The UK government has awarded the county of Worcestershire £4.8m to create a test-bed for Industry 4.0 concepts.
The Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) will take advantage of the government funding to test 5G connectivity. The LEP will partner with a consortium of partners including Huawei, O2 and BT, to create a test-bed for Industry 4.0 concepts including:
- Testing for robotics;
- Big data analytics;
- Advanced cyber security; and
- Augmented reality for improving industrial productivity.
The University of Surrey and Malvern Hills Science Park will also participate as research partners in the consortium. 5G internet is expected to become available in the UK within the next three years, and the GSMA, a European trade body which represents mobile network operators, estimates there will be as many as 1.4bn 5G connections by 2025.
What is the consortium planning?
The 5G test-bed for Industry 4.0 concepts will focus on improving the UK’s industrial productivity, and a number of companies have already been selected to use the test-bed to investigate potential projects.
For example, multinational defence technology company QinetiQ will test advanced cyber security applications and the ‘security by design’ of Internet of Things technology. The consortium is now open to applications for product development.
What has the consortium said?
The chair of the Worcestershire LEP, Mark Stansfeld, welcomed the announcement that the consortium has been offered £4.8m in funding. “We are delighted to have been successful in our bid to help businesses deliver greater productivity using 5G technologies. … 5G connectivity is set to revolutionise the way that future business will operate both in the UK and globally.”
Stansfeld said that the awarding of the funding indicated the commitment of employers, researchers and local authorities in Worcestershire to deliver technological advancement and ready the whole of the UK for the fourth industrial revolution.
He added: “I believe that the introduction of these technologies will have an extremely positive impact in allowing businesses to create new innovative products, raise productivity and improve economic growth.”