5G: strategy for Scotland

A strategy outlining our vision for 5G and our commitment to embracing the opportunities it will give to build towards our aspiration to establish Scotland as a forward looking digital nation. 

Annex B: Scottish 5G Case Studies

Case Study 1 - 5G Ruralfirst: 5G on Orkney

The UK's most ambitious testbed for rural 5G connectivity, demonstrating the potential and identifying practical use cases that will benefit businesses and communities, is 5G RuralFirst. With funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport's 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme, it is a co-innovation project led by Cisco and the University of Strathclyde, alongside partners including the BBC, the Agri-EPI Centre, Orkney Islands Council, and Scottish Futures Trust, as well as local SMEs from Scotland, such as Cloudnet IT Solutions Ltd from Orkney.

Since its inception in June 2018, 5G RuralFirst has deployed tests and trials on Orkney to showcase the potential of 5G in rural environments. It is focused on the problem of patchy and unreliable connectivity in rural areas and builds on Scottish Government-funded trials by the University of Strathclyde and Cloudnet IT Solutions of TV Whitespace technology, delivering digital connectivity on Orkney. Orkney was chosen because of its challenging landscape, making it the perfect place to trial connectivity in one of Scotland's most rural and isolated areas. Orkney also has a track record for cutting-edge technology trials and is well set up for the needs of the project.

5G RuralFirst's trials and use cases on Orkney include:

Sustainable Tourism - Despite having only 20,000 inhabitants, Orkney welcomed nearly 340,000 visitors in 2017. By deploying connectivity to tour buses operating in Orkney in summer 2019, the trial will enable visitors on the buses to access dynamic content, helping to manage tourist density during peak times, and deliver an enhanced passenger experience.

Radio broadcasting - Testing on the island of Stronsay has explored the potential of 5G to broadcast BBC radio nationwide in a more efficient manner. Future plans aim to explore the potential for user-generated content creation over 5G. The BBC will only turn off terrestrial TV when alternatives can cover 99% of the population, so diverting their broadcast costs to 5G mobile network operators could be a valuable contributor to the 5G rural business case.

Legionella monitoring - IoT enabled remote monitoring of water in a local school has provided a cost effective solution for health and safety compliance.

Salmon Farming - 5G-connected sensors enable developing fish stocks in salmon tanks and sea-water pens to be monitored to ensure healthy development of farmed salmon and trout.

Connected Wind Farm - IoT sensors enable high value equipment monitoring integrity, weather and wind speed. This aims to help identify potentially dangerous weather conditions, and enable appropriate action to be taken, minimising impact. This could lead to reduced insurance premiums, helping to improve the efficiency of wind farms.

5G RuralFirst is committed to demonstrating the economic and social value of connectivity, and the potential of 5G to connect rural areas. By exploring new business models for 5G, such as spectrum sharing, 5G RuralFirst aims to show how deploying and operating 5G services in rural areas could be commercially viable and attractive.

It also aims to demonstrate how policy decisions around spectrum sharing and 5G legislation could support independent organisations and improve rural connectivity for the broader benefit of the UK. Beyond this project, there is a desire for collaboration to share the lessons and recommendations of 5G RuralFirst with a view to affecting lasting change in how we approach and deliver connectivity to our rural areas.

Case Study 2 - Civtech Beta Challenge - Scottish Environment Protection Agency

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) set CivTech[30] a challenge to develop an effective hyper-local early warning system to give people time to prepare for flooding.

While Scotland has effective flood warning systems in place for cities and many towns, SEPA wanted to reach more and smaller communities. Inherent in the challenge was how to overcome the limits of network connectivity in the smaller and more remote vulnerable communities.

One of CivTech's start-up companies, RiverTrack, developed a solution which is a robust, low-maintenance river level monitoring and alarm system, which incorporates low-power network connectivity, cost effective components and innovative design. Acoustic sensors measure river level changes and feed information to display units placed in homes, community centres, pubs, schools and businesses - in fact anywhere needed.

Independent of any communication infrastructure (which can fail in adverse conditions) the displays also act as boosters to create a resilient mesh across wide areas, meaning no-one need be without early warning.

The system was tested with extremely successful results in late 2016. Two full-scale community pilots were carried out successfully in Moniaive in Dumfries and Galloway and Menstrie in Clackmannanshire in 2017. RiverTrack is now manufacturing the device with a scheduled product rollout working in coordination with the Scottish Flood Forum and Resilience Networks.

Case Study 3 - iOptAssets

Glasgow-based iOptAssets works with managers of large property portfolios across the UK, helping them monitor the environment within each and every one of their properties. Clients range from commercial property owners to managers of public sector housing stock. To do so, iOptAssets is currently using Low Powered Wide Area Networking technology (LPWAN), where sensors provide small amounts of data and only have to be switched on for short periods every day. As a result, some sensors might run for 5-10 years on a single battery.

For many clients, this is likely to be enough to generate great value, however, iOptAssets believes that in the future, clients will increasingly demand more complex information, possibly exceeding what LPWAN technologies can provide. As Scotland's 5G capacity grows, through commercial deployment and through the use of public sector assets, it is likely 5G will play an increasingly important role as a high capacity and low latency carrier of data.

Case Study 4 - Dundee Waterfront

The Scottish Government and Scottish Futures Trust are supporting Dundee City Council's procurement of an ultra-fast Wi-Fi network that will serve as a 5G testbed. This is part of an overall £63.8 million Growth Accelerator for the ambitious Dundee Waterfront development.

Public Wi-Fi will be the first technology platform to be deployed within the Waterfront area and will be underpinned by fibre utilising Dundee City Council's assets such as street furniture, ducting and power in parallel with access to Abertay University's telecoms room.

Dundee City Council is seeking a 5G partner that can demonstrate how the Council's assets can be used to develop a testbed. The partner will be expected to work closely with the Council to develop and implement the Council's 5G aspirations by leveraging industry and external financial relationships to improve the city's connectivity to 2026. Key to the success will be cross-sector collaboration to demonstrate and test technology, commercial approaches and use cases. The Council will assess each initiative before committing how to demonstrate and commercialise them outside the Waterfront area.



Back to top