Meet the exciting consortium of 29 organisations delivering 5G RuralFirst, backed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)! From innovation and industry knowledge to technology and more, click each logo below to see what each partner is delivering.
Cisco is the lead partner on 5G RuralFirst. Cisco is delivering a 5G cloud core upon which a range of use cases will run. This platform will be installed in the DataVita Tier III datacentre near Glasgow. Cisco will also design 5G ‘network slicing’ tests, a crucial component of new connectivity business models, giving rural businesses and communities a technological platform for innovation. This could fundamentally change the way connectivity is deployed in rural areas across the UK.
The University of Strathclyde provides expertise housed within the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering (EEE), spanning areas relating closely to 5G. Specific expertise that Strathclyde brings to the 5G RuralFirst project includes rural broadband planning and deployment, dynamic spectrum access (DSA) expertise, network planning, security, software defined radio (SDR) and Internet of Things- (IoT) inspired solutions that have had impact on a number of rural industry sectors including agriculture, transport, rural communities and small businesses.
Afimilk is global leader in developing, manufacturing and marketing advanced computerised systems for modern dairy farm and herd management. With hundreds of thousands of milk meters and millions of behaviour sensors installed, AFI sets the standards globally. Heat detection systems are competing in a very crowded market with a large range of collars, ear and leg tags. Product differentiation is increasingly important. This project will enhance the collar performance of feed intake measurement offering a direct measure of respiration to detect heat stress and integrate measurements from collar and milk component analysis to offer better insight into animal welfare.
Agri-EPI is responsible for shaping and managing the agri-tech elements of the RuralFirst project in collaboration with several of its academic and commercial partners. 72% of the UK’s area is utilised for agricultural production, and the agri-food sector is an important contributor to UK GVA (over £112bn per annum). The trial will help provide significant opportunities to transform UK agriculture into a smart, high-tech industry, through innovations in sensors & remote diagnostics, data collection, UAVs (drones), wider precision farming techniques and autonomous vehicles.
The British Broadcasting Corporation exists to fulfil a unique and universal public mission: to serve all audiences with impartial, high-quality distinctive services that inform educate and entertain.
The BBC has recently been at the forefront of trials and developments of the 4G and pre-5G Broadcast technologies to be trialled in 5G RuralFirst. The interest in trialling radio services within 5G RuralFirst stems from the fact that radio is an inherently portable medium that could benefit significantly from the more immersive, more personalised experiences that IP delivery over 5G networks could enable when people are away from WiFi coverage.
Broadway Partners is a Wireless Internet Service Provider focused on delivering high quality broadband services to rural areas that are beyond the reach of established or traditional providers. Broadway has led the commercial exploitation of TV WhiteSpace radio in the UK, in its networks on the Isle of Arran in Western Scotland, around Loch Ness, and in Monmouthshire in South Wales. Broadway believes that TV Whitespace and other shared spectrum technologies will play a key role in fulfilling the Government’s Universal Service obligation for broadband – at superfast (>30Mbps) speeds, rapidly, and cost efficiently.
BT is one of the world’s leading communications services companies, serving the needs of customers in the UK and across 180 countries worldwide. Our main activities are the provision of fixed-line services, broadband, mobile and TV products and services, as well as managed networked IT services. The use cases in the 5G RuralFirst project involve connecting the most remote areas of Scotland with 5G small cells.
CENSIS is the Scottish centre of excellence for sensing, imaging and Internet of Things technologies. CENSIS’ role in the 5G RuralFirst project is to support the Orkney 5G test bed, which will provide an environment for the development of IoT (Internet of Things) solutions that highlight the capabilities across a number of market sectors including sensors, monitoring systems, decision support, cloud services, and network provision. CENSIS will help develop and deliver three IoT-enabled use cases, focusing on water safety in schools, water quality in aquaculture, and weather monitoring in wind farms.
CloudNet is a Wireless Internet Service Provider offering a number of wireless solutions ranging from fibre-to-wireless, as well as managed networks with interconnect back to London Telehouse. The CLN network infrastructure offers Internet backhaul and data centre services with high-speed connections to London via the subsea fibre cable which also carries data to North America and Europe.
Over the last two years, a maritime network in the North Isles of Orkney using TV White Space (TVWS) technology has been delivered, currently being rolled out to the North Isles Ferries and to some remote islands in and around Orkney.
DataVita operates the most secure, resilient & efficient datacentre in the north of the UK and represents a £200m speculative investment in Scotland’s digital infrastructure. It’s 1 of only 3 UK datacentres certified as a Tier III Constructed Facility by the Uptime Institute and enables organisations of any size to dramatically improve the resilience and security of their critical IT infrastructure while reducing costs. DataVita will provide hosting space, power, cooling and communications services for the 5G Core infrastructure, provided by Cisco, to ensure 100% availability of the 5G Core platform in a real-world environment.
