Huawei, rain, and Wits University have jointly launched Africa’s first 5G laboratory in South Africa, giving students access to a live 5G environment to build knowledge of the revolutionary technology’s applications for the local market.
The 5G Innovation Lab, situated at the Wits Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct, is part of a longer-term joint innovation programme between business and the leading academic institution. It is aimed at driving innovations to promote social progress for South Africa in the digital era or fourth industrial revolution (4IR).
In terms of the collaboration, Huawei provides its end to end 5G solution, supported by rain’s 5G network. The lab will initially showcase two 5G applications, namely smart/safe campus and virtual reality (VR) remote education.
“The purpose of this exciting partnership is to give students early access to 5G technology,” said Huawei Southern Africa Region VP, Yang Chen. “This will allow them to experiment and interact with the 5G platforms that will enable the 4IR.”
Supporting African local innovation is also a key consideration for 5G service provider, rain.
“We are proud to partner with Huawei and Wits University to build the first 5G Innovation Lab in Africa, we believe that young innovators will use the 5G Innovation Lab to push the boundaries for the next technological leaps right here on the African continent. The Instagram, TikTok, or self-driving car innovation of the next generation could be born here by a young mind at Wits,” says rain’s Chief Strategy Officer and co-founder Brandon Leigh.
Short for “fifth-generation wireless technology” 5G provides digital cellular networks featuring faster upload and download speeds with numerous applications in the Internet of Things (IoT), enterprise networking, and critical communications.
It is predicted that during the 4IR era, most applications will run in a 5G network environment.
Among other 5G applications, the Lab will investigate live, virtual reality (VR) e-learning broadcasts of lectures and classes. The Lab will also feature a hub relaying feeds from cross-campus safety and security camera networks. The lab is supported by a 5G base station installed by rain.