Glasgow subway to feature in 5G ‘infotainment’ demonstrator

Tourists and commuters on Glasgow’s metro system will get a taste of ‘infotainment’ services run on superfast 5G networks, as part of a partnership between the UK Government and South Korea.

Digital Minister Margot James this week announced the winners of a £2.4 million project with South Korea to explore new 5G experiences for tourists and commuters on public transport.

5G RailNext has been chosen to test how 5G can provide uninterrupted ‘infotainment’ services across the Seoul Metro system. The project will deliver Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR) content – including travel information, video streaming and gaming – through wearable devices such as headsets.

A follow-up demonstrator in the UK will take place on the Glasgow subway, with the 5G RailNext consortium outlining plans to explore future use on the London Underground and New York Metro.

5G RailNext is a private and public sector consortium led by Cisco and consisting of British SMEs Soluis and Ampletime as well as the University of Strathclyde and Glasgow City Council.

Digital Minister Margot James said: “5G is the future of connectivity and we want the UK to be a world leader. This collaboration with South Korea will explore innovative ways to use the technology to deliver content and services on transport networks in Seoul and Glasgow.

“I’m delighted that this will create new partnership and business opportunities for UK SMEs, academia and local government.”

The UK and South Korean Governments will give up to £1.2 million grant funding each to support the scheme, which aims to demonstrate how new interactive experiences, including travel services, entertainment and advertising can be delivered through 5G.

The competition was launched in April 2019 as a drive for South Korean investment in the UK and to create new opportunities for UK businesses in South Korea.

It is part of the Government’s £200 million 5G Testbeds & Trials Programme, which aims to maximise the opportunities for UK businesses, especially SMEs, to develop new 5G applications and services for both domestic and global markets.

Through its modern Industrial Strategy the Government is making sure that the UK has the right infrastructure in place to be a world leader in new 5G technology.

The project demonstrates a continued collaborative relationship between UK and South Korean industry, one which the Government hopes to develop following EU exit. The project will run from August 2019 to March 2021.

Tony Gribben, Country Manager, Cisco Scotland, said: “We’re delighted to be working with DCMS and such innovative partners on this project. More so than any other wave of connectivity, 5G presents an opportunity to ensure every industry can benefit from connectivity and the added value it provides to society. With Glasgow Metro one of the oldest in the world, what more challenging and relatable environment to trial than a moving metro train, equipped with the latest in augmented reality technology.”

Jon Kingsbury, Head of Digital Economy & Creative Industries at the Knowledge Transfer Network, one of the founding partners of UK5G, said: “The 5G RailNext project is an exciting and innovative collaboration between the UK and Korea – deploying world-class British advertising and digital expertise to develop new and useful services for commuters. We especially look forward to the project bringing back insights from its trial on the Seoul Metro to benefit passengers in the UK.”