The University of Surrey announced the opening of its 5G Innovation Center (5GIC) Tuesday.
According to a press release from the U.K. school, the Center will be home to 170 researchers and has attracted more than $108 million in investments already.
“5G is not only about delivering faster mobile internet,” said Center director Rahim Tafazolli. “It is a transformative set of technologies that will radically change our private and professional lives by enabling innovative applications and services, such as remote healthcare, wireless robots, driverless cars and connected homes and cities, removing boundaries between the real and cyber worlds.
“The true impact of 5G will come from the innovative applications the new network will enable, some of which are yet to be realized,” he continued. “The opening of the Center today marks an important step in allowing those from across the globe to work with us in developing the new network and for partners, other universities and industry to test out their new applications in a real world setting, before they are brought to market.”
Tafazolli said the focus of the Center’s work will be collaboration and idea sharing across the industry to develop a single working standard and achieve a commercialized network by 2020.
So far, the Center has developed partnerships with the U.K.’s big four mobile operators – Vodafone, EE, BT and OT – as well as device makers like Huawei and Samsung and other companies including the BBC, Telefonica, Enterprise M3, TEOCO Corporation, Applied Technologies, Ofcom, Imagination Technologies, ITRI, MYCOM OSI, Three and Ordnance Survey, Cobham, Anite, Ascom, Catapult Digital, Fujitsu, Rohde & Schwarz, Roke and McLaren Applied Technologies.
“As an industry we have seen significant change in market requirements over the past few years – and our customers now expect to have access to fast mobile connectivity at all times,” said Telefonica vice president of research and development Mike Short. “These changing behaviors, coupled with the rise of wearable technology and the Internet of Things, mean that video and data usage are increasing rapidly. As a result, the development of 5G is going to be absolutely crucial in helping to bring customers the new digital experiences they want in the future.”
The Center’s opening comes as companies across the globe race to become the first to roll out 5G services. Last week, prominent U.S. carrier Verizon announced it will begin 5G field trials in network “sandboxes” by next year and Finnish telecom company Nokia set its sights on a 2020 deadline for the commercial roll out of 5G in Europe. Other companies, such as Huawei, KT Telecom and NTT Docomo, have also announced hopeful 5G launch dates in 2018 (for both Huawei and KT) and 2020 for NTT Docomo.