This BC university just became Canada's first 5G 'Smart Campus'

Nov 5 2019, 6:00 am

After announcing their plan last year to do so, Rogers Communications, along with the University of British Columbia (UBC), revealed today it has turned on the country’s first 5G-powered smart campus as part of their strategic partnership to advance 5G research in Canada.

The smart campus, which includes 5G towers throughout UBC’s Point Grey campus and an edge computing-enabled data centre, is being used by university researchers to test 5G applications in a real-world setting.

“With 5G at our doorstep, we’re focused on bringing together Canada’s brightest minds to research, incubate and commercialize applications that will transform the way we live and work,” said Jorge Fernandes, Chief Technology Officer, Rogers Communications.

“Our work with UBC is helping design and test Canada’s 5G blueprint and today’s announcement is a critical milestone as we prepare our national network for commercial deployment in 2020.”

In September 2018, Rogers announced a multimillion-dollar partnership with UBC to fund academic research in 5G applications and applied sciences that will benefit our country’s unique needs.

Today, the company announced new research projects that are underway using the 5G network on campus, including:

  • Earthquake and tsunami detection technology that leverages the low latency of 5G sensors and machine learning to provide an early warning of an earthquake so people can take preventative steps to stay safe;
  • Digital mining technology that makes the operations of mines safer and improves sustainability through autonomous trucks and predictive truck maintenance;
  • 5G Mobility as a Service (MaaS), a next generation mobile platform that brings together transit, bike rental, car sharing, car rental, and other modes of transportations so consumers can easily get the best on-demand transportation options.

“Our government is committed to further strengthening B.C.’s tech and innovation sector and supporting the training needs of tomorrow’s workforce,” said BC Jobs & Technology Minister, Bruce Ralston. “5G brings enormous opportunity for our province and the students who experience this hands-on training. We are excited to see what applications they develop during their time at UBC.”

Ralston’s thoughts were echoed by Dr. Gail Murphy, UBC’s vice president of research and innovation.

“Collaboration between universities and industry is critical to fully leverage the opportunities offered by 5G,” said Murphy. “Our partnership with Rogers builds on the strength of UBC’s campus as a living lab – providing students with opportunities to build the skills for tomorrow and supporting faculty research on 5G-based solutions to significant local and global challenges.”

Last month,UBC students were among the first Canadians to work with a live 5G network at a hackathon hosted by Rogers.

Students spent two days using the Rogers 5G smart campus network to collaborate on how 5G will advance augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and gaming applications.

During the event, students also used edge computing infrastructure provided by MobiledgeX to write code and test their application developments in real-time.

Rogers said today’s announcement is part of the company’s “multi-year commitment to bring 5G to Canadians through network investments and strategic partnerships to research, incubate and commercialize made-in-Canada 5G technology.”