5G technology tipped to boost offsite operations

A project led by the University of Glasgow has resulted in students using 5G technology to carry out remote lab work using robotics.

The Scotland 5G Centre, which was launched a year ago and funded by the Scottish Government, is working to stimulate economic development and promote the benefits of 5G.

The University of Glasgow is one of three partners selected to receive funding, which has allowed it to build its own 5G network ‘ecosystem’, that will enable test and development of multiple use cases.

One of the first use cases allows students to conduct their lab experiments remotely, using the robot. Students managed to assemble and measure an electrical circuit using equipment situated in a laboratory. This is believed to be one of the first demonstrations of remote robotics being used in the higher education sector.

Paul Coffey, chief executive of The Scotland 5G Centre, said, “A robotic arm is always going to make people sit up and take notice! I am pleased to say that fine-tuning is now complete and this pioneering 5G-based technology is ready to enable manufacturing and other industries to be able to carry out complex tasks from offsite locations. The economic and societal benefits are significant; enabling factories to be more competitive in a wider market and allowing people to live in rural or remote areas while still being able to access urban or industrial centres. And the technology can be harnessed across several sectors, including construction, education, healthcare such as tele-diagnosis, tele-pharmacy and so on.

“But this is only the beginning. We have several other projects in the pipeline across all three founding partners, which will deliver substantial and lasting improvements in fast, reliable connectivity, particularly in rural areas. Sectors such as healthcare, manufacturing and education are set to reap significant benefits as a result. I do believe that 5G will transform how we communicate in all walks of life.”

Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for energy, connectivity and the Islands, added, “5G connectivity presents a significant opportunity for us in the years ahead, especially as we look to generate a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The Scottish Government’s investment in the Scotland 5G Centre recognises the need to enhance and widen digital connectivity for everyone in Scotland, to ensure that no one and no part of the country is left behind and we can all benefit from the potential economic and social opportunities that next-generation technologies offer.”