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Vodafone and Coventry University partner on UK-first 5G SA Media Innovation Lab

27 April 2023
The Business Magazine article image for: Vodafone and Coventry University partner on UK-first 5G SA Media Innovation Lab

A collaboration between Vodafone and Coventry University will open the UK’s first 5G Standalone (5G SA) Media Innovation Lab in Coventry.

Working alongside Vodafone engineers and academics from the University, broadcasters, media companies and the software development community will be invited to the lab to develop 5G use cases for the media industry.

The next generation connectivity environment will be powered by a 5G SA network. Originally deployed in 2020 to enable healthcare students to take immersive, real-time AR and VR tours of the human body, Vodafone and Coventry University will now expand the remit of the 5G SA network to support digital transformation and 5G adoption within the media industry.

The 5G Standalone environment will offer lightning-fast download speeds, near-real time latency capabilities, and network slicing. The lab will support proof of concepts, as well as allow development and testing of end-to-end solutions in a safe and configurable environment.

Network slicing is a new capability enabled by 5G Standalone to allow telecoms operators to create separate and isolated networks for different use cases. Each slice can be configured differently. As they are isolated from each other, the performance on one would not impact another.

In the broadcasting industry, this is an exciting development for two reasons. Firstly, a minimum upload speed threshold can be set to guarantee that content is uploaded quickly and reliably for live streaming. Secondly, it removes the risk of network congestion impacting performance.

This is particularly relevant for mass events such as sports, demonstrations or festivals, as well as for live content contribution in isolated locations.

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Dr Shaun Hides, Academic Dean at Coventry University's Faculty of Arts & Humanities, said: ”Expanding these 5G capabilities - in particular, testing its broadcast possibilities - presents an amazing opportunity for our academics and students to actively participate in the innovation that is driving forward the media and creative industries, making Coventry a hub for this development is very exciting.”

Danny Kelly, Head of Innovation at Vodafone Business UK, said: “This is another UK-first brought by Vodafone as we continue to explore the myriad powerful benefits of 5GSA, helping the UK to become a leader in this new technology.

“Finding 5GSA uses for the media makes perfect sense as the technology is well suited to this sector. It enables faster speeds, less latency (buffering) and is more reliable and secure.

“This makes it ideal for media – who create digitally dense content at high volume. Especially in isolated locations or at large scale events where the public network is crowded.

“We look forward to working with Coventry University and different media over the coming months to test and explore the different innovative uses for 5GSA.”

Professor John Latham CBE, Coventry University Vice-Chancellor, said: “We are delighted that we have been able to extend our collaboration with Vodafone following the development of the standalone 5G network that has been so successfully used by our healthcare students.

“This new project will expand our work with Vodafone into the media arena and we are excited to see how our experts can work with the broadcasting industry on how this technology can be put to use.”

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Sam is the Regional Editor of Biz News. Currently responsible for Hampshire, he will soon take over Dorset.

A new recruit to journalism, Sam started writing for the Business Magazine as a freelancer in May of 2022 after completing his degree in English at University College London. His passion for local businesses and ability to tell a story soon caught the attention of the publication’s management team and have led to his meteoric rise.

Sam, who lives in central Reading, takes a particular interest in technology, gaming and food and drink, having been a chef before starting his degree.

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