5G ENCODE: 5G Enabling Connectivity for Digital Engineering

Research areas 5G & Beyond
Dates 1 February 2020 - 31 March 2022
Funder Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS)
Contact person Professor Dimitra Simeonidou 

The 5G-ENCODE project will explore business cases and value propositions for 5G applications in the manufacturing industry by establishing a private 5G testbed within the National Composites Centre (NCC). It will explore the use of Augmented/Virtual Reality applications in design and training; monitoring and tracking time-sensitive assets; and wireless real-time monitoring and analytics.

The £9M project funded by the UK government's Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme (Phase 3) will demonstrate new business models (neutral hosting) for private mobile networks in the manufacturing sector and technologies (network slicing and splicing) and their value proposition to three key digital engineering capabilities for composite manufacturing:

• Application of AR/VR to support design, training and advanced Human–Machine interfacing to enhance the quality of manual layup of composites.

• Condition monitoring and tracking of time sensitive assets, i.e. composite materials enhancing shop floor operational efficiency and compliance.

• Wireless real-time in-process monitoring inside harsh process environment such as ovens as a steppingstone to full machine autonomy.

The 5G-ENCODE project aims to demonstrate the value of 5G on industrial use cases within the composites manufacturing industry. It will validate the premise of using private 5G networks in conjunction with new business models can deliver better efficiency, productivity, a range of new services and opportunities that would help the UK lead the development of advanced manufacturing applications.

The project will showcase how 5G features such as neutral hosting, network slicing and splicing can be applied to transform a private 5G network into a dynamically reconfigurable network. That will be able to support a wide range of applications (URLL/eMBB/MMTC) including industrial applications of Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR), asset tracking of time sensitive materials and automated industrial control though IoT monitoring and big data analytics. Such a dynamic network would enable new business models and the creation of bespoke virtual networks tailored to specific applications or use cases.

The Smart Internet Lab at the University of Bristol (UoB) provides its expertise in 4G and 5G open networks, orchestration and control of resources, Mobile Edge Computing and Neutral Hosting to the project. It supports both the Architecture, Design and Instantiation works of the Industrial 5G testbed together with Zeetta Networks, Telefonica, Toshiba and NCC. Smart Internet Lab also assists the Use Case owners and partners in their understanding of 5G technology, of what it can change in their own field of interest and also by collecting specific requirements linked to existing and future processes in order to derive the best architecture and design of the industrial 5G experimental network.

Smart Internet Lab also provides support with its own testbed to enable some of the end-to-end use cases needing a second distant site like the AR/VR based Virtual Training Use Case. Finally, Smart Internet Lab will support project level publications and additional more research-oriented papers based on some measurement campaigns that it will participate to, with the other members, benefiting from its own measurement and monitoring tools that might get extended for the specifics of the project.



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