A number of 5G first are happening in the UK, including Europe’s first dedicated 5G health and social care pilot, which has been running through Liverpool 5G Health and Social Care, and has just received an extra £1.48 million in funding to see it through another 12 months.
The funding is in recognition of the “great work” being done there, and £0.94 million of the funding comes from the government, while the other £0.54 million comes from consortium partners.
So what is all that funding getting us? A number of things. With that money and 5G tech, Liverpool 5G Health and Social Care has trialled the likes of:
- A Loneliness Gaming and Quizzing app, developed with the help of people with learning difficulties.
- A device called ‘WarnHydrate’, which is used to detect dehydration in older people.
- A ‘push to talk’ loneliness app for isolated carers which lets them talk to other isolated carers.
- Sensors and cameras which are installed in homes to detect falls, changes in temperature and unusual behaviour patterns.
- ‘PAMAN’ – a video link to a local pharmacy, to help ensure people can take medicines at home safely.
- ‘Telehealth in a Box’, which allows communication between The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Trust and patients in the community.
- 5G-supported VR devices that are being used as a palliative pain distraction in wards.
That’s in addition to trials of wireless 5G mesh networks that use existing fibre combined with infrastructure erected on lamp posts and the like, and which can be delivered cost effectively across urban areas.
Freeing up resources
Many of these technologies are focused on helping people manage long-term health conditions themselves from home, which means that health and care resources can be redirected to areas where they’re urgently needed. In other words, these initiatives could improve health and social care without requiring more manpower.
And they weren’t possible previously, as they require the reliability, consistency and speed of 5G to work effectively.
The fact that Liverpool 5G Health and Social Care has received this additional funding shows that these technologies are making a real difference, so it might not be long before they’re rolled out more widely.
And health is just one area that 5G looks set to transform. We’re also seeing 5G trials and testbeds focused on tourism, rural and agricultural use, automated vehicles, manufacturing and more.