Harper-Adams University has had a long and proud tradition of working closely with the rural sector, adding relevance to its teaching and research, and acts as a focal point for transferring research into practice. Research is strongly linked to industry and is based in the Agricultural Engineering Innovation Centre (AEIC) which is also home to the National Centre for Precision Farming (NCPF). The building contains a number of electronics, mechatronics, and research laboratories. The department also has a dedicated crop protection sprayer laboratory and facilities for designing, prototyping and testing agricultural and Off-highway machinery.
Founded in 1821, Heriot-Watt University (HWU) has a rich heritage and an established reputation as a leading research-led university and provider of education around the world.
HWU’s “Communications, Radar, and Microwave Engineering Research Group” is a coherent research centre working in areas related to Wireless Communications, Satellite Communications, Antenna and RF research, Optical Communications and Radar. The group has a vast catalogue of equipment, including a wireless MIMO testbed from National Instruments, USRP devices, vector network analyser up to 50 GHz (Keysight PNA), vector signal generator (Keysight), etc. The group is leading the Okney Ferry Use Case of the 5G RuralFirst project to test the benefits of 5G in applying mmWave band technologies to enable new services and business opportunities for rural areas.
Hyperceptions UK offers specialist hyperspectral imaging and remote sensing services to a variety of industry, government and professional groups. Recent work has been focused on-farm and in forestry using hyperspectral imaging to identify and quantify nutrients, quality attributes of pasture and crops, and disease detection. Hyperceptions UK is a spin out company of Hyperceptions NZ, which is a Massey University limited liability company of Massey Ventures Limited.
Kingshay Farming and Conservation Group have over 25 years’ experience of conducting independent and practical farm-based research, field scale evaluations, surveys, product comparisons and tests. As a core member of the Agri-EPI Centre, KING is developing a state-of-the-art dairy farm for 180 cows with funding from Innovate UK and wide industry support. This facility provides a platform for research and development of new and emerging dairy-focussed technology and will be an ideal test bed for 5G to develop its potential to achieve a step change in milk production productivity and sustainability.
Lime Microsystems specialises in field programmable RF transceivers and open source Software Defined Radio access technologies such as LimeSDR and LimeNET. These platforms offer an unprecedented level of configurability and allow system designers to create wireless communication networking equipment that can be programmable and reconfigured to run on any wireless communications frequency and mobile standard.
For the 5G RuralFirst program, the LimeSDR is fully programmable and documented to allow developers to exploit the full range of capabilities. With the addition of local processing from a unit such as LimeNET, systems can be designed to perform initial data processing and encryption locally.
Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services, and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. Microsoft is also one of the founding members of The Dynamic Spectrum Alliance (DSA), a global organization advocating for laws and regulations that will lead to more efficient and effective spectrum utilization. The DSA's Sixth global summit was held in London in 2018 and explored how various spectrum sharing regulatory regimes across a variety of complementary spectrum bands can be coordinated to lower the cost of broadband allowing 5G and IoT deployment across the globe.
Milkalyser is a start-up led by Toby Mottram, a serial inventor and entrepreneur with 30 years’ experience in developing technology for the dairy sector. The Milkalyser software development team has transferred from eCow. He founded eCow in 2007 to develop and commercialise rumen pH telemetry. Toby was a BBSRC/Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellow and developed a business model for commercialising Milkalyser. The main testbed for Milkalyser is the Kingshay research herd, managed by a high level of robotics an ideal environment to develop new software paradigms for cow-side diagnostics to reduce the amount of veterinary time lag.
Nominet is an internet company delivering public benefit and is the trusted guardian of the UK namespace – one of the world’s largest country code registries. Nominet manages and runs the infrastructure for over 10 million domain names that end in .uk as well as Welsh Top Level Domains (TLDs) .cymru and .wales and 35 other branded and generic TLDs, including .bbc and .london. It has a team of 250 people based in Oxford and London and over 2,500 members. Nominet also operates in a number of other business areas, including providing the dynamic spectrum management services internationally. Nominet advocates for more efficient use of the spectrum and runs an Ofcom-certified TVWS database to help rural communities to get online. Nominet funds public benefit initiatives that have a profound social impact.
Orkney Islands Council is Britain’s smallest local authority, but we lead the way in Scotland in providing all the council services used by the people of the county. Our activities touch the lives of everyone in our island community from schools and the care of the elderly to rubbish collection and maintaining the county’s roads. With such wide ranging responsibilities, we’re committed to providing good-value, high quality services across the county. That commitment means we are continually looking for ways to improve the way we work, and we are pleased to support this project and facilitate its activities in Orkney.
