innovators to explore 5G-enabled solutions

Since the Covid-19 outbreak began, questions have been asked over whether 5G will roll out as expected and whether the pandemic will cause business 5G plans to be shelved. But, undeterred, Verizon is teaming with Digital Catapult to launch an immersive accelerator programme to develop 5G solutions for enterprises.

The venture, between the leading operator and communications solutions provider and the digital technology innovation centre, which boasts a commercial 5G testbed, is designed to enable a select number of retail and brand partners to work directly with startups and tech innovators to explore how 5G-enabled solutions can solve their real-world business challenges.

They will use Verizon’s 5G and edge computing capabilities in its London 5G Lab and production studio to develop prototypes over a seven-month period.

Verizon’s London 5G Lab and production studio was launched in February 2020, marking the company’s first 5G-enabled facility outside the US. It offers a live Verizon 5G-enabled environment where organisations can develop and test 5G applications and experiences, and explore the boundaries of 5G network technology.

A number of use cases demonstrating how 5G’s throughput, bandwidth and ultra-low latency can transform industry experiences have already been showcased at the Lab, including an augmented shopping experience and virtual events.

In addition, Verizon’s production studio, RYOT, will be made available for enterprises to produce 3D content including virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) experiences, such as virtual events, using RYOT’s capabilities including volumetric capture, motion capture and AR broadcast from its facilities in London.

Christian Guirnalda, Verizon’s director of 5G Labs and Innovation Centres, said that now, more than ever, industries are looking to innovate rapidly out of business necessity, and in months instead of years. “Next-gen digital channels, remote experiences, immersive content at home and on the go – these are new ways to better serve customers, all unlocked by 5G,” he said.

“By pairing startups and creators with brands and providing access to a 5G environment and tools, we will together support the local entrepreneurial community and continue to accelerate the 5G ecosystem.”

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Digital Catapult’ s stated ambition is to help organisations of all sizes discover new ways to solve industry challenges, increase productivity and open up new markets. It designs and delivers specialised innovation programmes using technologies such as 5G, AI and immersive to drive UK leadership and economic growth. 

It says that since its launch in 2013, companies it has worked with have attracted more than £4bn in investment.

In the Verizon venture, Digital Catapult will provide retail partners that take part in the accelerator with access to leaders in the UK startup and innovator community.

“This accelerator is an incredible opportunity to bring 5G to life, proving its potential in real-world environments and revolutionising the retail experience for consumers,” said Geraldina Iraheta, director of business development at Digital Catapult.

“We are excited to be working with Verizon to showcase the future of retail in this way.”

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