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5PRING issues call for 5G innovation in UK events sector

West Midlands telecoms industry testbed challenges innovators to help lead the next-generation networks revolution as live events industry gets back to life

The consortium behind the UK’s first 5G commercial application accelerator, 5PRING, has launched an open call for its Live Events challenge, setting a series of tasks for small businesses to solve using 5G-enabled solutions to power recovery in the events sector.

5PRING was launched in 2020 through a collaboration between West Midlands 5G (WM5G), The O2, Deloitte, Digital Catapult and Wayra as one of the UK’s first commercial accelerators and to develop the first region-wide 5G testbed.

As part of the programme, a number of organisations – including the NEC Group, The O2 (owned and operated by AEG Worldwide), Coventry Transport Museum and the Herbert Museum – have contributed their own challenges to the call, which has been set up for “disruptive and innovative” companies in the events sector to put forward 5G-enabled solutions.

The Live Events challenge is designed to provide startups and other small businesses with support in developing and scaling innovations that harness the power of 5G to enhance and encourage sector growth. The challenge will provide entrants with opportunities to undertake transformative use cases and explore solutions from across the events industry, covering topics including audience experience, venue management and improving interactivity of exhibits.

Successful applicants will receive access to technology via a private 5G network, a tailored acceleration programme, as well as coaching, mentoring and expertise provided by experts from the supporting organisations and 5PRING consortium members. 

Applicants with 5G-enabled solutions which leverage augmented reality, computer vision, internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics are encouraged to apply. 

Commenting on the project on behalf of his company, which is one of the UK’s leading live events businesses, NEC Group CIO James Hunter-Jackson said: “We’re exceedingly pleased to be a part of the latest 5PRING challenge… We are continually looking for ways to drive the events industry forward through innovation and data. We have invested heavily in powerful technology that boosts our competitive advantage and helps us to excel in demanding markets, including live events and broadcast. 

“From experience, we already know the benefits of marrying our size and expertise with the innovation and disruptive thinking of smaller companies and startups, so we’re delighted to be part of the Live Events challenge, supporting organisations to develop new and exciting solutions. Creative 5G-powered solutions have the potential to play a role in the recovery of the events sector following the pandemic, and I look forward to seeing what new ideas are generated.”

Robert Franks, managing director of WM5G, added: “The vast majority of marketers within the tech industry believe that in-person events have a major impact on achieving company goals and that almost all event professionals (97%) use agenda features in their event apps.

“Participants to this open call are being asked to consider a wide range of different challenges and obstacles in the events sector, including how we use technology to manage both the operations and customer experience at future live events. The guidance and expert advice that our 5PRING teams can provide both virtually and through our dedicated accelerator hubs in Coventry, Wolverhampton and Birmingham are leading the way.

“We are hoping to capture some truly fantastic, innovative solutions from small businesses that may not otherwise have access to this kind of audience. We’re excited to see what solutions are provoked by our challenges and we really urge innovators to apply to the programme.”

Applications for the accelerator should be submitted through the 5PRING application page by midnight on 12 November 2021. Successful applicants will start working with 5PRING from 4 January 2022. 

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