UBC becomes first 5G smart campus in Canada and a hub for related research

Originally Published by Vancouver Sun
Author: David Carrigg 

As of today, UBC is the first campus in Canada to be fully outfitted with 5G wireless technology.

“The purpose of the installation on our campus is to look into how 5G will be used in the future,” said Dr. Gail Murphy, UBC’s vice-president, research and innovation. “We are not at this moment focusing on how people on campus can use it at their will, we are looking at projects that make use of the technology and try and understand some of its boundaries.”

Murphy said 5G “is going to allow us to do more computing, to move information through the network at faster speeds. That always gives you a change in the kinds of uses you can support.

“Autonomous cars are one of the uses that are enabled by 5G technology, also smart traffic lights. You can even think about devices in garbage cans and only picking up those garbage cans when they are full. It will be very interesting to see how this technological advancement will change how we interact with the world.”

Last year, Rogers announced a multi-million dollar partnership with UBC to fund academic research into 5G applications and applied sciences designed for Canada’s unique needs.

The goal was to study 5G applications, such as monitoring cars and traffic to develop smarter and safer cities. Other research interests included autonomous vehicles, machine learning, artificial intelligence and network slicing technology for use in robotics, farming and medical applications. The partnership will also develop skills in computer science, applied mathematics, machine learning and software development.

The smart campus now includes 5G towers throughout UBC. An data centre is also being used by university researchers to test 5G applications in a real-world setting. Rogers is collaborating with Ericsson in this project.

Experts predict 5G can connect 500 times the number of devices compared to the current cellphone standard, 4G, allowing one million connected devices for every square city kilometre. This will involve the installation of thousands of small cell 5G cell towers in every city — for example there are 13,000 in Beijing, which rolled out 5G for phone users last week.

Other 5G research projects at UBC include earthquake and tsunami detection technology, digital mining technology allowing autonomous trucks and predictive truck maintenance, and ‘5G Mobility as a Service’ (MaaS) that brings together transit, bike rental, car sharing, car rental and other modes of transportations so consumers can get the best on-demand transportation options.

“With 5G at our doorstep, we’re focused on bringing together Canada’s brightest minds to research, incubate and commercialize applications that will transform the way we live and work,” said Jorge Fernandes, chief technology officer at Rogers Communications. “Our work with UBC is helping design and test Canada’s 5G blueprint and today’s announcement is a critical milestone as we prepare our national network for commercial deployment in 2020.”

In October, UBC students were among the first Canadians to work with a live 5G network at a hackathon hosted by Rogers. Students spent two days using the Rogers 5G smart campus network to collaborate on how 5G will advance augmented reality, virtual reality and gaming applications.

As it prepares for commercial deployment of 5G in 2020, Rogers continues to test 5G in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver, and upgrade its national 4.5G network with the latest 5G-ready technology.

Read original article at vancouversun.com.