Autonomous vehicles, survey drones, smart surveillance, AI, and XR action are promised as part of the Port of Tyne’s new 4G and 5G private network.

The infrastructure, built on an Ericsson private 5G kit and BT spectrum, is the UK’s first site-wide deployment of 4G and 5G standalone connectivity for smart port applications, claims the release.

The first set of live use cases will spin up in November, which include video and sensors installed at gates for  automatic number plate recognition, and 5G-enabled cameras combined with AI-driven software to allow for automated container inspection and identification.

Some future applications the port plans to roll out include autonomous navigation technology so vehicles can move cargo and equipment around, remote crane operations that will enable operators to work from simulated cabs, a fleet of connected inspection drones, XR devices for immersive training and remote maintenance engineers, and a load of AI sensors to generate business intelligence and improve operational efficiency.

“I believe that 5G is going to play a crucial role in helping Port of Tyne achieve our goals,” said Matthew Beeton, Chief Executive Officer, Port of Tyne. “We can streamline our operations, improve safety and sustainability, and drive growth and innovation throughout the entire maritime industry and beyond. With seamless connectivity, we can link shipping companies, logistics providers, and regulatory bodies from around the world, enabling us to work together more effectively to address global challenges like climate change and cybersecurity threats.”

Ashish Gupta, MD, Corporate and Public Sector at BT added: “What makes 5G so exciting is it allows innovative use cases which help businesses do things quicker, safer, smarter, better. At Port of Tyne, it’s about taking people out of harm’s way, where autonomous machines could instead be used in dangerous environments, and laying the digital foundations to introduce new technologies and improve efficiency at the port.”

With lots of complicated tasks taking place simultaneously across a wide area, smart ports seem to provide one of the better use cases for 5G private networks. Last week at Network X, Mari-Noëlle Jégo-Laveissière, Deputy CEO of Orange Group highlighted a recent deal the operator had struck with the port of Barcelona to provide an array of connectivity set ups including ship control, push to talk, real time video analytics, and connectivity for ship passengers, while discussing the potential of 5G B2B installations.

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