Rogers Communications, with the University of British Columbia (UBC), today announced it turned on the country’s first 5G-powered smart campus as part of their strategic partnership to advance 5G research in Canada.

The smart campus, which includes 5G towers throughout UBC’s Point Grey campus and an edge computing enabled data centre, is being used by university researchers to test 5G applications in a real-world setting.

“With 5G at our doorstep, we’re focused on bringing together Canada’s brightest minds to research, incubate and commercialize applications that will transform the way we live and work,” said Jorge Fernandes, Chief Technology Officer, Rogers Communications. “Our work with UBC is helping design and test Canada’s 5G blueprint and today’s announcement is a critical milestone as we prepare our national network for commercial deployment in 2020.”

Last year Rogers announced a multi-million dollar partnership with UBC to fund academic research in 5G applications and applied sciences that will benefit our country’s unique needs.

Today, the company announced new research projects that are underway using the 5G network on campus, including:

  • Earthquake and tsunami detection technology that leverages the low latency of 5G sensors and machine learning to provide an early warning of an earthquake so people can take preventative steps to stay safe.
  • Digital mining technology that makes the operations of mines safer and improves sustainability through autonomous trucks and predictive truck maintenance.
  • 5G Mobility as a Service (MaaS), a next generation mobile platform that brings together transit, bike rental, car sharing, car rental and other modes of transportations so consumers can easily get the best on-demand transportation options.

“Our government is committed to further strengthening B.C.’s tech and innovation sector and supporting the training needs of tomorrow’s workforce,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, Government of British Columbia. “5G brings enormous opportunity for our province and the students who experience this hands-on training. We are excited to see what applications they develop during their time at UBC.”

“Collaboration between universities and industry is critical to fully leverage the opportunities offered by 5G. Our partnership with Rogers builds on the strength of UBC’s campus as a living lab – providing students with opportunities to build the skills for tomorrow and supporting faculty research on 5G-based solutions to significant local and global challenges.”

Gail Murphy, Vice-President, Research and Innovation

In October, UBC students were among the first Canadians to work with a live 5G network at a hackathon hosted by Rogers. Students spent two days using the Rogers 5G smart campus network to collaborate on how 5G will advance augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and gaming applications. During the event, students also used edge computing infrastructure provided by MobiledgeX to write code and test their application developments in real-time. Edge computing can transform how consumers and machines interact with digital services, supporting faster response times by bringing computing power, content, and servers closer to IoT and consumer devices.

These announcements are part of Rogers multi-year commitment to bring 5G to Canadians through network investments and strategic partnerships to research, incubate and commercialize made-in-Canada 5G technology. Earlier this year, Rogers announced a partnership for the Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst with Ryerson University, and Communitech, focused on accelerating and launching 5G applications. Also, Rogers recently secured new 5G spectrum in every province and territory to build a national 5G network for Canadians. To build that network, the company has partnered with Ericsson, the North American 5G partner of choice, to boost and densify its fibre-powered network with 5G-ready technology. As it prepares for commercial deployment of 5G in 2020, Rogers continues to test 5G in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver, and upgrade its national 4.5G network with the latest 5G-ready technology.