BAM Nuttall, in partnership with AttoCore and Building Research Establishment (BRE), has switched on and is using a private, stand-alone 5G network on a construction site – for the first time in the UK.
Located on a remote site in Shetland, BAM Nuttall’s project team is designing and constructing the civils infrastructure at Kergord for SSEN Transmission’s HVDC convertor station and substation, part of the Shetland HVDC link.
When completed, this major link between Shetland and the Scottish mainland will feed renewable energy to the electricity grid and connect Shetland to the UK grid for the first time.
The 5G network, funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), aims to test the potential of new digital technology and demonstrate tangible benefits, along with other stand-alone networks implemented across a range of industries.
BAM’s team is deploying numerous 5G supported solutions, including digital live cameras and drones; mixed-reality and virtual visualisation; artificial intelligence and Internet of Things sensors to monitor construction processes and measure progress.
Colin Evison, Head of Innovation at BAM Nuttall said: “5G is unlocking increased use of digital tools and models as we explore safer, more modern and efficient ways to work in construction.
“We’re excited for the next steps as we trial new solutions which, without the 5G network, wouldn’t be possible. We’re looking forward to seeing the results and ultimately sharing the benefits across wider industry.
“We’re proud to be working in collaboration with SSEN Transmission and thank them for supporting this trial as we help deliver the decarbonisation of Scotland – helping to achieve net-zero carbon, and increase diversity, by modernising construction.’
Minister for Media, Data and Digital Infrastructure Julia Lopez said: “5G can revolutionise the way Britain builds, which is why we’re investing £200 million in cutting-edge innovation projects to ensure we unleash its ability to drive growth across the construction industry.
“With 5G now switched on at this exciting project in Shetland, it will unlock a huge range of transformative tech from cameras and drones that enable builders to work more flexibly, to mixed-reality glasses so they can see 3D building designs live on site.’
The consortium is a partner of the 5pring accelerator programme and will work with start-ups to trial and improve manufacturing technology, adapting it for future use in the construction sector.
Image credit: Shutterstock/chalermphon_tiam
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