Newswise — A pioneering centre is being launched to take mobile technology to the next level and put the UK at the global forefront of 6G research, innovation, and education.

The new virtual hub, called 6G Futures, unites more than 400 world-renowned experts in telecommunications networks, cyber, Artificial Intelligence, digital humanities, social sciences and arts from the University of Bristol and King’s College London in a unique partnership which will help shape the future of mobile technology for individuals and society.

Although some concepts associated with 6G, including holographic communications, immersive life and the creation of digital twins, may sound futuristic, others such as autonomous driving are already well-recognised. Through further development of human-centric 6G networks, the applications of such advances have the potential to further transform how health, arts, transport, and many more systems currently operate.

Professor Dimitra Simeonidou, Director of the University of Bristol’s Smart Internet Lab and Co-Director of Bristol Digital Futures Institute, said: “The public is only beginning to see first-hand the enormous potential of 5G networks, an area which we have been working on for many years. Through this new centre, we will now focus on the next generation mobile networks – 6G and beyond – and the truly awe-inspiring capabilities these will bring. 6G will be inherently human-centric, and will establish a cyber-physical continuum by delivering real time sensory information, supporting haptics and holograms. This takes us far beyond future-forecasting: crucially, this is about having the specialist knowledge and expertise to transform visions into deliverable solutions, accelerate innovation, and make a positive difference to society worldwide.”

Professor Mischa Dohler, Professor in Wireless Communications at King’s, said: “As adoption of 5G accelerates around the world, it’s important the UK is prepared for 6G as the next generation mobile technology. The creation of this centre is a notable moment for the UK technology sector. We will be developing novel architectures, incorporating federated exchange and self-synthesising mechanisms, advance the internet of skills, and embed blockchain, quantum and federated AI technologies. But it’s not just pure tech - we’ll be working on co-creation with verticals toward some truly exciting and societally impacting use-cases, while contributing to policy, alliances and global standards.”

Both institutions played a pivotal role in bringing 5G to the mainstream. While they both excel in Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, King’s specialises in mobile networks and the University of Bristol has particular expertise in wired/wireless technology and network layers. By combining their preeminent skills, the centre is ideally placed to consolidate and strengthen the UK’s world-class track record in telecoms and networks over the next five years and beyond.

The anticipated capabilities of 6G are mind-boggling. With projected download speeds 10 times faster than 5G, 6G will also harness the ability of trillions of connected machines to transfer sensory information as part of the communications experience, creating a whole new cyber-physical continuum. Furthermore, 6G will comprise networks which design, organise, and sustain themselves, offering previously unchartered levels of efficiency.  

Professor Phil Taylor, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at the University of Bristol, said: “This multi-disciplinary centre will fill a real national leadership gap on 6G here in the UK. Not only will be the focus be on technology but also on the development of solutions that could transform sectors spanning health, energy and transport. It will provide an opportunity for industry and international collaborators to come together with the best and brightest minds, here in the world-renowned tech clusters of London and Bristol.”

Professor Reza Razavi, Vice President & Vice Principal (Research) at King’s, said: “If the UK is going to play a major role in realising the potential of 6G, we need a national centre that brings together the very best minds in communications technologies, cyber, AI, digital humanities, the arts and social science. The formation of this centre is a very exciting moment in the trajectory of 6G evolution.”

Further information

The Smart Internet Lab at the University of Bristol is a £100M Information and Communications Technology (ICT) research centre which addresses grand societal and industrial challenges. With 200 experts on 5G radio/wireless, optical communications and networks it challenges the complexity of tomorrow's world by fusing research expertise and innovation in a range of research areas such as: IoT, 5G & Beyond, Future Transport Networks, Smart Cities, Autonomous Networks, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Network Convergence, Mobile Edge Computing and Network Softwarization. Its unique offering across optical, wireless, IoT and cloud technologies enable its experts to bring together end-to-end network design and optimisation and impact regional, national and global ICT innovations.

The Centre for Telecommunication Research (CTR) at King's College London was founded in 1994, and has been part of the global ecosystem which design and deployed 2G, then 3G-5G, and now 6G. The Centre has become an exciting hub of cutting-edge research and ground-breaking innovation, counting on more than 200 people today. Underpinned by >£100m in public and private funding, it is advancing wireless communication and multimedia technologies. Its researchers work on various applications domains including the automotive, healthcare, emergency services, and creative industries. Currently research is centred around: wireless communication and networking; information and data processing; RF devices; multimedia and immersive technologies; quantum, AI and blockchain technologies.

Academic Leadership:

Professor Dimitra Simeonidou (University of Bristol), FREng, FIEEE, Wolfson Royal Society Scholar, Professor of High Performance Networks, Wolfson Royal Society Scholar, Director of the Smart Internet Lab, co-Director of the Bristol Digital Futures Institute. She has raised >£45M research funding as PI, coordinated numerous UKRI, EU, DCMS and Industrial projects. She has published extensively, >600 publications, numerous patents and contributions to standards [HI: 46]). Dimitra has been Chief Scientist in Alcatel and co-founded 2 technology start-ups. She was the Technical Architect and the CTO of the award-winning smart city project Bristol-Is-Open. She is currently leading the Bristol city/region 5G urban pilots. She is member of numerous Industrial, Governmental and International Boards and committees including EPSRC ICT SAT, UK5G Advisory Board, DCMS Task Force on Telecom Vendor Diversification, DCMS TSCD Advisory Council.   

Professor Mischa Dohler (King's College London), FIEEE, FREng, FRSA, FIET; Professor in Wireless Communications and Distinguished Member of Harvard Square Leaders Excellence, driving cross-disciplinary research and innovation in technology, sciences and arts. He is a serial entrepreneur with 5 successful companies; composer & pianist with 5 albums on Spotify/iTunes; and fluent in 6 languages. He sits on the Spectrum Advisory Board of Ofcom, and acts as policy advisor on issues related to digital, skills and education. He has had ample coverage by national and international press and media; and is featured on Amazon Prime. He is a frequent plenary keynote, panel and tutorial speaker, and has received numerous awards. He has pioneered several research fields, contributed to numerous wireless broadband, IoT, blockchain and cyber security standards, holds a dozen patents, organised and chaired numerous conferences, and was the Editor-in-Chief of two journals. He has more than 300 highly-cited publications at H-factor of 70, and authored several books.


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