Canadian operator Rogers and the University of British Columbia (UBC) announced a new partnership for 5G research.

Under the extended partnership, researchers at UBC’s Vancouver and Okanagan campuses and Rogers will seek to develop, explore and test new 5G capabilities in areas such as wildfire management, human teleoperations and emergency response that will help save lives and support the province.

Under the new agreement, Rogers and UBC will partner with Mitacs, enabling additional funding as well as internships to expand the reach of 5G research projects.

“Our continued partnership allows us to pursue research discoveries and develop new applications of 5G to address societal and economic challenges,” said Professor Santa Ono, UBC president and vice-chancellor. “Together, we are investigating how 5G technology can help to shape and rebuild our world in ways that can have far-reaching positive impacts at UBC and beyond.”

“5G is a critical part of Canada’s future and the ecosystem around leveraging its full potential is as important as building out the network behind it,” said Joe Natale, president and CEO of Rogers Communications. “Rogers is committed to fostering 5G innovation in Canada to help grow our economy, create new businesses, and help our local communities thrive. We started on this journey with UBC three years ago and are proud to have that continue today.”

Among the projects initially selected for the new UBC partnership framework are:

-Wildfire Prevention and Smart Forests: building community and ecological fire resilience using real-time monitoring of forest conditions through 5G and next-generation fuels

-Human Teleoperation over 5G: a tele-ultrasound system integrating mixed reality (MR), haptics, control theory and 5G to expand telemedicine to reach patients in remote and rural communities

-Timely and Extended Monitoring in Emergencies and Disasters: a cost-effective and scalable medical platform that will use 5G slicing and low latency to address large-scale emergency situations

“The 2021 wildfire season in British Columbia was the third worst on record in terms of area burned,” said Mathieu Bourbonnais, an assistant professor in the Department of Earth, Environmental and Geographic Sciences at UBC’s Okanagan campus. “We look forward to working with Rogers in the Okanagan to develop and test the application of real-time monitoring of forest and fuel conditions to predict fire risk. This will assist in fire and landscape management, fire ecology, and climate sciences and we will develop and test the application leveraging existing collaborations in the Okanagan.”

This partnership is one part of Rogers more than $25 million national investments in R&D and strategic partnerships at leading Canadian institutions, including Communitech, Ryerson University, UBC, University of Calgary and University of Waterloo, to incubate and commercialize 5G use cases and applications.

In October, Rogers Communications had announced the launch of its Standalone 5G core network. Rogers said that it has completed nationwide deployment of its Standalone 5G network and will be activating Standalone service in major markets over the coming weeks and months.

In 2020, Rogers Communications initially launched Non-Standalone (NSA) 5G technology in Ottawa and Montreal.

Rogers is using 2.5 GHz, AWS and 600 MHz spectrum to provide 5G coverage throughout the country. Rogers announced last April that its 5G network reached 173 towns and cities in Canada.

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