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North East of UK trials deployment of 5G-powered AR in utilities sector

Northumbrian Water has collaborated with telecom service providers to trial 5G to improve the management of water and sewerage services across the North East of the UK.

The initiative entails examining the effect of 5G-enabled augmented reality (AR) on the remote management of complex tasks by utilizing real-time data to allocate tasks and instructions.

Using this technology would mean that multiple experts would be available at the same time which would inherently add value to the services at hand.

Ericsson and UK-based operator O2 plan to provide uninterrupted network access to Northumbrian Water at its plant in the Tyne and Wear region of the North East.

The three key areas which the pilot will focus on are: AR Mapping, a Home Water Maintenance app and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Management.

AR Mapping constitutes of using AR to provide a 3D representation of the buried assets for technicians to refer to. While GIS management will ensure quick access to field technician and engineers to enable them to upload data from Northumbrian Water’s central database. The app aims to grant consumers the ability to monitor the water supply of their homes in order to identify any unusual patterns.

COO of O2, Derek McManus, commented, “Northumbrian Water has been a fantastic advocate for the possibilities of 5G for UK business, and is a great example of how 5G can change the way we do things in the utilities sector and beyond.”

He added, “This is a significant milestone as we bring new capabilities to make real changes in people’s everyday lives. We firmly believe 5G will continue to bring major new technological capabilities that will support entirely new business models, sectors and more efficient ways of working.”

Head of Strategy and Enterprise Architecture at Northumbrian Water, Martin Jackson, said, “5G is set to completely transform the way we live and work, creating exciting new possibilities and improvements for our business, our customers and the environment. This is the first time a trial like this has ever been done by a water company and we’re incredibly proud to be leading the way in the utilities sector.”