World’s First 5G Testbed Public Trial to be Hosted in Bristol, UK

The Smart Internet Lab at the University of Bristol; Watershed and We The Curious are set to host the Layered Realities Weekend 5G showcase. Together they will launch the world’s first public 5G testbed to explore the next generation of wireless and wired connectivity through a series of free experimental public events. The showcase is scheduled for 17 and 18 March 2018.

During these two days, Bristol audiences will experience the potential of 5G through bold new works by artists, researchers and creatives, from Uninvited Guests and Duncan Speakman’s augmented reality theatre, to Kaleider’s virtual reality dance, and celebrated artist Joanie Lemercier’s audio-visual journey across the cosmos alongside a programme of critical talks and technology demonstrations.

The UK Government’s Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) are investing in a world-class 5G technology test network that aims to put Britain at the forefront of the next wave of mobile technology and Bristol has been awarded a share of £16 million to develop the cutting-edge 5G UK Test Networks - the Layered Realities Weekend 5G Showcase is part of this test network.

The University’s Smart Internet Lab is one of only three research institutions in the UK chosen to develop this cutting-edge technology and in collaboration with Watershed, is making it available for curious audiences to experience and experiment with the creative possibilities of this next generation of wireless for the first time. In addition to the creative experiences the weekend will also be host to a series of talks from the 5G Fellows, a cohort of five critical thinkers and makers who will share their creative responses to the impact of this new technology on our society.

The Smart Internet Lab, led by Professor Dimitra Simeonidou, has also created a series of experimental demonstrations, showcasing an array of trailblazing 5G technologies. These presentations will range from new radio and wireless-fibre convergence to network automation, public safety and autonomous cars. Audiences will be invited to explore for themselves the advantages of Massive MIMO, a game-changing technology that will greatly boost network capacity and performance whilst reducing network congestion.

Event attendees will also have the opportunity of viewing a real time transmission sent from a connected autonomous vehicle (CAV), parked in Millennium Square for the duration of the weekend. Wireless connectivity is one of the underpinning technologies allowing the CAVs to transform from autonomous systems to cooperative entities via collaborative sensor sharing.

5G is a reinvention of the internet for an always connected, interactive world. Above ground, it will offer massively increased speed, capacity and reliability compared to 3G and 4G. In addition, 5G represents a range of interconnected technologies which will supercharge the internet, offering a huge increase in bandwidth, allowing more things to connect at once, and reducing latency. This will mean seamless connectivity across a city for services like high definition real-time streamed media, augmented realities and better implementation of the Internet of things as well as major potential for making work for/with crowds.

Layered Realities Weekend 5G is produced by Watershed on behalf of the Smart Internet Lab at the University of Bristol. Smart Internet Lab has secured funds to establish '5G UK Test Networks' a national asset funded by the UK Government's Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DDCMS) '5GUK Test Networks'. The Showcase brings together the University of Bristol's Smart Internet Lab and Watershed, We the Curious, BT, Nokia, Zeetta, Cambridge Communications Systems, PureLiFi and BiO.