Scotland 5G Centre officially launches its 5G Innovation Hub in Ayrshire

National centre for accelerating the deployment and adoption of 5G in Scotland and realising its economic and societal potential unveils latest hub in Ayrshire in partnership with Vodafone and HALO

The Scotland 5G Centre (S5GC) has launched its latest 5G Innovation Hub in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire.

The S5GC was set up in October 2019 as the national hub for accelerating the deployment and adoption of 5G and realising economic and societal potential. It is a partnership between the University of Strathclyde – which hosts the centre – the University of Glasgow and the Scottish Futures Trust.

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 Scotland, with advanced digital connectivity supporting new opportunities and economic progress through innovation.

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

The 5G mobile private networks (MPNs) will be located in the Scotland 5G Centre’s Aberdeen and HALO Kilmarnock innovation hubs. These locations were first announced in March 2022 and will offer a scaled-down and isolated data network, offering 5G data services and helping business customers deliver new applications and services using Vodafone 5G connectivity. Specialist staff will help companies to develop, prototype and test real-world, 5G-powered applications and use cases.

The new hub is based at the Kilmarnock Halo Enterprise and Innovation Centre and follows the installation of a dedicated 5G mobile private network, deployed by Vodafone in eight weeks, to which local companies have free access. With this, companies will be able to explore and adopt new digitally enabled opportunities with benefits such as increased productivity, decreased downtimes, enhanced customer experience, unparalleled digital security and what are claimed to be reductions in cost and carbon footprint.

“I am delighted to launch the S5GConnect HALO Kilmarnock Innovation hub with support from our partners at Vodafone and Halo,” said Sharon Neely, business engagement manager for S5GConnect HALO Kilmarnock. “The innovation hub provides knowledge, expertise and space for businesses to prototype, design and trial goods and services over a private 5G network. We look forward to supporting local companies and local public sector bodies, to help them to unlock the benefits of 5G-enabled technology and how it allows them to achieve a step-change in their business.”

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At the site’s launch, businesses, local authorities and members of the Ayrshire community heard how the Centre, through its national suite of innovation hubs across Scotland, is working with the private and public sectors to enable step-changes in business through the application of 5G. Attendees also took part in a series of 5G-enabled demonstrations.

The University of Glasgow – one of the Centre’s founding partners – highlighted how organisations can remotely monitor room capacity and desk occupancy, which, when combined with artificial intelligence, can be used to gather data on peak times of occupancy in order to save energy and reduce their carbon emission.

Vodafone demonstrated its mixed reality technology combining the real and virtual worlds, demonstrating a technology that will see use in training to improve the learning of complex processes and the speed of completing repetitive tasks, as well as for specialists to provide remote support to on-site engineers.

Kim Moran-Hogg, head of Scotland & Northern Ireland at Vodafone Business, said: “Vodafone is delighted to partner once again with the Scotland 5G Centre for the launch of the second 5G Hub, in HALO Kilmarnock. This testbed will make sure Scottish businesses and public bodies have access to next-generation technologies, powered by state-of-the-art private networks.

“It is vital that leading-edge technologies are available to drive opportunity for both businesses and citizens and 5G is critical to deliver these opportunities, ensuring that the benefits of digital reach every community across the UK. This centre of excellence in Kilmarnock can be a showcase for Scotland and the whole of the UK.”

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