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Huawei teams with UK innovators to create 5G futures

Next-generation network facility in Cambridge claims to be breaking fresh ground across multiple industries and creating a true first-mover advantage with private 5G

The last year or so may have seen its technology ordered to be removed from UK communications networks, but Huawei’s contribution to the country’s 5G sector is very much persisting at the Cambridge Wireless (CW) 5G Testbed with three UK companies that it says are working on the cutting edge of technology to bring the potential of 5G into the real world.

The facility employs a private network supported by Huawei at the university city’s  Science Park and the three companies – HADO UK, Epitomical and Cambridge Sensoriis – are using the next-generation wireless standard to “break fresh ground” across multiple industries and giving themselves a true first-mover advantage, said Huawei.

The CW 5G Testbed is working with 10 partners to push the technological boundaries of 5G and create the solutions for a future that is closer than many may think. “5G private network testbeds are an essential addition to the UK’s R&D offering, enabling SMEs to integrate 5G technology at speed, to overcome issues promptly and get a more advanced product to market ahead of their competition,” said Cambridge Wireless CEO Simon Mead.

“An engineering team can customise a private network such as the CW 5G Testbed to its needs, access the full range of 5G features and test a variety of connectivity scenarios, rather than depending on the more limited features and bandwidth typical of a public network.”

HADO UK is the developer and distributor of an augmented reality-based e-sport that allows support teams to play each other remotely, which means a European international match can be held without any player boarding a plane. Jim Sephton, HADO UK director, said: “5G has allowed us to create a stable platform to run remote play matches for a physical sport, something that has purely been the domain of e-sports until now.”

Cambridge Sensoriis is described as an expert in radar technology and through 5G it aims to bring a new level of safety to the UK’s roads and skies with a new cloud computing system that can position, track and monitor moving vehicles to an accuracy of a few centimetres. “The support we’ve had, both technically and commercially, has greatly helped us to test and refine our highly sensitive radar systems, which will be critical for the autonomous vehicle revolution,” said Cambridge Sensoriis CEO Steve Clark.

“Sensoriis is now well positioned to provide the necessary radar solutions for the newly dawning and exciting age of autonomous drones, cars and industrial vehicles.”

Epitomical is the designer of autonomous connected vehicle Autorover, which is said to be transforming critical workers’ ability to perform tasks in dangerous environments due to real-time teleoperations and a new robotic arm from Extend Robotics on its 5G-enabled mobile rover platform. “Advances in sensor technology, computing power and edge processing together with advanced artificial intelligence capabilities makes collaboration between man and machine inevitable,” said Epitomical director Danish Alam.

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“Innovative communications technology like 5G will enable machines to talk to the cloud and each other in ways not previously possible. The accelerator has allowed us to demonstrate the benefits of native 5G capability between our Autorover and users using high bandwidth, low latency and private 5G networks.”

Huawei regards 5G private networks as enabling a hotbed of technological innovation in the UK, allowing companies to develop their products in a closed 5G world ahead of the new standard being fully rolled out globally. Huawei said the level of support available to both the engineering and commercial teams is a significant differentiator for companies developing on this 5G private network.

In the CW 5G Testbed, the developers had access to technical experts from CW and Huawei to ensure that the companies developed the in-house knowledge to succeed with this new generation of wireless technology, and that the 5G integration and testing process remained on schedule. The SMEs within the testbed receive support in marketing, sales and partnership-building, with highlights including a strong brand presence for the SMEs at Connected Britain 2021 and private introductions to potential partners.

“The great thing about the testbed is that it is like taking a trip into a future that really is not far away at all,” said Victor Zhang, Huawei vice-president. “These smart developers can get ahead of the game by developing the tech that brings 5G to life. It is really people like this that make our work in connectivity worthwhile.”

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