Bristol and Bath have been fundamental cities in testing and trialling 5G in the UK. In 2018, tourist destinations in both cities had secured £5m in government funding to trial the network. This was part of the 5G Smart Tourism project, an initiative supported by the West of England Combined Authority.
January saw Bristol tech pioneers Blu Wireless Technology driving a project to test the ‘fifth generation technology’ in driverless cars. The company are teaming up with McLaren super cars to test their high-speed networking, with the aim of delivering a “range of 5G wireless technologies and services for Vehicle to Infrastructure applications (V2I)” – Mark Barrett (CMO at Blu Wireless).
Not only does 5G enable state of the art tech innovations, it also saves lives. In January, Bristol was the first city to trial technology that alerts emergency services when people fall into the harbour. How does this even work? Well, in areas well known for pedestrians falling into the harbour such as Prince’s Street Bridge, thermal cameras were set up to alert the council’s operations centre. It took 36 hours following the start of the trial for the system to be triggered by someone falling in, which was immediately picked up. The emergency services were then provided with the exact location, but without facial recognition to protect the individual’s privacy.
These trials have been instrumental in demonstrating how effective 5G technologies will be for the future. Bristol has proved that 5G will be important for applications such as cars, but also medical emergencies.