In partnership with Nokia, we are delivering ground-breaking 5G testbed facilities in Northern Ireland set to supercharge smart manufacturing and education in the region over the next five years.
This cutting-edge 5G and 4G Mobile Private Network is a first-of-its-kind in a smart manufacturing and education setting in Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland. The programme provides the latest network technologies, including 5G, Narrowband-Internet of Things (NB-IoT) and on-premise edge computing, and will be instrumental in upskilling the next generation of innovators and experts across the country.
The programme was launched by Smart Nano NI, a local photonics consortium focused on advanced prototyping and smart manufacturing methods, and is being led by consortium partner Digital Catapult the UK authority on advanced digital technology.
A smart education site at the Industry 4.0 Centre in the Northwest Regional College’s Springtown Campus will give both students and industry parties access to explore and test new use cases using the 5G Mobile Private Network, whilst a manufacturing site hosted at Seagate, will give businesses the opportunity to test the technology in a live manufacturing setting.
Volkan Pakoglu, Director Consulting Services at CGI, said: “The deployment of this new 5G platform - which includes on-premise edge computing - will demonstrate the value of creating mobile private networks within business by taking full advantage of the power, performance, and connectivity of 5G. We are committed to working together with Smart Nano NI and its partners to support and facilitate innovation, sustainable solutions and use technology for good.”
Scott Wise, GSI Partner Sales Manager at Nokia, added: “Nokia is pleased to be supporting the Smart Nano Northern Ireland consortium and through its partnership with CGI in delivering the 5G and 4G private network into Seagate’s manufacturing facilities will help drive smart manufacturing innovation, with the ultimate outcome of expected increased innovation within the region.”
William Revels, Managing Director at Digital Catapult Northern Ireland, said: “This is an exciting milestone for the project as we bring access to the latest 5G technology to both industry and academia and enable businesses to take advantage of the substantial market opportunities offered by 5G. Derry-Londonderry will be the ninth 5G testbed in Digital Catapult’s nationwide network and we’ve seen the opportunities that can be opened up from providing the equipment and in turn de-risking innovation.”
Dr Fergal Tuffy, Business Support Centre Manager at North West Regional College, added: “We are delighted to have the 5G testbed installed at our Springtown Campus, adding to our automation and robotics equipment at the Industry 4.0 Centre. This exciting collaboration will allow us to support students and businesses to gain skills and knowledge to take advantage of the opportunities that these cutting-edge technologies present.”
Jason Wiggins, Programme Manager for Smart Nano NI, said: “The combined investment in infrastructure, the Smart Nano Accelerator programme and the Techstart competition* creates a supportive environment for companies to develop and test new technologies. This collaboration will deliver new business resources to Northern Ireland and will drive growth and innovation across many sectors”.
* Techstart competition: Digital Catapult has launched the Manufacturing Innovation Challenge, which is inviting innovative Northern Ireland start-ups and SMEs to join their Smart Nano Accelerator Programme and submit ideas for new technology solutions to solve manufacturing challenges. Participants will also have access to the 5G test-bed facilities for the first time. The Northern-Ireland-based companies who complete the programme will be eligible to compete for a £75,000 pre-commercial grant from Techstart Ventures to help them continue to develop their business idea.
The development of these facilities follows the opening of CGI’s new delivery centre in Belfast earlier this year, as part of our commitment to developing skills and talent in the region.