TUS Athlone Campus aims to be Ireland’s Most Connected Campus

Technological University Shannon (TUS), Athlone Campus, is set to become the nation’s most connected campus thanks to a new partnership with Three Ireland which will see it used as a testbed for 5G Standalone (5G SA).

TUS Athlone Ireland’s Most Connected Campus?

The initiative marks a crucial milestone in Ireland’s journey towards embracing 5G SA connectivity, transforming communication and accelerating the use of big data, the internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI).

TUS Athlone researchers are now poised to explore use cases for 5G SA, leveraging its next generation capabilities, such as its improved speed, ultra-low latency and increased connectivity.

“5G Standalone is an immensely powerful technology in search of problems to solve; we have barely scratched the surface on use cases for its capabilities,” Dr Enda Fallon, Head of the Department of Computer and Software Engineering at TUS Athlone, explains.

“We’re going to be looking at user scenarios – how can 5G SA be used in people’s everyday lives, using the campus as a testbed for this technology, and from that design and evaluate solutions to problems that have yet to be conceptualised.”

Initial ideas for how the technology might be applied across campus include the creation of immersive collaboration spaces for students, staff and researchers, 5G-enabled polymer labs and sports facilities, connected health sciences, and even remote real-time music collaborations with sound engineering students.

The use of 5G-enabled drones for real-time performance feedback in high-performance sports and enhancing runner safety through object detection and risk analysis, as well as remote surgery through robotics and automation are just some of the use cases under consideration.

According to TUS President Professor Vincent Cunnane, TUS’s unparalleled technical expertise in the field of software engineering set it apart and make it the ideal partner for the pioneering trial:

“TUS is a leader in the field, bringing a deep knowledge base and a proven track record of excellence. Our focus on near-to-market research and knowledge transfer ensures that our endeavours have immediate benefits for both industry and our students,” Professor Cunnane says.

“This expertise and commitment make us the ideal partner for pioneering the trial of 5G Standalone technology and exploring its exciting possibilities. Through our engagement in applied projects like these, we not only shape the future of technology but also enrich the learning experiences of our students.”

Karl McDermot, Head of Connected Solutions at Three Ireland, comments, “5G Standalone is the next evolution in 5G technology, as we move fully away from a reliance on 4G and into 5G core technology. We are delighted to partner with TUS, working alongside them to advance these use cases and explore the possibilities for powering advanced technologies, supporting greater connectivity for all kinds of devices and user experiences.”

Rob Stack, Key Account Manager, Ericsson Ireland, says, “As a global leader in 5G and with a world-class R&D development centre in Athlone we are excited to be collaborating with TUS and Three Ireland to drive forward innovation in the midlands region. 5G standalone technology offers a seamless and secure connectivity foundation to help unlock advanced applications and services that can power digital transformation, enhance productivity, streamline efficiencies and deliver benefits for a wide variety of different organisations.”

The Three Ireland 5G SA trial, powered by Ericsson and tested using the Samsung flagship device – the Galaxy S23 Ultra, will include 5G SA being deployed across the entire campus with additional 5G hardware for indoor coverage being installed in TUS Athlone’s Engineering Building and Applied Polymer Technology Lab in 2024, with hopes of extending the technology outwards across the campus thereafter.

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