Scotland 5G Centre opens two more ‘transformational’ 5G hubs

Latest part of £4m Scottish government funding package to accelerate the adoption of 5G sees next-gen communications centres opened in Aberdeen and Kilmarnock to boost the economy and encourage entrepreneurship

The Scotland 5G Centre (S5GC) is expanding its S5GConnect Programme by announcing two new 5G innovation hubs to be located in Aberdeen and Kilmarnock.

A partnership between the University of Strathclyde – which hosts the Centre in the Glasgow City Innovation District  – and Glasgow City Council, Scottish Enterprise, the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurial Scotland, the Scotland 5G Centre was first announced in October 2019 as the national hub for accelerating the deployment and adoption of 5G.

The facility is part of S5GConnecta programme designed to deliver the Scottish government’s 5G Strategy through a network of hubs to help establish Scotland as a leading 5G nation, providing a platform for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), entrepreneurs and corporates to explore the benefits of enhanced connectivity.

The S5GC is intended to enable all types of business to reap the benefits of next-generation network technology. It will allow businesses of all sizes and stages to visit the hubs and experience 5G first-hand. Live test beds opening across the regions will allow the S5GConnect programme to accelerate the adoption of 5G across the country with advanced digital connectivity supporting new opportunities and economic progress through innovation.

S5GC is also committed to introducing new ways of connecting people and places to support the levelling up of the digital divide.

After the opening of hubs in the Forth Valley and Dundee in early 2021, the doors of the first rural live 5G network opened for business in November that year at the Scotland 5G Centre hub at the Crichton Centre in Dumfries, a collaborative centre for learning and rural innovation serving the south of Scotland.

The new centres in southwest and northeast Scotland will be the fourth and fifth S5GCs aiming to support economic growth through the deployment and adoption of 5G technology, supported by a £4m investment from the Scottish government. Since launching the first three hubs, the Scotland 5G Centre has engaged with more than 400 businesses on the transformational benefits of 5G technology. The new hubs will promote innovation and investment, focusing on sectors relevant to the Ayrshire and Aberdeen economies, including energy, offshore and ports.

Based in ONE Tech Hub, the new hub in Aberdeen is a partnership with Opportunity North East. In Ayrshire, HALO Kilmarnock will be the lead partner and the hub will be hosted in the HALO Enterprise and Innovation Centre at the HALO Digital & Cyber Innovation Park. HALO Kilmarnock is a £63m brownfield urban regeneration project on a 23-acre site, formerly the home of Scotch whisky brand Johnnie Walker.

The hubs will act as “business enablers” to accelerate strategic partnerships with key customers in the regions, to leverage new applications and services, enabled through 5G connectivity.  Specialist staff will support companies to develop, prototype and test real-world applications and use cases over a 5G innovation platform, and gain one-to-one consultancy and professional support to develop and scale businesses at no initial cost to the user.

“Announcing two further S5GConnect Hubs is a significant step forward in this innovative new programme,” said Paul Coffey, chief executive of the Scotland 5G Centre. “Our expanding hub network will unlock growth and innovation, augmented through 5G network capabilities, and re-imagine customer processes and outcomes through data, AI/AR and machine learning. Acting as a catalyst to place Scotland at the forefront of digital connectivity, each hub will build on regional engagement, job creation and skills development by supporting key sectors and businesses.”

Scottish government economy secretary Kate Forbes added: “The S5GConnect Hub programme is playing an important role in unlocking the power of 5G technologies, helping small and medium‑sized enterprises with the skills they need to understand how 5G can benefit their business. This transformational technology could provide Scotland with competitive advantage and, most importantly, improve quality of life for citizens and businesses across the country as we rebuild a sustainable economy with good jobs at its heart.”

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