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Northumbria Water launches 5G and AR trials


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Northumbrian Water has launched a series of trials to use 5G and augmented reality (AR) technology in managing the region’s water infrastructure.

It has been working with O2 and Ericsson on the initiative, claiming it is the first of its type by a water company.

The organisations are working on an infrastructure that involves a private network installation to give Northumbrian Water uninterrupted network access and capacity. It includes Ericsson’s Radio Dot System to provide indoor 5G coverage at the Washington water treatment plant in Tyne and Wear.

The first set of trial are focused on three areas. One is the use of AR supported by 5G to provide a 3D representation of buried assets for technicians. If this is successful it could be extended to cover the layout of over 47,210km of water mains, pipes and conduits to help Northumbrian Water’s engineers manage risks and hazards.

Second is in enabling technicians and engineers to quickly access and upload data from the central geographic information systems data without the need for Wi-Fi or a cable connection.

Third is the development of a home water maintenance app for consumers, helping them to monitor their water supply and flow.

Transformation coming

Martin Jackson, head of strategy and enterprise architecture at Northumbrian Water, said: “5G is set to completely transform the way we live and work, creating exciting new possibilities and improvements for our business, our customers and the environment.

“This is the first time a trial like this has ever been done by a water company and we’re incredibly proud to be leading the way in the utilities sector. We first explored the ways in which we could harness the power of 5G at our Innovation Festival and we’re delighted to be working with O2 and Ericsson to develop this project and deliver an even better experience to our customers.”

Image by Zytsev Artem, CC BY 2.0

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