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West Midlands councils back 5G accelerator


Mark Say Managing Editor

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A group of local authorities in the West Midlands are preparing to support a number of accelerator projects on the use of 5G in smart cities.

The programme is being run by the 5PRING consortium and involves providing later stage start-ups with support in developing new 5G solutions to deal with challenges around health and social care, public services, public safety, and social and events.

Experts from councils in the region will provide support for the chosen start-ups in developing their proposed solutions.

Organisations taking part in the programme include the local authorities for Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton, along with the Black Country Consortium and the local enterprise partnerships for Coventry, Warwickshire and Greater Birmingham.

Businesses can present their proposed solutions using 5G to leverage technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, the internet of things, artificial intelligence and edge computing.

They will obtain access to a private 5G network at the University of Wolverhampton Science Park along with coaching, mentoring and expertise from the consortium members. They will also be able to take advantage of start-up supporter Wayra UK’s network of investors and business development services.

Leveraging innovation

Raj Mack, head of business engagement (information, technology and digital services) at Birmingham City Council, said: “Our collaboration with 5PRING will give all of the participating local authorities in the West Midlands the opportunity to work closely with small business and start-ups to support and leverage 5G innovation.

“With this collaboration, we are looking to foster digitalisation of an array of services. 5PRING will allow us to identify and trial ground breaking solutions in a real testbed environment, using technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality and IoT systems to support the creation of smart cities.”

Applications for the accelerator programme are open until 25 June, with the work expected to begin in early August.

Image from iStock, Putilich

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