Northumbrian Water trials 5G-powered AR for assistance and mapping

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O2, Ericsson and Northumbrian Water are trialing 5G-based technologies, including augmented reality (AR), to upgrade the supply of 1.1 billion litres of water per day.

Quick read

➨ Northumbrian Water will use 5G-enabled AR technology to enable its technicians to remotely guide on-the-ground teams

➨ The rollout of O2’s 5G network, launched in October 2019, is providing faster speeds, lower latency and greater network coverage

➨ Northumbrian Water will also use 5G-powered AR to provide a 3D representation of buried assets for technicians

The story

Northumbrian Water will use 5G-enabled AR technology to enable its technicians to remotely guide on-the-ground teams through complex tasks by relaying real-time data and instructions. 

The technology allows multiple experts to join one call simultaneously, adding valuable second opinions as the Durham-based company manages the logistical challenge of maintaining water and sewerage services across Northeast England.

The rollout of O2’s 5G network, launched in October 2019, is providing faster speeds, lower latency and greater network coverage to places that need it most in the UK.

O2 and Ericsson will also create a private network installation for Northumbrian Water, which will guarantee uninterrupted network access and capacity for the business.

Another trial will focus on mapping. Northumbrian Water will use 5G-powered AR to provide a 3D representation of buried assets for technicians.

If successful the technology could be extended to cover the layout of over 47,210km of water mains, pipes and conduits and would help engineers manage risks and hazards in real-time.

Derek McManus, chief operating officer at O2, described Northumbrian Water as a “fantastic advocate for the possibilities of 5G for UK business”, and “a great example of how 5G can change the way we do things in the utilities sector and beyond”.

He continued: “We firmly believe 5G will continue to bring major new technological capabilities that will support entirely new business models, sectors, and more efficient ways of working.”

Martin Jackson, head of strategy and enterprise architecture at Northumbrian Water, said: “5G is set to completely transform the way we live and work, creating exciting new possibilities and improvements for our business, our customers and the environment. This is the first time a trial like this has ever been done by a water company and we’re incredibly proud to be leading the way in the utilities sector.”

Image credit: Erda Estremera / Unsplash

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