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Mavenir, BAI Communications to deliver Sunderland smart city project

Network software firm enters collaboration with global communications infrastructure provider for smart city project

Communications infrastructure provider BAI Communications is to build a 5G-centric network, powered by Mavenir’s MAVedge offering, to accelerate adoption of transformative digital services for sectors including manufacturing and logistics, education, and social care, as part of a smart city project for Sunderland City Council.

The initial scope is for the deployment of a city-centre 5G private network which has the potential to evolve and become a neutral host network. Neutral host models provide coverage and connectivity for smart city initiatives, and enable local councils and authorities to provide smart services and run numerous smart community applications in a more viable and cost-effective manner.

The network will aim to help accelerate transformation in various sectors in Sunderland, such as smart homes, digital skills and education, manufacturing, and industry 4.0.

“We have long recognised the importance of technology in connecting people and realising opportunities to position Sunderland as a digital frontrunner,” said Liz St Louis, assistant director of smart cities at Sunderland City Council.

“This new partnership between BAI Communications and Mavenir presents a fully scalable network architecture to unlock innovation and shape the future of our leading smart city,” she said. “Together we are harnessing the power of technology and digital transformation for the benefit of residents, businesses and visitors to Sunderland. The new network will accelerate the emergence of more smart services, including community applications, digital upskilling opportunities and efficiency drives for our advanced manufacturing clusters across the city.”

As regards the first category, work will be carried out to address health and social care requirements supporting vulnerable individuals living in their own homes, providing access to assistive technologies such as sensors and other internet of things-enabled devices.

In digital skills and education, the council is looking at providing enhanced online and remote connectivity and distance learning across primary and secondary schools in the local authority. It will also improve supply chain agility for the automotive industry, including applications such as self-driving vehicles and autonomous heavy goods vehicles.

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The 5G Open vRAN and 5G Packet Core offerings are designed with cloud-native virtualisation techniques, providing a fully scalable and virtualised network architecture with open standard interfaces. The Open RAN platform provides BAI Communications with the option of deploying radio units from different suppliers.

The service uses software running on commercial off-the-shelf hardware to offer cost-effectiveness, flexibility and agility, while delivering one architecture as a baseline for many different use cases.

MAVedge comprises Mavenir’s Open vRAN and 5G Packet Core services, which will drive the next-generation digital transformation of the Smart City project, as well as provide advanced 5G mobile connectivity to the local Sunderland community.

The technology is designed to allow secure private networks to be distributed at the edge, and powers a digital marketplace of applications and devices to create an efficient environment for diverse use cases for the enterprise and industry.

“We are creating a new digital fabric for Sunderland’s city, upon which the city’s digital and business entrepreneurs can build a portfolio of new digital services for the benefits of residents, businesses and visitors,” said Andrew Conway, director of solutions and innovation at BAI Communications UK.

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