Home » 5G » 5G could create a digital renaissance in the UK
5G 2020

5G could create a digital renaissance in the UK

iStock / Getty Images Plus / gorodenkoff

Matthew Evans

Director of Markets, techUK

5G will revolutionise the way we experience gaming, the arts, entertainment, and cultural sectors, bringing enjoyment without ever leaving your home. Now, creative industry does not just need to upskill workers, it needs to be equipped with 5G

5G is a transformational technology. Together with industry, government continues to champion 5G and is funding innovative use cases to demonstrate what 5G makes possible.

Latest figures show the creative industries are the fastest growing sectors in the UK economy. In 2018, they collectively contributed £111 billion to the UK economy, growing over five times faster than the national economy.

It is undeniable that the UK and its major cities are known for their creative buzz all around the world.

Artists based in Britain have, for generations, changed perspectives and, with 5G, their imagination is now helping to transform many other areas.

Lockdown and the creative industry

Yet, as with all sectors, the creative industries have been significantly impacted by the national lockdown measures.

5G, combined with augmented reality (AR), has already enabled an interactive performance from a dragon at the start of a baseball match in Korea.

Professional sports have been postponed, lots of TV production has moved into presenters’ homes, and many attractions have moved online. On the other end of the spectrum, online gaming consumption has soared.

Some of these conditions and ways of working could become businesses’ new normal.

5G: changing business models and enhancing ROI

5G’s combination of increased coverage, reduced latency, shift to edge computing and technology upgrades could build upon these new ways of working.

For example, last year in Covent Garden, BBC Breakfast made the UK’s first live TV broadcast using just one public 5G connection.

Using only one connection and not requiring expensive broadcasting units reduced the complexity and cost of the production.

Changing how we experience content

Research suggests that, in sport, 5G will have a bigger impact than the previous generation of network technology. Alongside changing how sports businesses operate, 5G will improve fan engagement.

5G, combined with augmented reality (AR), has already enabled an interactive performance from a dragon at the start of a baseball match in Korea.

It improves in-stadium connectivity and can provide fans with live player statistics as the match progresses.

In the case of virtual reality (VR), a fan can now watch a game from any seat in the stadium, without even leaving their home.

In the realm of tourism, in 2018, the BBC created an AR smartphone experience, using 5G technology, to bring the past to life at the Roman Baths, in Bath – something that could not have been achieved using 4G.

Change needs government support

While there are examples of how 5G can benefit the creative industries, its potential needs more widespread understanding.

5G networks are predominantly privately funded and investors are looking to install 5G where there is demand. Demand is generated by a greater understanding of what 5G can do.

Government has recognised this and are funding innovative use cases to try and help drive up demand and understanding of 5G. One such mechanism is the Testbeds and Trials Programme.

‘Content is king’ may be a cliché, but it still holds true. The government has recognised this, and one of the early testbeds they funded demonstrated that the delivery of broadcast content can also act as an anchor tenant for network deployment.

The most recent addition to the Trials and Testbed programme is the £30 million 5G Create competition, accepting applications until 27 July 2020.

The findings from these projects could not only help increase knowledge of what harnessing 5G could do for these industries, but also give businesses and workers the confidence to change their working practices.

The government must continue to work with industry, including through funding the 5G testbeds, to help showcase how 5G can benefit sectors including the creative industries.

techUK works to ensure that we deliver on the potential of 5G, and that its benefits are realised across people, society and UK plc.

Next article