O2 and Northumbrian Water uses 5G and Augmented Reality

21 January 2020

O2 5G

O2 has pushed forward with its plans to use the power of 5G in interesting ways, by collaborating with Northumbrian Water. It's all in a bid to demonstrate that 5G isn't just about faster speeds, it can actually improve productivity across businesses that you might not normally consider.

Working alongside Ericsson, O2 is building a Private Network Installation to power the trials with Northumbrian Water, with a series of key areas being tackled initially.

One area is through Augmented Reality technology whereby experienced engineers will be able to help less knowledgeable colleagues remotely, via augmented reality glasses that will relay live information and data via real-time. It's the kind of technology that's crucial in remote areas of the country such as certain parts of Northumbria, given the perils of bad weather slowing down repair work.

Similarly, Augmented Reality will also be used to map buried assets so that it's much easier for engineers to detect and manage risks and hazards in real time rather than relying on traditional means to keep track of what's going on across the over 47,000km of water mains, pipes and conduits within Northumbria.

Besides Augmented Reality based uses for 5G, Northumbrian Water in conjunction with O2 will also be managing its Geographic Information Systems (GIS) database through 5G. That saves the need for Wi-Fi which should substantially help engineers on the move.

For the consumer, there will also be trials of a water maintenance app so that they can monitor their water supply in real time, and spot if there are any issues before they develop further. Presumably, if they live remotely, it could be conducted in conjunction with the aforementioned work with Augmented Reality.

Besides improving reliability and capacity for many using Northumbrian Water, all these measures seem like the perfect way to be more considerate with one's water usage. At a time when everyone is encouraged to be more conscious of our impact on the world, it looks like 5G technology could go some way to improving sustainability measures.

Tech/games journalist with 10 years of experience.

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