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Digital Catapult launches search for next wave of innovative companies in the creative industries looking to unlock their product or service with 5G

Posted 28 May 2020

Digital Catapult has launched an open call to find a new cohort of five ambitious and innovative technology startups and scaleups working in the UK’s creative sector to join its flagship 5G programme for small businesses: the 5G Testbed Accelerator Programme.

As the UK’s leading advanced digital technology centre, Digital Catapult is at the forefront of exploiting 5G technology in the manufacturing and creative industries, and this latest drive for new members of the 5G Testbed Accelerator Programme will help more small businesses which have an interest in developing new products, services and experiences technically and commercially enabled by 5G, to get access to the tools, facilities and expertise they need to grow their business.

5G opens up a range of opportunities for the UK’s creative industries, across a variety of sectors including TV, film, music, advertising, theatre and the arts, and digital creative industries, which can all reap rewards from the benefits 5G offers: lower latency making download and processing speeds five times faster than 4G; enhanced mobile broadband enabling 1,000 times higher data volumes than 4G which opens up many opportunities for virtual and augmented reality and ultra HD streaming, and the ability to connect millions of devices simultaneously that will transform mass participation activities. The potential is huge for innovation in content production, but also in how it will affect existing production, distribution and consumption models.

Digital Catapult’s network of 5G testbeds was established in 2017 and expanded during 2019 to cover three sites in London and Brighton. Since the 5G Testbed Accelerator Programme launched in 2018, the 16 companies which have been part of the previous two cohorts have gained unrivalled access to one of the best 5G testbed facilities in the UK.

Dritan Kaleshi, Head of 5G Technology at Digital Catapult, said: “Successful adoption of 5G is all about meaningful and purposeful adoption – giving the right answer to the question as to how working with 5G will help someone’s business specifically. Digital Catapult’s 5G Testbed Accelerator Programme is uniquely designed to provide innovation support together with access to an advanced 5G test network and industry leading expertise to lead to practical applications and integrating 5G with innovative ideas that these companies bring to us. With a clearer understanding of how 5G will drive their business forward to create a boundary-pushing and customer-focused outcome, the 5G Testbed Accelerator Programme offers applicants a significant boost and potentially opens up entirely new business models. A number of successful businesses have sprung out of this programme and we’re excited to see what inspiring, talented companies apply this time.”

The 5G Testbed Accelerator Programme offers successful applicants a number of unique benefits:

  • Access to industry-leading 5G testbed facilities in London and Brighton. While teams must physically attend the testbed locations in order to test on the 5G network, remote support is available at other points in the development process and the testbed facilities will be operated in accordance with government guidelines on social distancing.
  • 5G technology support. One to one guidance and bespoke support from a Digital Catapult 5G technologist to integrate products or experiences on a 5G network throughout the three month development phase.
  • The opportunity to demonstrate 5G projects to industry at a showcase event in November 2020 that, depending on government guidance, may be held online.

Previous 5G Testbed Accelerator Programme participants include Mativision, the market leader in pioneering interactive live-streamed 360 degree VR for live events (like MTV’s VMAs) that used 5G to reduce broadcast latency from 45 to just four seconds and raised over £60,000 through the 5G Smart Tourism project, Sceenic which developed Watch Together, an app that brings audiences together in a unified experience enabling them to watch and communicate using the same app, and has since worked with BT Sport and La Liga, and ori, which used the 5G testbed to accelerate the development of its solution that makes edge computing more accessible to the wider development community, enabling organisations to harness the advantages mobile edge computing provides.

Applications are open until 1 July 2020 – to apply click here.

Find out more about Digital Catapult’s 5G Testbed Accelerator Programme here.