Skip to content

Digital Catapult partners with Nottingham Trent University to create Smart Wireless Innovation Facility as part of ‘smart campus’ project

Posted 25 Sep 2020

Digital Catapult partners with Nottingham Trent University to create Smart Wireless Innovation Facility as part of ‘smart campus’ project.

Digital Catapult has partnered with Nottingham Trent University (NTU) to help create new advanced digital technologies infrastructure at the university’s Clifton Campus, which is benefitting from D2N2 funding.

Digital Catapult, the UK’s leading advanced digital technology innovation centre, will design and develop a 5G and IoT testbed to be incorporated into the facility, that will enable users of the Smart Wireless Innovation Facility (SWIFt) to test and develop 5G-enabled solutions, and access a state of the art LoRaWAN network, with capability to connect up to 1,000 devices.

Ray Lambe, Director of Programme Delivery at Digital Catapult commented: “The cutting edge technologies that SWIFt will provide are going to be of huge benefit to the academic community as well as local businesses and entrepreneurs, furthering the ability of organisations across the East Midlands to test, explore and create innovative and transformative products and services powered by 5G and IoT together. Digital Catapult is one of the UK’s leading technical authorities on 5G, and we’re using our significant expertise in designing and building these important facilities to help create the advanced digital infrastructure that will enable Nottingham Trent University to continue not only to meet its own academic research ambitions but also to support innovation and economic growth in the region and beyond.”

The smart campus project, which will also feature other network technologies, could include intelligent wayfinding, virtual assistants, smart parking and building controls, greater sustainability in catering and enhanced learning for students.

The smart campus will become a ‘living lab’ for researchers, businesses and policymakers and showcase and demonstrate how these technologies can be translated into everyday life.
It will also examine the application of 5G and other smart technologies in industry and logistics and explore how to create ‘Smart Places’ for the future.

It has been announced that D2N2, the Local Enterprise Partnership for Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham, and Nottinghamshire will invest £800,000 towards the £1.6m project from its Local Growth Fund allocation.

The Local Growth Fund enables D2N2 to invest in projects that benefit the local area and economy, supporting a greater numbers of jobs, homes, and learners.

Professor Nigel Wright, NTU’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) said: “This exciting project will not only establish a state-of-the-art facility on our Clifton Campus, but also support local and national businesses to develop new products to establish a leading position in new markets. The total funding of £1.6m will bring benefits for new businesses and employment as our economy recovers from the lockdown.”

The scheme is the latest investment D2N2 has made with Nottingham Trent University and follows the Medical Technologies Innovation Facility (MTIF) and Allied Health Care Provision facility operated by the University in Mansfield which between them represent almost £10.3m from the Local Growth Fund.

D2N2 Interim Chair David Williams said: “As we recover from the economic hit of Coronavirus, 5G will be a vital stimulus for our businesses and communities and the work that will be carried out at the Smarter Wireless Innovation Facility will have a huge impact on our efforts to rebuild. This project is just the latest in a long line of investments D2N2 has made with Nottingham Trent University to improve the lives of local people and help shape our region bringing more jobs, more homes, and more learners.”

Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Luke Hall MP, said: “We are determined to level up every region of the country by investing in improving local infrastructure, boosting economic growth and delivering jobs and homes for communities. This investment through our Local Growth Fund will help to make Nottingham Trent University’s campus a smart and sustainable space, creating new jobs and delivering important research opportunities for businesses.”

Councillor David Mellen, Leader of Nottingham City Council, said: “This is exciting news for Nottingham Trent University and we look forward to seeing the plans being implemented on the Clifton Campus. Digital innovation is critical to help our economy recover from the Covid pandemic, and this project will provide a real boost for Nottingham. We’ve been at the forefront of digital infrastructure delivery, with some of the best fibre connectivity, and have many businesses in the sector. This smart city campus concept with the 5G technology can build on that Nottingham strength, and support both businesses and residents locally.”

Work on the Smart Wireless Innovation Facility, which will be based inside the university’s engineering facility, is due to be completed by Summer 2021.