Worcestershire 5G Consortium wins significant commercial viability award for 5G

QinetiQ Fellow Mark Hawkins, who is the company’s technical lead for 5G, and the QinetiQ 5G team, have helped the Worcestershire 5G Consortium win ‘Most Commercially Viable Use’ award at the inaugural 5G Realised ‘Use Case Awards’: marking a significant step forward for helping industry unlock the productivity gains of 5G.

5G team win

Here, Mark sets out the importance of this milestone for 5G.

QinetiQ is a key player in the Worcestershire 5G Consortium and, working closely with our advanced manufacturing partners, Bosch and Mazak, we have been using the Worcestershire 5G Testbed as a platform on which to demonstrate the potential productivity gains for industry.

To realise these productivity benefits organisations will need to migrate their business critical data and operations from the corporate network to the mobile network. This introduces risk: if there is a problem with the mobile network it is inconvenient if you cannot make a phone call, it is extremely costly if your factory cannot operate, and extremely dangerous if your autonomous car gets hacked. Therefore the security focus has shifted to the mobile network, where previously this was not a primary consideration.

Security is all about balancing the risk against the benefits provided, and doing this from an end-to-end perspective. Moreover it is about considering this upfront and in the context of the risk appetite of the enterprise or industry user. With this in mind QinetiQ has brought a Security By Design approach to the Worcestershire 5G Testbed.  This has been about considering security during design decisions in a balanced way, which allows the benefits to be realised. This is in contrast to the traditional approach, when security is usually considered as a bolt-on at the end, or even worse only when something goes wrong.

The higher security requirement from enterprise and industry, compared to consumers means there is a need for them to be assured of the level of security provided, both by the 5G network itself, but more importantly by the applications and services running over the top of it. These are exactly the services which QinetiQ has been developing as part of the Worcestershire 5G project.

Being involved in the Worcestershire 5G Consortium has given us two real advantages in developing our 5G security services: a world-class 5G network right here on our site in Great Malvern, and a great team of world-class companies with which to work. With Bosch and Mazak in the Consortium we have not only developed testing approaches based on their requirements, but have actually been trying them out on the industrial Internet of Things (IoT) use cases they are developing. With the Worcestershire 5G Testbed network we have been assessing the potential trade-off between performance and security, and how this may impact the business performance requirements for the specific use cases.

Chris Walker, QinetiQ’s Engineering Director Cyber Information and Training has summarised the significance of the award win for QinetiQ and for 5G:

“It was great to see the Worcestershire 5G Project team win the Most Commercially Viable Use Case award at the inaugural 5G Realised “Use Case Awards”. QinetiQ played a key role in the Worcestershire 5G team, providing security and assurance for the testbed. A particular highlight for us was proving our 5G IoT test and assurance service with Worcester Bosch enabling them to realise productivity gains using IoT sensors within their factory.”

“The award is a recognition that the Worcestershire 5G testbed will make very real and tangible productivity gains and that 5G has a significant part to play in the broader manufacturing ecosystem. This has been further confirmed with the extension of the Worcestershire 5G Testbed and trials for a further two months to enable us and our consortium partners to work with our customer, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on how we take learnings forward for industry in the future.”

To find out more and discuss how we could enable your organisation to achieve the commercial advantages of a secure 5G solution, contact our 5G Business Development team.