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Connections are crucial to the success of any business. Visit our latest news to keep up to date with the latest business news from across the region.

Connect. Support. Grow.
 
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Connections are crucial to the success of any business. Visit our latest news to keep up to date with the latest business news from across the region.

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Connections are crucial to the success of any business. Visit our latest news to keep up to date with the latest business news from across the region.

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Beyond 5G communications: Developing the West Midlands as an industry powerhouse through connectivity, security and resilience

University of Warwick

Communications and artificial intelligence are being heralded as offering unprecedented capability to society and industry through concepts such as Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things.

News stories and adverts in the mainstream and industry media promote the promise that 5G will offer to the public and to industry. 

The West Midlands is home to a number of ‘real world’ testbeds that enable us to trial and test new technologies, including urban and connected communities and the Midlands Future Mobility facility. We are also primed to take advantage of 5G breakthroughs, developing exciting initiatives preparing for the widespread rollout of 5G communications networks, such as 5pring (https://5pring.org/) and WM5G (https://www.wm5g.org.uk/).  However, especially given the current economic climate, systems and infrastructure need to be established today to make use of current networks that are in place and be ready for the wider rollout of fifth and future generations of networks.

WMG and the wider University of Warwick, working with MTC and the University of Birmingham are aiming to establish a Connectivity, Security and Resilience platform based on communication, computation and intelligence engineering, that will safeguard, transform and create jobs in the region and prepare it for the future.  The platform will enable data-driven innovation in industry through existing and emerging technological development.  This will help the region to become a national and global leader in intelligent infrastructure which will advance the potential of smart cities and smart manufacturing.

There are a number of challenges that will need to be addressed for the platform to be transformative.  These include integration across the whole value chain so that the improvements and intelligence are not confined to a particular business, or indeed a particular application, but that the advances are across the system and thus having the maximum benefit to the region. 

As we create such interconnectivity, supported by automation and intelligence, it is absolutely critical that the system is protected against security breaches.  The expertise and experience of the partners we have brought together will enable us to understand and address existing and emerging security challenges.  We will also address the challenge of data quality and trustworthiness that occurs in such highly distributed intelligent systems.

Some of the key areas that will benefit from the work that is planned include Transport and Mobility, including mass transit and dynamic scheduling of transport services.  Further, the team will also consider how new systems can support the delivery of enhanced healthcare technologies and services, improving individual and public health and supporting industry through a healthy and productive workforce.  Finally the environment will benefit through the enhanced smart monitoring of energy use from fully sensorised environments.  This will help us drive down costs of manufacturing and optimise our use of resources in the region. 

The platform we are aiming to develop will have much farther-reaching consequences than these sectors, but these form our initial focus.  By embedding security and resilient communications into the fundamental infrastructure, rather than within applications we can achieve transformative change creating value for citizens and industry in the region.

For further information on plans for the Connectivity, Security and Resilience platform and the Speed to Scale Region programme get in touch with the team by emailing: ssr-enquiries@contacts.bham.ac.uk

This blog is one of a series focusing on the core elements of the bid put into central government for a Speed to Scale Region for the West Midlands focusing on the potential benefits and outcomes for jobs and economic growth. For an overview of the programme, please see the first blog or listen to the podcast. Further information is also available here: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/university/colleges/eps/research/speed-to-scale/speed-to-scale.aspx