Rogers Communications has turned on its first 5G-powered smart campus in the country in partnership with the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, the company announced Nov. 5. 

The smart campus includes 5G towers spread across the university’s Point Grey campus and an edge computing enabled data centre, all of which is being used by university researchers to test 5G applications in a real-world setting. Edge computing can support faster response times by bringing computing power, content, and servers closer to IoT and consumer devices.

“Collaboration between universities and industry is critical to fully leverage the opportunities offered by 5G,” Dr. Gail Murphy, vice-president, research and innovation, UBC said in a press release. 

In October 2019, UBC students were among the first Canadians to work with a live 5G network at a hackathon organized by Rogers. Students spent two days using the Rogers 5G smart campus network to collaborate on how 5G will advance augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and gaming applications. During the event, students also used edge computing infrastructure provided by MobiledgeX to write code and test their application developments in real-time. 

The recently announced research projects that will be carried out using the 5G network on campus include an earthquake and tsunami detection technology that leverages machine learning and the low latency of 5G sensors to provide an early warning of an earthquake to help people take preventative measures and stay safe.

Other examples include digital mining technology aimed at making the operations of mines safer and enhancing sustainability through autonomous trucks and predictive truck maintenance, and 5G Mobility as a Service (MaaS), a mobile platform that is aimed at bringing together transit, bike rental, car sharing, car rental, and other transportation modes so consumers can easily get the best on-demand transportation options.

“Our government is committed to further strengthening B.C.’s tech and innovation sector and supporting the training needs of tomorrow’s workforce,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade, and Technology, Government of British Columbia. “5G brings enormous opportunity for our province and the students who experience this hands-on training. We are excited to see what applications they develop during their time at UBC.”

The duo had also inked a three-year, multi-million dollar agreement to build a 5G Hub in Vancouver in September 2018. As part of the agreement, Rogers had started deploying 5G-ready network equipment and infrastructure at UBC starting in early 2019. The partnership aims to study 5G applications such as monitoring cars and traffic to develop smarter and safer cities across the country.

Other research interests include autonomous vehicles, network slicing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning technology for use in medical, robotics and farming applications. The partnership also aims to develop skills in software development, computer science, machine learning, and applied mathematics. 

These partnerships are part of Rogers multi-year program to deliver 5G across Canada.

Earlier this year, the company announced a five-year, $10 million partnership for the Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst with Ryerson University, and a partnership with Communitech, aimed to accelerate and launch 5G applications.

In addition, Rogers recently secured new 5G spectrum across all provinces and territories to build a national 5G network in the country. To build that network, it signed a national infrastructure agreement with Ericsson to boost and densify its fibre-powered network with 5G-ready technology. 

“5G represents a massive technological transformation that will connect everything in our world from people and machines, to homes and cities. The global race to unlock its potential is underway,” Joe Natale, president and chief executive officer of Rogers Communications had said in a press release last year.

Last year Rogers completed live 5G testing at Rogers Centre and is currently testing 5G global standards. Rogers also continues to upgrade its 4.5G network with the latest 5G-ready technology to be ready for 5G commercial deployment in 2020.



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