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Liverpool 5G project 'digital twin' to save costs and increase accuracy


A simulated version of a Liverpool neighbourhood has been created to plan the best position for internet of things technology, part of the rollout of a 5G networking platform in Liverpool to improve health and social care services across the city.

The digitally simulated version of the Kensington neighbourhood, created by CGA Simulation, will help project leaders to plot the optimum location for mesh networks mounted on street furniture to provide affordable, multi-gigabit Wi-Fi connectivity for all homes.

Using a digital replica of the area allows project teams to see the project 'in action' and iron out any problems at the planning stage before the technology is rolled out. It is hoped to provide a more cost effective and accurate way to deploy a 5G technology network at scale.

The creation of the 'digital twin' is the latest step in the Liverpool 5G Health and Social Care Testbed programme, which aims to improve access to innovative health applications to help people manage their health home, reduce the digital divide and social isolation and use health and social care resources more efficiently.

There have been other examples of digital twinning in the public sector. Ordnance Survey created a digital twin of Bournemouth to support the deployment of 5G in the town. It used datasets to create a 3D view, integrated with a radio propagation model and overlaid with Met Office weather data to create a ‘live’ digital environment.  

Living lab

The testbed programme uses AI, sensors, virtual reality, robotics and the internet of things technology. It is made up of 11 trials across Liverpool where communities have limited access to reliable broadband.

The trials include a device which connects vulnerable people at home to a pharmacy via a video link; augmented reality technology to bridge physical distance and combat social isolation; and ambient Internet of Things sensors that monitor falls and dehydration for older adults. 

The testbed is led by the Liverpool 5G Consortium which received £3.5 million from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) 5G Testbeds and Trials programme to help deliver the government’s 5G strategy.

The consortium includes Liverpool City Council, Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust (RLBUHT), Liverpool University, and Liverpool John Moores University (supported by Liverpool City Region eHealth Cluster.) From the private sector, it includes Blu Wireless Technology, AIMES, Inventya, DefProc, Digicredis, CGA Simulation, and Sensor City, which is leading the project.

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