Belfast Harbour uses 5G VR and AR to create "Smart Port" with BT

  • Belfast Harbour, BT and mixed reality partners Ubimax and VRtuoso have used “live” demonstrations over BT’s public 5G network to showcase the benefits that 5G can deliver to businesses across the UK.

    The two applications demonstrated are being explored by Belfast Harbour as part of their vision for creating a “Smart Port” and an iconic waterfront for the City.

    The first demonstration showed a member of Belfast Harbour’s operations team wearing an augmented reality headset connected to a 5G device.

    They were seen inspecting one of the Harbour’s cranes and receiving step-by-step maintenance guidance through video collaboration with a remote expert, via an application server in the cloud.

    BT stated that 5G provides the ultrafast speeds and reliability needed, while augmented reality solution specialists Ubimax provide the software for the headsets.

    The demonstration showed how maintenance activities can be simplified and improved, by delivering information directly to staff when and where they need it.

    The hands-free headsets are particularly suitable in hazardous environments and built to work with personal protective equipment such as hard hats.

    The second demonstration showed a 5G immersive experience, illustrating how 5G can make virtual reality “boundary-less” by allowing geographically dispersed participants to draw virtual reality content down from the cloud.

    Participants can then be connected into the same real-time virtual presentation or training event. Content creation and event sessions are managed using the “simple to use” VR solution from VRtuoso.

    BT commented that only 5G can provide the connectivity needed for the content download and real time event interaction.

    At the media event in the Titanic museum last week, VRtuoso explained that “immersive experiences have the potential to transform marketing and training activities, in a matter of minutes and with no technical experience required.”

    The company's CEO Francesco Furnari added: “5G will be a catalyst for the mass adoption of immersive learning as it gives users a consistent, low latency experience wherever they are.”

    Gerry McQuade, CEO of BT’s Enterprise unit said thatover the next 15 years, 5G technologies are expected to contribute 2.2 trillion dollars to the global economy.

    "But 5G can’t be viewed in isolation. It is a vital component of a brand-new digital ecosystem comprising the Internet of Things, data analytics, AI, mobile edge computing, content and cloud infrastructure.  

    “These demonstrations are a powerful illustration of what 5G can do for business, both here in Northern Ireland and across the UK. They’ve shown that 5G will be the catalyst for a revolution in how technology supports people, enables workplaces and simplifies operations.” 

    EE, part of BT Group, was the first operator to launch a 5G network in the UK, with Belfast being one of six cities chosen for “phase one” of the roll out. 

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