On Wednesday 8 November 2023, we took part in the launch of Northern Ireland’s largest 5G testbed, which is set to supercharge smart manufacturing and education in the region, as previously announced.

Volkan Pakoglu, CGI Director Consulting Services and 5G SME, joined Dritan Kaleshi, Director of 5G Technology at Digital Catapult, the UK authority on advanced digital technology, and a panel of expert technologists to discuss the power of 5G, bringing to life the opportunities that the testbed will enable to boost Industry 4.0 in manufacturing and education across Northern Ireland.

The panel, which also included Cormac McAteer, Senior Engineering Manager, Seagate Technology and Cathal Ferry, Industry 4.0 Centre Manager, North West Regional College (NWRC), led a series of demos where attendees were able to see example use cases of 5G, photonics and IoT in action. Potential future use cases include autonomous vehicles within a factory setting, high-accuracy indoor positioning and asset tracking, AR/VR training, worker safety, as well as our CGI MaEVA solution - a video-assisted remote collaboration platform that helps companies across industries, including utilities, manufacturing and oil and gas, to resolve operational issues/incidents and improve teamwork.

Digital Catapult launch event panel session


The 5G testbed is unique in that it is the first of its kind in a smart manufacturing and education setting in the UK and will enable enhanced collaboration between industry and academia. It provides access to the latest network technologies, including 5G, 4G, and Narrowband-Internet of Things (NB-IoT). On premise edge computing enables low latency, on-site processing and enhanced security, as data is not pushed to the cloud. Low latency connectivity will streamline operations and improve safety, but it will also drive innovation in manufacturing and enable more sustainable solutions to be produced around net zero.

The development of these 5G facilities follows the opening of CGI’s delivery centre in Belfast earlier this year, as part of our commitment to developing skills and talent in the region.

Find out more about the Digital Catapult 5G testbed.