Colombian delegation visits 5G RuralDorset to discover how digital connectivity can transform rural economies

An international delegation from Colombia visited Dorset recently to learn how digital connectivity can revolutionise rural economies.

The South American dignitaries were invited to meet Dorset Council and learn from the success of the ground-breaking £9m 5G RuralDorset project.

The visit was organised by one of the 5G RuralDorset’s private sector partners, Satellite Applications Catapult, which is currently leading a Rural Connected Colombia project to improve connectivity in the country.

Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for Corporate Development and Transformation, Cllr Jill Haynes, said: “It was an absolute honour to welcome the delegates from Colombia and share with them the results of our award-winning and internationally ground-breaking 5G RuralDorset project.

“Digital innovation is a cornerstone of our mission statement, and we will continue to pioneer new technologies for longer term economic development.

“The success of the 5G RuralDorset project has shown Dorset can be both a national and international leader in digital innovation and its successes can be replicated not only here but across the world.”

The delgation from Columbia meeting Cllr. Jill Haynes

During the visit, the Colombian delegation toured the Battlelab at the Dorset Innovation Park in Winfrith – the home of 5G RuralDorset’s innovation accelerator and outdoor and indoor 5G networks.

The Dorset Council-owned Battlelab enables the MOD to work with up-and-coming innovators to test and develop new equipment and ideas for the armed forces.

While at the Battlelab, the delegation heard from Wessex Internet’s Hector Gibson-Fleming about how 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) can transform farming productivity while protecting the environment.

The party then visited Lulworth Cove to discover how the world’s first standalone 5G network at sea, backed up by Catapult’s satellites, made this tourist hotspot a safer place to visit.

Their visit finished at Kingston Maurward College in Dorchester to see in practice how sensors and cameras connected by 5G help farmers to monitor individual cows among a large herd more easily.

As part of the 5G RuralDorset project, Wessex Internet installed IoT devices and 5G networks, that could feed back via video body condition scoring and lameness detection of each cow.

A visit to the milking parlour at Kingston Maurward College to learn about the Future of Food project

The Satellite Applications Catapult’s Head of Communication & Systems Engineering, Ashweeni Beeharee, said: “We were delighted to bring our Colombian delegation to Dorset – home to the award winning 5G RuralDorset project.

“The visit showed the delegation the work we have done with Dorset Council to bring satellite enabled 5G connectivity to rural communities.

“We were incredibly proud to showcase the project’s achievements, which we plan to replicate in the rural Uraba region in Antioquia.”

The two-year 5G RuralDorset project received £4.8 million government funding, which was matched by a wide range of private sector partners.

It tested how 5G technology can improve the lives of people working in rural and environmentally sensitive areas by focusing on five areas of research.