To accelerate 5G innovation in Canada, and because 13 other Universities across Canada have been shored up by China's behemoth Huawei, Western has partnered with Bell Canada to create an advanced 5G research centre – turning the campus into a 'living lab' that will help shape smarter cities and communications systems, boost drone security, better manage business continuity, and more.
Bell will invest $2.7 million and deploy 5G network equipment and infrastructure throughout the Western campus. The partnership will also fund research and development initiatives, training opportunities, and technological innovations.
"We continue to look for innovative partnerships that put our research community in a position to have real impact on society," said Sarah Prichard (photo), Acting Vice-President (Research). "By using campus as a 'living lab' for new technologies like 5G, we're offering a unique opportunity to ask a full range of important questions across disciplines."
The partnership will study 5G applications, including virtual and augmented reality use; smart vehicle and smart city applications; autonomous vehicles; industrial Internet of Things applications; multi-access edge computing; battery and small cell research; machine learning; artificial intelligence; and other technology for use in fields such as medicine, agriculture, transportation, and communications.
"Bell is pleased to further our relationship with one of Canada's most respected universities, combining Bell's technology expertise and Western's excellence in academic research," said Wade Oosterman, MBA'86, Bell's Vice Chair and Group President. "We look forward to the contributions we will make together to keep Canada at the forefront of global network innovation."
At Western, the partnership opens the doors to a range of research possibilities touching all corners of campus, including studies by:
• Engineering professor Xianbin Wang, whose work improves security, efficiency and reliability of wireless communications;
• Science professor Anwar Haque, whose research maximizes the efficiency and security of autonomous drones, connected vehicles and smart cities and homes;
• Ivey Business School professor Bissan Ghaddar, whose work explores the intersection of smart cities, the Internet of Things, and optimization models applied to personal mobility; and
• Ivey Business School professor Joe Naoum-Sawaya, whose research advances energy, water, mobility and telecommunications within smart cities.
"5G technology is about better connectivity," said Mark Daley, Special Advisor to the President on Data Strategy. "Connectivity, across disciplines and with partners, is a core value of Western's research culture. This partnership will enable research that is built on both the better technical connectivity of 5G technology, and the interdisciplinary connectivity between Western and Bell."