Belgium’s federal government has awarded EUR20 million (USD21.4 million) in subsidies to 21 pilot 5G projects, eleven of which are led by Orange Belgium. Orange’s subsidised projects involve: mobile surgical collaboration; ‘Smart Field’ services for emergency aid, healthcare and public safety; Smart Field services for inland shipping (exploring VR remote control); remote-controlled container ships in inland navigation; ‘flexible production’ (remote audiovisual production flow via 5G); 5G call priority for home care staff/instant communication with live translated transcripts on video calls; Smart City/Safe City development; 5G for industrial drone surveillance; ‘5GENIBUS’ projects for autonomous/connected public transport; critical communication and security networking for the Belgian military; and ‘5G Automation Platform’ (using an emerging Ericsson platform). Among the other project leaders receiving 5G subsidies, B2B connectivity provider Citymesh, part of European IT services group Cegeka, has launched its ‘SENSE’ project involving a network of 70 safety drones to support Belgium’s emergency services, giving police and fire stations across the country a Drones-in-a-Box (DiaB) solution (two DiaB available in each of 35 emergency services zones); the system is designed to gather critical information via drones within 15 minutes of an emergency call.

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