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BT Demonstrates Potential of 5G and Smart Tech to Rejuvenate City

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BT demonstrated the latest 5G technology applications in Cardiff to illustrate the important role connected technology will play in boosting town and city centres.

In a demonstration at Cardiff Arms Park Stadium, Cardiff rugby players – alongside a number of politicians, policy-makers, and businesses – got to try the latest 5G and augmented reality technology.

Using EE’s 5G network in Cardiff, attendees were shown a new smart city visitor application being developed which uses superfast 5G to give visitors, residents, and workers 3D information on specific locations by pointing their phone at marked points.

Using technology developed by the gaming industry – and popular apps like Pokémon Go – the technology has the potential to help attract people back to town and city centres. The technology generates 3D location-based experiences such as tourist information, directions to local services and transport information.

Nick Speed, BT Group’s director in Wales, said:

“It’s great to be able to showcase this latest technology in Cardiff, highlighting what the likes 5G could do to help boost cities and towns.

“Although 5G and technologies like augmented reality are still in development, we are working with a range of partners to experiment and develop smart solutions that could really help people and communities. If you think of Cardiff on a busy matchday, or someone visiting or commuting into the city, this technology is about giving people rich information to their devices about where they could visit, some local history and how to find the nearest bus, taxi or somewhere to eat.

“What was clear from showcasing the technology to a wide group in Cardiff was excitement around how it could be used to support economic recovery – giving a boost to areas that now find they have a lot of empty units or tempting people back to attractions that might be slightly off the beaten track.”

Huw Thomas, Leader of Cardiff Council, said:

“We think smart technology offers real opportunities for our city, for areas like energy use, transport, health and wellbeing.

“The council is already using smart technology, but we're interested to hear about the latest developments in areas like 5G and augmented and virtual reality. Used properly, it could help us find innovative solutions to support our communities and citizens.”

Over the coming years, BT is preparing for huge growth in demand for bandwidth-hungry applications such as high definition 4K content streaming, augmented and virtual reality, and high-quality video conferencing. Demand on BT’s mobile networks is growing by 40 per cent every year.

Cardiff was one of the first cities in the UK to get 5G when the new network was launched by EE in 2019. EE now has more than 55 per cent 5G coverage in the city. EE's 5G coverage is now available in more than 160 towns and cities across the UK and growing.

BT Group announced recently plans to offer 5G in all parts of the UK by 2028, with millions of customers set to benefit from the quicker network. The network will cover 4,500 square miles of rural areas with the super-fast mobile service, filling in any gaps in the 5G network with solutions such as drone or satellite technology.