Imagining a brighter future

Technology is at the heart of every business. But it’s constantly changing – and trying to keep up, trying to see what suits your company best, can be tiring. Especially when it’s just facts and figures on a page. It can be difficult to really imagine what technology can do – to put it into a real-world business situation.  Well, have we got a story for you.

We recently asked YouGov to survey over 1,000 UK businesses to see what they know about the tech of today, and how businesses can benefit from it. The results showed that 18% of those businesses said they’d never even heard of 5G. Let’s take a look at the possibilities it holds for the University of Warwick – and for you.

The uni of the future

The University of Warwick. It’s one of the leading education and research institutes in the world. But how can it gain an edge in the competitive world of academia? By leveraging the power of technology.

It’s creating a fully connected campus – the first of its kind in Europe.
With more than 30,000 students and staff living, working and learning across its 600m2 campus – the University operates as an ecosystem in its own right. David Plumb, CIO of the University of Warwick, is constantly looking for ways to leverage technology to drive innovation. And the University’s work in research and innovation doesn’t just benefit students and staff – but wider society too. And it’s now enhanced by 5G connectivity.

Autonomous vehicles

Self-driving cars have been on the horizon for a while. And we’ve still got a long way to go in perfecting them. But the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) at the University of Warwick is moving rapidly forward in autonomous vehicle development, recognising the benefits that self-driving vehicles can bring, like a safer environment, travelling more efficiently and reducing pollution. And all running on the power of 5G. But how do they work?

One vehicle pod transmits a live video feed to another connected vehicle and a control room. They use many sensors, with light detection ranging technology (LiDAR) and 360 video scanning tech to see which drives the best results – both for efficiency and reliability. This data then needs handling, processing and analysing to make real-time decisions at a speed faster than human reflexes. The team at WMG can then monitor how the vehicles can ‘see’ and share important data to each other. Pretty impressive, right? And this smart innovation relies on the right connectivity. Something the 5G network is perfect for.

Immersive reality

Our survey also found that only 12% of businesses surveyed plan to adopt some sort of Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality But it’s an important consideration for the University of Warwick. It’s creating a whole new world of teaching possibilities – preparing students for the world of work by allowing them to get a hands-on experience in many different industrial environments – all from the comfort of the campus.

It’s easy to see the benefits too, for science, research, learning and work. Let’s say a piece of equipment’s on the other side of the globe. Or it’s very dangerous for a first timer to operate. Immersive reality allows you to train those people in a safe environment, without the risks or the travel involved. And it’s not just industry-based careers that’ll benefit. History students, for example, could immerse themselves in virtual battles and bring abstract concepts to life – all through the power of immersive reality. It’s the future of learning.

There’s tech for you too

And it’s not just for students. Imagine how much more engagement you’d get with your staff if their annual training was fully immersive. Whether it be fighting virtual fires with an extinguisher or seeing into the mind of a hacker stealing your data – you can guarantee your staff would be a lot more on board.

And the power of 5G could transform your business. With its lightning-fast speeds, wide coverage, and low latency, you’ll never miss a call, email or text. And with more devices connected to the internet than ever before, your IoT technology will thank you too.

Lots of sectors are expected to benefit from the 5G network. Like the health sector – who can start to care for patients remotely, in real-time. By delivering seamless connectivity from hospital to a remote location, more patients can be seen, and savings will be made. We’ve already trialled putting 5G into an ambulance to see how the future of the healthcare sector could look.  There are numerous ways for the entire health and wellbeing sector to benefit in this space, including robotics, digital and meditech, helping more people to lead longer and better quality lives.  Innovation in this space is a priority for the University and its NHS partners.

With the self-driving vehicles being tested at the University of Warwick, the transport and mobility sectors are also going to benefit from the emerging technology. With 5G’s high speed and low latency, we’re just beginning to understand the true potential that autonomous vehicles can have. Imagine a world with all public transport being fully autonomous – saving money, the environment and improving road safety.
And another relatively new sector is the gaming and esports industry. The University of Warwick has been the UK’s esports University of the Year for two years running – and many of its graduates find employment with local gaming companies in Leamington’s Silicon Spa. We, here at BT, are partnered with esports brand, Excel Esports, who also benefit from our high-speed network to stream their content live across the globe. And with technology only improving, it’s an exciting space to watch.

Of course, these are just three examples. Every industry has the potential to harness the technology of tomorrow – and see just how much the world can change.

Don’t get left behind

21% of businesses in our survey stated that emerging technology will not be critical to businesses staying competitive in the next five years. That could be because the benefits of the new tech aren’t always fully understood. But there’s a disconnect. Everyone wants their business to be more efficient, flexible and future-secure, but don’t often realise that technology can help with this. And this technology is underpinned by a strong and stable network like ours. Without it, the emerging tech can’t thrive.

The case study with the University of Warwick has proven the power of emerging technologies. It’s ahead of the game in terms of its innovation and connectivity – all from adapting to the new digital age. And it’s relevant for businesses of all sizes. Technology changes the world every day. And you don’t want to be left behind. Get future ready, today.