Wednesday 13 January 2021 12:01 am

Nature calls: David Attenborough hologram to front £28m 5G trial

Sir David Attenborough is set to star in a holographic video showcasing the wonders of the natural world as part of a £28m government-funded 5G trial.

The beloved British broadcaster will feature in a new augmented reality app, to be released alongside upcoming BBC series The Green Planet.

Read more: MPs question government’s 2025 broadband target amid 5G concerns

The app, developed by a consortium of tech and creative firms including EE and London-based immersive content studio Factory 42, will allow users to stream high-definition video and view detailed graphics of exotic plants and animals.

It forms part of an upcoming trial aimed at exploring potential uses of 5G, especially as businesses look to harness technology in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Nine projects will share £28m of joint investment between the government and businesses.

The trial will see 5G harnessed at the O2 Arena, which will test a new system of instant, multi-angle replays via smartphones during events.

The MK Stadium, home to MK Dons Football Club, will trial driverless taxis, smart parking management and robots to help the site run more efficiently. 

Other beneficiaries of the project will be the Eden Project in Cornwall and ports at Felixstowe and Bristol.

“5G is about so much more than faster mobile internet speeds so we’re investing millions to help some of Britain’s brightest innovators explore the huge potential of the technology to improve and enrich our lives,” said digital minister Matt Warman.

“The projects we’ve selected will demonstrate how the blistering speeds of 5G can put some rocket fuel in our economy and help businesses bounce back from the pandemic.”

Read more: Today: UK to outline roadmap to removing Huawei equipment from its 5G networks

Business boost

5G was launched in the UK in 2019, and mobile operators have been rolling out the new high-speed network to more and more of the country ever since.

While the technology has benefits for consumers, it is expected to have even greater business benefits as more and more devices become connected in the so-called internet of things.

Further projects in the 5G trials include Leeds-based production company Candour TV, which will use the network to broadcast live content and transfer large video files from a variety of remote locations.

If successful, this could prove a significant advantage for the film production industry, as well as events companies and music festivals.

Tests of 5G-powered cranes, drones and sensors will also be carried out at sites in Scotland to explore how the technology could benefit the construction industry.

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