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Ayrshire’s 5G Vision Comes Alive

Exciting Engagement at the Innovation Region Event

PARTNERS underlined their commitment to making Ayrshire a ‘5G Innovation Region’ at an event this month.

The Scotland 5G Centre hosted the event at HALO in Kilmarnock, joined by The Ayrshire Councils, University of the West of Scotland, Ayrshire College and National Manufacturing Institute Scotland as they shared their digital vision for the region.

Following the event, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) – an official agreement – is set to be signed as the partners continue moving forward with their 5G Innovation Region proposals.

The partners held a first event with local businesses to raise awareness of the project, encourage participation and identify opportunities to unlock manufacturing excellence in Ayrshire. At the event, local businesses from manufacturing, food and drink and aerospace sectors heard from a number of speakers on the collaborative approach to the development and delivery of the project and the potential opportunities.

In November of last year, Ayrshire was one of two regions in Scotland to be successful in securing £3.7 million of funding from the UK Government’s Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) that will see regions transformed with new cutting-edge 5G and advanced wireless technologies.

DSIT are awarding over £36 million to regions across the UK, including Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The successful 5G Innovation Regions will lead on delivering the Government’s vision for communities across the UK to take full advantage of the transformative effect that advanced wireless connectivity and digital technologies can provide – part of our wider ambition to drive telecoms innovation.

And at the event on Wednesday, the journey officially began as the partners outlined their vision and aspirations in developing Ayrshire as a ‘5G Innovation Region’.

The team will use the funding to build on technologies at three of the key strategic Ayrshire Growth Deal sites with The Scotland 5G Centre (S5GC) Innovation hub located in HALO (Kilmarnock) serving as the catalyst for 5G innovation where testing can happen in a 5G private network environment.

The other three sites are:

• National Manufacturing Institute of Scotland (NMIS) Digital Processing Manufacturing Centre (DPMC) at i3 Enterprise Area in Irvine
• Aerospace Innovation Hub, Prestwick International Aerospace Park
• Ayrshire Innovation Park, Moorfield, Kilmarnock

The enhanced 5G and wireless coverage will make these key strategic sites even more productive and desirable to investment – helping provide significant economic benefits.

At the event, local businesses heard from a number of guest speakers – including Kirsty Scott, Senior Business Engagement Manager from The Scotland 5G Centre, North Ayrshire Council’s Head of Regeneration and Economic Development Louise Kirk, and Business Growth Manager Julia McMurdie, Ashleigh Jordan and Angus Verhagen, Innovation Managers from Vodafone and David Hernandez, Project Manager, DPMC – as they showcased how collaborations between councils, businesses, and technology providers like Vodafone are crucial for advancing 5G innovation.

Local businesses are invited to get in touch to signal interest and readiness to participate in the 5G Innovation Region Project in Ayrshire:

The Scotland 5G Centre will lead a Business Challenge Workshop in February to present the barriers, challenges and explore potential solutions with the help of these businesses’ insights.

Councillor Marie Burns, Leader of North Ayrshire Council and chair of the Ayrshire Economic Joint Committee, said: “When we launched our Ayrshire Regional Strategy last year, the digital economy was at the very forefront of our plans so becoming a ‘5G Innovation Region’ underlines our ambitions to make Ayrshire a centre of digital excellence.

“As one of the UK’s ten 5G Innovation Regions, our work has garnered recognition from the UK and Scottish governments, establishing us as a leader in 5G and advanced wireless technology.

“We are now moving forward with our plans and there are some exciting times ahead.

“We have been working collaboratively with partners for a number of years and we are determined to make Ayrshire a leader of 5G innovation in manufacturing.

“A huge thanks to all the businesses who attended and who share our excitement for the digital journey we are on

“This initiative will bring startups, industry, and academia together with sustainability and Net Zero at its core.”

University of the West of Scotland Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor James Miller said: “As a placemaking university with a firm commitment to our communities, the University of the West of Scotland is looking forward to continuing our role in aligning regional economic partnerships with innovation, resulting in big wins, economically and socially for Ayrshire”

The Scotland 5G Centre opened their Innovation Hub at HALO Kilmarnock in March 2022.

Ian Sharp, Head of Strategy and Delivery at The Scotland 5G Centre said: “It’s fantastic to see the work taking place in Ayrshire as the region seeks to maximise the benefits of 5G technology, after being awarded with the 5G Innovation region funding.

“There’s a huge amount of potential in this technology and it can benefit businesses of all types and sizes, from family-run food businesses all the way through to large scale manufacturing. We’re keen to speak to and support any businesses currently looking to explore the possibilities of 5G connectivity and would encourage them to get in touch with us with any questions they might have.”

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