Four-year $4.8 million partnership will focus on new 5G research projects in areas like wildfire management that will help the province respond to new environmental challenges.

Rogers and The University of British Columbia (UBC) today announced a new partnership model for 5G research and development projects that will challenge researchers at UBC’s Vancouver and Okanagan campuses and Rogers to develop, explore and test new made-in-Canada 5G capabilities in areas such as wildfire management, human teleoperations and emergency response that will help save lives and support the province. Rogers and UBC will partner with Mitacs, enabling additional funding as well as internships to expand the reach of 5G research projects.

“5G is a critical part of Canada’s future and the ecosystem around leveraging its full potential is as important as building out the network behind it,” said Joe Natale, President and CEO, Rogers Communications. “Rogers is committed to fostering 5G innovation in Canada to help grow our economy, create new businesses, and help our local communities thrive. We started on this journey with UBC three years ago and are proud to have that continue today; bringing the collective strength of Rogers together with the research and academic expertise of UBC creates a formidable combination of talent and resources that raises the bar of 5G potential in Canada.”

“Our continued partnership allows us to pursue research discoveries and develop new applications of 5G to address societal and economic challenges,” said Professor Santa Ono, UBC President and Vice-Chancellor. “Together, we are investigating how 5G technology can help to shape and rebuild our world in ways that can have far-reaching positive impacts at UBC and beyond. I am looking forward to seeing what we’ll accomplish together.”

Among the projects initially selected for the new UBC partnership framework are:

  • Wildfire Prevention and Smart Forests: building community and ecological fire resilience using real-time monitoring of forest conditions through 5G and next-generation fuels
  • Human Teleoperation over 5G: a tele-ultrasound system integrating mixed reality (MR), haptics, control theory and 5G to expand telemedicine to reach patients in remote and rural communities
  • Timely and Extended Monitoring in Emergencies and Disasters: a clinically relevant, cost-effective and scalable medical platform that will use 5G slicing and low latency to address large-scale emergency situations

“The 2021 wildfire season in B.C. was the third worst on record in terms of area burned,” said Dr. Mathieu Bourbonnais, an assistant professor in the Department of Earth, Environmental and Geographic Sciences at UBC’s Okanagan campus. “We look forward to working with Rogers in the Okanagan to develop and test the application of real-time monitoring of forest and fuel conditions to predict fire risk. This will assist in fire and landscape management, fire ecology, and climate sciences and we will develop and test the application leveraging existing collaborations in the Okanagan.”