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SONIC Labs Innovation Workshop

Date: 4 October 2022 10:30 - 4 October 2022 15:30


We’re calling digital innovators, start-ups, SMEs, AI/ML technology experts and academics interested in developing innovative solutions to support 5G network optimisation. 

Apply today to participate in our innovation workshop with leading telecom companies such as BT and VMware.


This is a unique opportunity for pioneering individuals and companies to explore how Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) can be applied to the telecom sector to develop new ground-breaking applications. 

As part of the SONIC Labs programme, Digital Catapult is exploring innovation opportunities in the telecom space starting with Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN) and specifically with the RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC), one of the components set to transform the future of 5G networks.

The telecommunications industry is undergoing a big shift with the development of new standardised interfaces and interoperable equipment, enabling a break away from legacy network architectures and  a move to an open, multi-vendor interoperable ecosystem.

Open RAN enables new programmable, intelligent, disaggregated, virtualised, and interoperable functions to be developed. The RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) is one of the key enablers and a central piece of the Open RAN disaggregation strategy; it allows for third-party applications such as xApps, rApps to be created to automate and optimise RAN operations at scale while supporting innovative use cases.

The Challenge

This workshop will aim to explore new opportunities by fostering the development of ideas in a neutral convening space, providing a launch pad for innovators to help them to connect with other companies and eventually develop their ideas further.

Participants will be tasked with exploring how third-party applications running on the RIC could help to optimise RAN performance, for example, to deal with network traffic in a dense urban environment with standard traffic patterns that include surges due to unexpected or expected factors, for example in busy commuting areas. 


Please note, to participate in the challenge you should have availability to attend the following sessions: 

  • An online briefing session on 22nd September 2022 from 16:00 to 17:30 GMT, to discover more about the challenge in preparation for the workshop. 
  • An in person workshop on 4th October 2022 from 10:30 to 15:30 GMT in Kings Cross, London.


The workshop event has a limited attendance capacity, confirmation from Digital Catapult will be required to participate in the session.

Why attend

This event will provide attendees with the opportunity to:

  • Understand the innovation opportunities around AI/ML and RIC in Open RAN
  • Meet and engage with different stakeholders on key topics related to the role of AI and ML in the telecom space, and explore new opportunities for collaboration.
  • Support the development of new ideas around the RIC. 
  • Explore the opportunity to develop new AI-driven solutions and connect with challenge owners to explore potential further development.
  • Learn more about Open RAN and benefit from early stage solution ideation opportunities for new start-ups business.
  • Understand how to get involved in the subsequent phases of SONIC Labs.

Who should attend

This event focuses on early-stage solution ideation for the RAN Intelligent Controller, and in particular it will be of interest to:

  • Digital innovators and start ups/ small and medium businesses working with artificial intelligence and machine learning
  • AI/ML technology experts and academics 
  • Developers with Telco or Radio Networks interest and prior knowledge of software development for network optimisation

About the programme

For more information about the programme, please visit