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MWC 2017: BT showcases network startups and 5G for VR

At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, BT announces new research into network design and build, and explores the future of 5G networks

At Mobile World Congress 2017 (MWC) in Barcelona, BT announced its participation in the Telecoms Infra Project (TIP), a global initiative comprising Facebook, Deutsche Telekom, SK Telecom, EE, Nokia and Intel, to reshape how networks are designed and deployed, and enlisted Nokia to participate in a new research project into future 5G networks.

The TIP will see BT work jointly with Facebook and other community members at its technical lab in Adastral Park and other locations, enabling telecoms infrastructure startups to get hands on with sector experts from around the world.

BT said its involvement would help the expanding number of networking innovators in the UK, connecting them to new sources of investment and launching their products and services on a larger stage.

Through the partnership, TIP will open a number of startup accelerators, one of which will be hosted be BT in the UK, complementing an existing facility in South Korea.

“We’re excited to work with BT to launch TIP’s newest Ecosystem Acceleration Centres in the UK,” said Alex Jinsung Choi, TIP chairman and CTO of SK Telecom.

“We started these centres because we believe that we need to find ways to attract the brightest entrepreneurs and most innovative investors to work together as part of the TIP community. This centre will help us achieve our goal of creating an ecosystem that delivers new, agile and deployable infrastructure solutions to operators quickly and seamlessly.”

The UK centre will look at the application of quantum computing technology to networks and mission critical, public sector-driven network projects.

Howard Watson, CEO of technology, services and operations at BT, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to combine BT’s brightest minds with up-and-coming entrepreneurs and Facebook’s global presence.

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“The TIP initiative is open innovation at its finest: pushing the boundaries; transforming the traditional use of technologies; and galvanising a global network of like-minded innovators to look beyond the current mix of technologies to the longer-term future. This initiative supports our ambition to keep the UK at the very forefront of technology and telecoms innovation on a global scale and to encourage creative talent to engage with engineering and science,” said Watson.

Meanwhile, Nokia and BT are to enhance their existing R&D collaboration to investigate how 5G mobile networks can be used to support future virtual reality (VR) services. This project will look into how the low latency and high bandwidth features of 5G can be best use to maximise VR user experience.

The two firms are demonstrating their progress at Mobile World Congress, using VR headsets to replay the Tottenham Hotspur versus CSKA Moscow Europa League clash in December 2016. This match was filmed using the Ozo, a professional-grade VR camera developed by Nokia, with eight lenses providing a 360 degree sphere for video and surround sound. Viewers will be able to sit in a virtual VIP box anywhere in Wembley Stadium.

Harold Graham, head of the 5G in mobile networks at Nokia, said: “Virtual Reality, in particular, has enormous potential, both for entertainment as well as other applications, so our demo with BT in Barcelona is a compelling way to create both excitement and understanding of that potential.”

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