O2 and Ericsson powering 5G AR trials for Northumbrian Water

O2, Ericsson and Northumbrian Water are conducting a series of 5G trials to harness the power of 5G connectivity to revolutionise the way the company supplies 1.1bn litres of water a day to its customers.

Northumbrian Water requires a range of technical skills and competencies in order to manage the logistical challenge of maintaining water and sewerage services across the North East region. 5G-enabled augmented reality (AR) technology will allow experienced technicians to remotely guide on-the-ground teams through complex tasks by relaying real-time data and instructions, creating what the company is calling ‘Remote Experts’. The technology also allows multiple experts to join one call simultaneously. O2 and Ericsson will also create a Private Network Installation for Northumbrian Water, which will guarantee uninterrupted network access and capacity for the business.

The first set of trials will also focus on three other key areas. The first is AR Mapping, which will use 5G-powered AR to provide a 3D representation of buried assets for technicians. If successful, the technology could be extended to cover the layout of over 47,210km of water mains, pipes and conduits to help engineers manage risks and hazards in real-time.

The second is Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Management, which will enable field technicians and engineers to quickly access and upload crucial data from NWG’s central GIS database, without requiring a wi-fi or wired connection.

The third area is a Home Water Maintenance App, to enable consumers to monitor their home’s water supply and flow, identifying any unusual patterns to flag potential issues ahead of time.

The 5G infrastructure for the initial trials will be provided by O2’s 5G partner, Ericsson, who will install the Private Network solution for Northumbrian Water at its Washington Water Treatment Plant in Tyne and Wear.

“5G is set to completely transform the way we live and work, creating exciting new possibilities and improvements for our business, our customers and the environment,” said Martin Jackson, head of strategy & enterprise architecture at Northumbrian Water. “This is the first time a trial like this has ever been done by a water company and we’re incredibly proud to be leading the way in the utilities sector. We first explored the ways in which we could harness the power of 5G at our Innovation Festival and we’re delighted to be working with O2 and Ericsson to develop this project and deliver an even better experience to our customers.”