Virtual hub for 6G development launched

A new virtual centre is being launched to help research and develop 6G, the next generation standard for wireless communications.

The hub, called 6G Futures, involves 400 experts in telecommunications networks, cyber, artificial intelligence, digital humanities, social sciences, and arts from the University of Bristol and King’s College London.

Both institutions played a key role in bringing 5G to the mainstream.

King’s specialises in mobile networks and the University of Bristol has particular expertise in wired/wireless technology and network layers.

The universities said that while some concepts associated with 6G, like holographic communications, immersive life and the creation of digital twins, may sound futuristic, others such as autonomous driving are already well-recognised.

They added that through further development of human-centric 6G networks, the applications of such technologies have the potential to further transform how health, arts, transport, and many more systems currently operate.

“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,” said professor Dimitra Simeonidou, director of the University of Bristol’s smart internet lab and co-director of Bristol Digital Futures Institute.
“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.”

Simeonidou added: “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: “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.”

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