The West of England Combined Authority has announced that it is extending its 5G Smart Tourism project, kicking off at this year’s Bristol Harbour Festival. 

At the festival, partners involved in the project will be trialling how 5G can be used to enhance the visitor experience, as well as supporting the event organisers to manage safety.

This forms part of a six-month extension to the £8.2m project led by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), and part-funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. 

The six-month extension builds on the ground-breaking research and development work carried out so far by partners including the University of Bristol’s Smart Internet Lab, ZeettaNetworks, Mativision and Digital Catapult and provides insights into the 5GUK Test Network performance and use cases to accelerate our learning about the potential for 5G technology. It will also explore how tourism operators in the West of England can use 5G technology to boost our growing visitor economy.

West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles said: “The West of England is the UK’s leading smart city region.  Our work on the use of 5G technology has the potential to revolutionise the way we all live and work, transforming everything from assisted living to motoring to air quality.  This initiative is a really exciting opportunity to lead the way on the potential for 5G at major public events like the Bristol Harbour Festival.”

Margot James, Minister for Digital said: “The Government is investing in the infrastructure that will make Britain fit for the future and a world leader in 5G.

“Smart Tourism is a fantastic project which we’re excited to extend funding for.  It will help realise the innovative ways 5G can boosts our top tourism attractions, not just in the West of England but across the UK.”

The original year-long 5G Smart Tourism project used the region’s 5GUK Test Network infrastructure, developed by the University of Bristol’s Smart Internet Lab. It culminated in a public showcase in March 2019, that brought together experts to show off their progress in using the ground-breaking power and potential of 5G.

The extension of the 5G Smart Tourism initiative is being delivered by a consortium led by West of England Combined Authority with partners: Bristol Futures Global; University of Bristol’s Smart Internet Lab; Digital Catapult; Zeetta Networks; Mativision; Bristol City Council; Bristol Is Open; Destination Bristol and Bristol Harbour Festival.

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