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WM5G announces first data uploads as part of pioneering digital connectivity project

22 December 2022
The funding is aimed at a range of sectors, including advanced manufacturing, transport, agriculture, creative industries
The funding is aimed at a range of sectors, including advanced manufacturing, transport, agriculture, creative industries

The first data to form part of an innovative digital asset management platform that will help the region boost its digital connectivity infrastructure more effectively has been uploaded, according to innovation and digital acceleration company WM5G.

The digital asset management platform is part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) funded Digital Connectivity Infrastructure Accelerator (DCIA), and is being launched in collaboration with WM5G, Sitenna, and the local authorities that make up the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA -Birmingham City Council, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, Coventry City Council, Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council and the City of Wolverhampton Council).

Sitenna, recently named Birmingham Tech Start Up of the Year, was part of the prestigious Y Combinator accelerator programme in Silicon Valley. The platform currently manages more than 800,000 assets in the UK and has expanded its operations to the US market. It counts Y Combinator, Samsung Next and Merus Capital amongst its investors

The news is a key landmark in the programme, which aims to create one of the UK’s first platforms to provide information about public and private assets that could be used to house mobile infrastructure, such as buildings, land, and street furniture. Telecoms firms often find it difficult to assess whether a structure is suitable for hosting network equipment, which slows down the process of 5G deployment. The new platform will therefore enable local councils to share data needed by data mobile companies more quickly and easily, accelerating the roll out of new network infrastructure. It could also be used to facilitate other digital assets such as EV charge points and sensor locations, which have also been identified by WM5G as potential use cases.

Rhys Enfield, Director of Infrastructure Acceleration at WM5G, said: “Uploading this data is a key milestone for the programme and follows a lot of hard work scoping out precisely which information would be most valuable to users of this platform, as well as how that information can be best displayed.

"We currently have eight partners - VM02, BT/EE, Vodafone, Three, MBNL, Cornerstone, Atlas Towers and Freshwave – engaged in the project, as well as a number of [our] local authorities.

“It is exciting to see that a number of these partners have already started using the platform, uploading live data and testing functionality to identify the benefits of this approach.’’

Daniel Campion, CEO of Sitenna, added: “We are excited to partner with WM5G to bring the platform to life in the West Midlands and are proud to work alongside our industry and local authority partners to help accelerate the deployment of this critical infrastructure.

“Boosting 5G connectivity, smart city infrastructure and EV charging will further solidify the West Midlands’ position as a major tech ecosystem and growth engine for the country.”

The platform builds on the success of WM5G’s DCMS Testbed and Trials programme, which collected data from a range of locations across the region, compiling them into a single platform to test if holding data centrally could help reduce the time it takes to deploy new networks.

Having demonstrated the success of this approach through a Connected map, the new programme focuses not only on developing the map interface itself but also on standardising the data, including workflows and interactions within the platform. The goal is to make it easier for telecom vendors, services providers, and public bodies to design and install the 4G and 5G networks the country requires to improve connectivity and boost productivity.

Nicky Godding is editor of The Business Magazine. Before her journalism career, she worked mainly in public relations moving into writing when she was invited to launch Retail Watch, a publication covering retail and real estate across Europe.

After some years of constant travelling, she tucked away her passport and concentrated on business writing, co-founding a successful regional business magazine. She has interviewed some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs who have built multi-million-pound businesses and reported on many science and technology firsts.

She reports on the region’s thriving business economy from start-ups, family businesses and multi-million-pound corporations, to the professionals that support their growth and the institutions that educate the next generation of business leaders.

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