Digital Catapult to launch of 5G lab in Newcastle  


The organisation says the new 5G lab stimulate growth and attract investment in the technology sector of the North of Tyne Combined Authority Region 

Digital Catapult has revealed plans to establish a new innovation lab in Newcastle, aiming to foster digital skills and innovation across the North of Tyne region.  

Situated in Newcastle’s Eldon Square, the facility will provide local companies and residents access to the latest advancements in 5G and immersive technologies. 

Collaborating with Vodafone, Digital Catapult’s innovation lab will focus on 5G Standalone (5G SA) and future network technology. Equipped with cutting-edge digital technology and a versatile workspace, including co-working areas and meeting rooms, the 5G Immersive Lab will help local businesses to leverage advanced technologies and accelerate product development.  

Recent Vodafone research found that UK SME’s are missing out on £8.6 billion a year in productivity savings due to the slow rollout of 5G SA. 

Funded by £700 million from the North of Tyne Combined Authority, the lab’s rollout will occur in two phases, with the co-working space expected to be operational by spring 2024 and the full 5G Immersive Lab set to follow by the end of summer. This initiative aims to bridge the digital gap and support innovation throughout the region. 

Technology industry organisation Dynamo North East will assist in identifying SMEs across the North of Tyne region that can benefit from the lab’s resources. Additionally, the maintenance of the innovation lab and co-working space will be managed by Floe, a provider of co-working spaces across the North of England. 

“5G is more than just being able to stream videos faster on your phone. It helps businesses to innovate and solve problems…” said North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscol. “That’s why this lab is really exciting, as it will provide the right environment and tools for businesses to test it out in a low cost, low risk way.” 

The partnership announcement comes just days after the Port of Tyne was awarded a £1.159 million contract to launch 5G-enabled ‘smart port’ operations. The project is a partnership with South Tyneside Council and will see5G cameras and Internet of Things (IoT) sensors installed to monitor the port estate and support its drive to go all-electric. 

The project was funded as part of the £3.7 million in government funding won by seven North East local authorities (Northumberland, North Tyneside, Newcastle, Gateshead, South Tyneside, Sunderland and Durham) to support four pioneering 5G and advanced wireless connectivity projects across the Northeast. This funding, in turn, is part of the £37 million earmarked by the Department for Science Innovation and Technology for their 5G Innovation Regions project.  

 Join Patrick Melia, Chief Executive of Sunderland City Council at this year’s Connected North event 22-23 April in Manchester – secure your tickets now! 

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