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Port of Felixstowe 5G project goes live crane sensors, AI modelling

Port of Felixstowe 5G project goes live with AI and IoT monitoring.

A Port of Felixstowe 5G IoT project has gone live, with the UK’s largest container port using a private 5G network to control and monitor its cranes – one of a number of pilot 5G projects part-funded by the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

On six of its giant quay cranes, used to move containers from ship to shore, the port is using IoT sensors to monitor the health of the cranes, and will use an AI-based predictive model to detect anomalies in the machinery’s performance and behaviour. This can then be used to perform preventative maintenance on the cranes, before failures occur.

The Port of Felixstowe 5G deployment also includes communication and control equipment, which will replace older systems with lower bandwidth, previously used to use the cranes remotely. The project got underway early last year, as part of DCMS's 5G Trials and Testbeds programme.

“Using the data generated by the IoT sensors and linking it to the actual activity on the crane together with previous maintenance records, Cambridge University is developing an algorithm to predict equipment failure and suggest the optimum time to maintain the equipment,” said Karen Poulter, head of information services at Port of Felixstowe, in a press release.

UK5G’s head of marketing, Vicki DeBlasi, told The Stack: “5g has that the greater bandwidth, which means it can support a far greater density of sensors. So while the Internet of Things has been around for a long time, with 5g it realises some of the earlier promises of that, because you can you can track far greater density of sensors and devices, which is hugely helpful for anything involving supply chain and logistics.”

See also: Flagship Liverpool 5G healthcare network project nears completion

DCMS has been very active with 5G projects across the country, supporting projects in ports such as Felixstowe and Bristol, along with private 5G networks in cities including Liverpool. There 5G’s bandwidth is enabling the local council to improve access to social services and healthcare.

The Port of Felixstowe 5G pilot project, which is being run by the port in conjunction with Three UK, Blue Mesh Solutions and the University of Cambridge, is due to conclude in September 2022.

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