Smart Tourism: 5G Tourism in West of England

Research area  5G
Dates  01.04.18 – 31.03.19
Contact person Professor Dimitra Simeonidou

The tourism industry in the West of England is worth £1.75 billion to the region’s annual economy. The 5G Smart Tourism project was funded by the UK  Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). It connected leading West of England tourist destinations such as The Roman Baths, M-Shed and We The Curious to new 5G technology via the University of Bristol’s 5GUK Test Network, a UK national asset. This project focused on the intersection between infrastructure, mobile services, tourism and digital applications. To expedite the roll-out of 5G services in the UK, this project enhanced the value chain through 5G enabled tourism applications and diversify the revenue stream for popular tourist destinations. Through this unique and representative multi-technology 5G platform, the project promoted the creative digital industries in the UK and thus generated benefits across the entire visitor economy value chain.


The project consortium

Led by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) (our geographical regional governing body), this £8 million project brought together a total of 19 partners. These are: West of England Combined Authority, University of Bristol Smart Internet Lab, CCS Ltd, BT, Mo-Sys Engineering Ltd, Mativision Ltd, Smartify CIC, BBC, Zeetta Technologies Ltd, Destination Bristol, Digital Catapult, Bristol VR LAB, Interdigital Europe Ltd, Bristol is Open Ltd, Bristol Futures Global Ltd, Landmark Ltd, IBI Group Ltd, Bristol City Council, Bath and North East Somerset Council.

Our project contribution

The University of Bristol Smart Internet Lab contributed extensive knowledge and expertise in 5G network design. The 5G Smart Tourism project utilised the University of Bristol’s 5GUK Test Network, which includes 3GPP 4G, 5G New Radio, non-3GPP mmWave and Wi-Fi radio access technologies, as well as, key 5G core network elements such as Mobile Edge Computing, Network Function Virtualisation and Network Slicing. This important UK national asset provided access to radio spectrum at 2.6GHz, 3.5GHz, 26GHz and 60GHz.


The project delivered five unique use-cases showcasing two primary 5G KPIs; Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) and Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communication (URLLC) through innovative augmented, virtual and mixed reality applications. For example, to showcase the capabilities of 5G technology, the 5G Smart Tourism project had partnered with the BBC and the historic Roman Baths to enhance visitor experience via a next-generation augmented reality application. This unique demonstration tested eMBB and URLLC 5G metrics through high bandwidth and low latency network requirements inside a national heritage location. This use-case was delivered in two parts: (1) Location dependent pre-rendered 360-degree video was streamed to 20 handsets simultaneously from a local compute platform. (2) Video was remotely rendered in the local MEC platform from a 3D animated model using orientation/interaction data from the user.
This project brings together experts of the Smart Internet Lab.

Project team

Senior Research Associates:

  • Dr John Harris - Technical lead on the Smart Tourism project in charge of work package 2 delivery within the consortium.
  • Mr Ben Thomas - Primary software architect responsible for cloud and orchestration of network elements.



Project Support:

Programme Overview:

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