The Governor of the Bank of England has lauded the potential benefits of next generation connectivity after visiting a 5G hub in the south of Scotland.

Andrew Bailey had an encounter with an unusual four-legged ‘friend’ after dropping in to meet staff at The Scotland 5G Centre’s S5G Connect Hub in Dumfries.

The Scotland 5G Centre and the University of Glasgow showcased the potential of 5G technology with on-site robot demonstrations from the 5G testbed at Crichton Central. 

Mr Bailey, who was encouraged by the innovative and ambitious plans of The Crichton partners to put 5G technology to the test in rural areas, said: “I was delighted to see some innovative uses of 5G technology being developed in hubs like the one in Dumfries. The potential improvements for how we live and work should have positive impacts for businesses and households, particularly in rural parts of the economy.”

The meeting with Mr Bailey, who was accompanied by Will Dowson, Bank of England’s agent for Scotland, took place at Crichton Central, The Crichton’s new co-working space.

Mr Bailey met with Dr Ian Macmillan, Gwilym Gibbons and Rachel Cowper from The Crichton Trust and Julie Snell, Paul Coffey and Andy Todman from The Scotland 5G Centre.  They discussed the role that technology plays in enhancing the impact rural communities, like Dumfries and Galloway, can have on the wider economy. 

Andrew Bailey, Governor of the Bank of England and Will Dowson, Bank of England Agent for Scotland, pictured centre, with representatives from The Crichton Trust, University of Glasgow and The Scotland 5G Centre at Crichton Central

Gwilym Gibbons, chief executive of The Crichton Trust said: “We appreciated our visit from Andrew Bailey, Governor of the Bank of England. It was a great opportunity for us to showcase our ambitions for The Crichton and the South of Scotland, but more importantly to demonstrate the potential for rural based innovation to generate technological solutions to the big challenges we face. Solutions which are born from the need of communities that are feeling first and most acutely the impacts of climate change, ageing society, and technological revolution; solutions that can be replicated and scaled from the rural to the urban and to the world. Inspiring places combined with innovative partnerships, knowledge exchange and local investment, means rural businesses and communities can influence change and make a real difference to the local and global economies. Due to our partnerships and the 5G testbed we have here, we are at the forefront of innovation when it comes to finding solutions to modern-day societal challenges and we are excited about the potential impact of our work.”

Paul Coffey, chief executive of The Scotland 5G Centre, said: “We were pleased to host the Bank of England Governor visit to witness first-hand what the Crichton Centre and our Scotland 5GConnect hub at Dumfries has to offer. 5G provides huge transformational benefits to industries and working practices and adopting advanced connectivity, augmented through 5G network capabilities, unlocks growth and innovation and allows processes and outcomes to be re-imagined by using industrial automation, AI video applications, drones, and IoT sensing technologies.

“Importantly, advanced connectivity enables choice. The place of work no longer needs to be the office. People will have access to a work environment, regardless of location, removing physical barriers and association of a job. This has a tremendous advantage, not just at a personal level, but also to the economy as we lessen the impact such as the Covid-19 pandemic and rebuild a sustainable economy.”