City ground zero for first ever concert in 5G technology


The City’s oldest entertainment venue played host to some of the world’s newest technology last Friday, as the Corporation teamed up with King’s College London to test the capability of the most advanced 5G mobile technology with a live-streamed concert.

Musicians from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama took up their instruments in the 2,000-year-old Roman Amphitheatre beneath the City Centre for a Friday evening performance, but they were not playing alone.

Pianist professor Mischa Dohler and the Peter Wiegold Ensemble accompanied the musicians in the amphitheatre from Berlin’s historic Brandenburg Gate Museum, playing live and streamed using 5G.

Professor Dohler, who is professor of wireless technology and head of the centre of telecommunications research at King’s College London said they were “immensely proud” to have achieved the world’s first 5G application in the arts and cultural space.

“It is the product of years’ long engagement with important stakeholders in technology and the arts, and testimony to King’s incredible research and innovation capabilities,” he said.

“To be the first in the world to showcase live a technology which will fundamentally change our society for the better, is very humbling. We are delighted that King’s and our ecosystem has become a global go-to-place for industries regarding 5G innovation, design and delivery.”

5G technology promises mobile data speeds that far outstrip the fastest home broadband network currently available in the UK. With speeds of up to 100 gigabits per second, 5G will be as much as 1,000 times faster than 4G, the latest iteration of mobile data technology.

Catherine McGuinness, City Corporation policy chairman, said that harnessing the latest technology will help keep London on top in a post-Brexit world.

“It is great to see two world-class cities, both leaders in innovation, find new ways to see their historic sites thrive in the 21st century,” she said.

“This is the first live connected 5G concert to cross geographical boundaries in the world, and is a key example of how collaboration, not competition, will cement the UK’s position as the world’s leading global financial hub post-Brexit.

“As such, it is vital that the momentous progress the City has made in digital services in the last 12 months continues. We have launched the fastest free street Wi-Fi in Europe, delivered new Fibre-to-the-Premises ultra-fast broadband in the City, and now this test-bed gives an indication of how 5G might one day be applied in various industry sectors.” In addition to the performance, King’s College and telecommunications partner Ericsson will also demonstrate 5G capabilities in The City Centre.

Users will be able to navigate around London using the ‘VU.CITY’ application, a fully accurate 3D interactive digital model of the City which has been enhanced with real-time figures collected from cryptocurrency data, live tweets and intelligent camera systems by Vivacity Labs.

It is forecast that the implementation of 5G will bring new opportunities for people, businesses and society, providing not just higher bandwidth, but also greater capacity, security and more productivity.

Marielle Lindgren, head of UK and Ireland, Ericsson, predicted that 5G will play a “fundamental role” in enhancing what is possible for firms of all sizes.

“We believe that working in collaboration with governments, industries, operators and academia will be key to the success of 5G and we’re proud to work with King’s College and the City Corporation to showcase the kind of innovation that 5G can enable in areas such as the performing arts.”