Two new ‘innovation hubs’ have been opened by a government-funded organisation to accelerate the adoption of next generation mobile connectivity – ‘5G’ – in Scotland.

The Scotland 5G Centre has launched its fourth and fifth hubs in Aberdeen and Ayrshire to boost economic growth and encourage entrepreneurship through the deployment of 5G technology.

The new hubs, part of the Scottish Government-backed £4 million SFGConnect programme, follow the announcement of hubs in Forth Valley, Dundee and Scotland’s first rural hub in Dumfries.

The new centre in Aberdeen is a partnership with Opportunity North East and will be based in ONE Tech Hub – a “co-innovation zone” for the digital community.

In Ayrshire, development company HALO Kilmarnock will be the lead partner and the hub will be hosted in The HALO Enterprise and Innovation Centre at The HALO Digital & Cyber Innovation Park.

The hubs will act as ‘business enablers’ intended to accelerate strategic partnerships with key customers in the regions, to leverage new applications and services, enabled through 5G connectivity. 

Specialist staff will support companies to develop, prototype, and test real-world applications and use cases over a 5G innovation platform, gain one-to-one consultancy and professional support to develop and scale businesses, at no initial cost to the user.

Since launching its first three hubs, The Scotland 5G Centre has engaged with over 400 businesses on the transformational benefits of 5G technology.

The new hubs will promote innovation and investment, focussing on sectors relevant to the Ayrshire and Aberdeen economies, including energy, offshore and ports.

Finance secretary Kate Forbes said: “These new 5G Innovation Hubs will help boost the economy and encourage entrepreneurship in Aberdeen and Kilmarnock.

“The S5GConnect Hub programme is playing an important role in unlocking the power of 5G technologies, helping small and medium‑sized enterprises with the skills they need to understand how 5G can benefit their business.

“This transformational technology could provide Scotland with competitive advantage and, most importantly, improve quality of life for citizens and businesses across the country as we rebuild a sustainable economy with good jobs at its heart.”

Paul Coffey, chief executive of the Scotland 5G Centre, added: “Announcing two further S5GConnect Hubs is a significant step forward in this innovative new programme.  Our expanding hub network will unlock growth and innovation, augmented through 5G network capabilities, and re-imagine customer processes and outcomes through data, AI/AR and machine learning. 

“Acting as a catalyst to place Scotland at the forefront of digital connectivity, each hub will build on regional engagement, job creation and skills development by supporting key sectors and businesses.” 

Jennifer Craw, chief executive, Opportunity North East said: “Locating the S5GConnect Hub within ONE Tech Hub provides businesses and tech developers with the opportunity to demonstrate, develop and apply 5G connectivity in new applications and ensure the region’s key sectors continue to be at the forefront of digital and technology developments and further strengthens ONE Tech Hub as the forum for the digital ecosystem.”

Marie Macklin CBE, founder and executive chair of the HALO, said: “We’re really pleased to welcome a Scotland 5G Centre Connect Hub to The HALO Enterprise and Innovation Centre.

“The HALO is setting the standard for low carbon energy sites across the UK offering a state-of-the-art environment for entrepreneurs specialising in green growth by building a sustainable community powered by renewable energy.

“Hosting a Scotland 5G Centre Connect Hub here at the HALO will further enhance our community approach to providing digital and cyber jobs with skills development, economic growth and access to employment opportunities.”

The Scotland 5G Centre is the national centre for accelerating the deployment and adoption of 5G and realising its economic and societal potential for Scotland.