finance

Dumfries to host Scotland’s first rural 5G connectivity hub



The Crichton, a business and academic campus in Dumfries, will host Scotland’s first rural 5G connectivity hub.

It aims to bring together technological expertise, academic research and local businesses in order to accelerate the potential of 5G to transform communities throughout the south of Scotland.

The S5GConnect Dumfries hub is being equipped with a dedicated 5G network with advanced capabilities, including a testbed that will enable small businesses to test products, services and solutions.

Some of the projects set to get underway include the development of agritech solutions, where sensors and drones are used to measure crop growth, animal behaviour and wellness; and remote healthcare initiatives including the use of 5G technology to support assisted living.

This is the third S5GConnect hub, following the establishment of hubs in Forth Valley and Dundee, as part of the Scottish Government-funded £4m programme to establish a network of 5G innovation hubs to accelerate 5G across the country.

Created by the Scotland 5G Centre, the national centre for encouraging use of 5G, the programme is aiming to increase awareness about 5G and lead to the development of new products, services and applications.

A dedicated team has been recruited for the S5GConnect hub at The Crichton to work with local partners and businesses.

Paul Coffey, chief executive of The Scotland 5G Centre, said: “It is planned over three levels – kicking off with raising awareness of the scope of 5G; followed by more detailed evaluation of the business possibilities; culminating in months of in-depth support to scale up and test using our dedicated 5G private network.”

The Crichton, an 85-acre parkland estate on the edge of Dumfries, is home to more than 90 organisations including five academic partners.

The S5GConnect hub at The Crichton is being supported by South of Scotland Enterprise, which will be a key partner in helping to develop future 5G dependent projects.

South of Scotland Enterprise’s chief executive Jane Morrison-Ross said: “I am delighted that Scotland’s first rural 5G Hub will be in the South of Scotland, and that our organisation is a key partner in this landmark project.

“With digital connectivity an issue in a number of areas of the South of Scotland, the 5G Hub will bring together industry, academia and government bodies on a series of projects to explore opportunities which offer considerable benefits to local businesses and communities, including net zero manufacturing, farming and agriculture and sustainable and connected housing.”

The Scotland 5G Centre was set up in October 2019 as a partnership between the University of Strathclyde, the University of Glasgow and the Scottish Futures Trust.

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