Parallel Wireless is on a mission to connect the 4 billion unconnected people by reimagining the networks. The reimagined cellular architecture enables operators to connect things and people at home, work, play and in emergencies by deploying any G cellular networks as easily and as cost-effectively as enterprise Wi-Fi whether for rural, enterprise, public safety, M2M, Smart Cities, or dense urban. The company is in production on six continents and engaged with many leading operators worldwide. Parallel Wireless' innovation and excellence in multi-technology open virtualized solutions has been recognized with 50 industry awards.
Precision Decisions has over 20 years of practical on-farm experience with GPS precision farming systems and the integration of technology within farm equipment. With a developed understanding of the limitations of current communication technologies available on-farm, and the future demand for connectivity set to soar, PD have already begun research into solutions for the connectivity problem. Systems currently used on- farm include UHF serial radios and cellular 2G, 3G and 4G. Preliminary on-farm testing of long range Wi-Fi and analogue TV whitespace systems has also begun.
pureLiFi is the world leader in the development of Light Fidelity (LiFi) technology. LiFi is high speed bidirectional networked and mobile communication of data using light. LiFi has the ability to turn any LED light into a high-speed and secure wireless access point.
pureLiFi released the world’s first commercial LiFi product and continue to lead advancement of this ground-breaking technology. In 2017 pureLiFi introduced The LiFi-XC is the world’s first certified, complete LiFi system, offering fast, secure mobile communications.
pureLiFi is pioneering the advancement of LiFi which will revolutionise wireless communications and deliver to the world unprecedented bandwidth and data.
For any country, securing the best digital connectivity is an essential part of creating a successful economy. SFT’s digital team work with industry and the wider public sector to drive innovation and change, ensuring the right mechanisms, partnerships and commercial approaches are developed to deliver a next-generation telecommunications infrastructure for Scotland.
Working with key partners, the team has taken the lead to develop a roadmap to support Scottish Government’s Digital Strategy and is moving towards developing a programme to enhance infrastructure investment and its delivery in Scotland.
SHEFA is a subsidiary of Faroese Telecom, the incumbent telco of the Faroe Islands. As the leading provider of all traditional telecommunications services, SHEFA has vast experience operating mobile networks reaching 100% 4G coverage on the Faroe Islands and now doing 4.5G in all major cities. SHEFA deals specifically with the submarine cable networks that link Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Shetland Islands, Orkney Islands, and Scotland, as well as offshore platforms West of Shetland and in the Danish North Sea. The SHEFA-2 network is without repeaters which minimizes maintenance delivering high reliability and ensuring robust services to rural areas.
Award-winning precision farming specialists providing integrated solutions through the seasons, making lives easier and more profitable by farming smarter.
The SoilEssentials role will be twofold:
• We will survey the agricultural industry UK-wide to discover what each rural business needs from 5G. Businesses will include farmers, agronomy companies, tractor and machinery dealers, land agents, estates and any businesses using precision agriculture or managing land.
• Integrating and evaluating 5G testbeds into our existing projects and development plans.
Telint is a micro enterprise founded recently by former Vice President of EU Affairs at Samsung's R&D labs, David Happy who has spent some 30 years in the ICT sector. Key achievements include building up the business that became Virgin Media, winning the UK's first beauty contest for spectrum in the 10GHz band, working for major operator US WEST, pioneer in the UK's cable TV and telephony business, deploying the UK's first independent subsea cable ring to Ireland, the first independent satellite uplink, and securing an award from the Technical and Policy Regulatory group of Trade body Digital Europe for his contribution to standards work (including at ETSI).
The LiFi R&D Centre at the University of Edinburgh is dedicated to accelerating the development of Li-Fi as a major global industry, through creating a pipeline for innovative ideas, technologies, products and partnerships.
For 5G RuralFirst we are developing a network backhaul solution which integrates a LiFi data receiver into solar panels – creating a system that combines communications and energy harvesting. This will be deployed to rural households on Orkney where traditional communications infrastructure lags behind that which is available in larger towns and cities. We intend to show how LiFi can provide a cost-effective solution to bridge the digital divide.
Zeetta provides next-generation 5G network management. Our NetOS® software will deliver the ability to run multiple logical networks as virtually independent business operations on a common physical infrastructure. We are part of the Core Network team and will provide integration and slicing for the fronthaul and backhaul components of the 5G RuralFirst testbed.
5G Innovation Centre at the University of Surrey is the world’s first and the largest open innovation centre on 5G Technologies. Its research covers advance radio, radio access, edge computing and core network. 5GIC has developed a completely new virtualized 5G Core with dynamic network slicing in support of various services and applications from telecom and industry 4.0. Their testbed on the campus covers a 4km square area with 44 LTE (4G) and 10 5G basestations for the outdoor environment and 8 indoor access points. The testbed operates at 2.6GHz, 3.5GHz, 700 MHz and soon will be upgraded with 26GHz.