5Groningen and the European Space Agency (ESA) Business Applications (BA) shall collaborate to support the development of space-based applications using 5G and satellite information. A number of 5Groningen pilots will now benefit from satellite information and services as an additional element to 5G, whilst businesses from the ESA network will be able to use 5G networks functionalities.
5Groningen and ESA BA share the focus on several domains like healthcare, traffic, energy, agriculture and the environment. As a space agency, ESA has a major network of businesses throughout Europe that are specialised in satellite services. 5Groningen has a 5G test lab where SMEs and non-profit organisations test various 5G applications. The coming months will be dedicated to listing the 5Groningen pilots that can be enhanced with satellite information and the businesses from the ESA network that can be linked in. In addition, European businesses are called to develop and pilot new service concepts based on 5G and space in the thematic areas of interest to the Groningen region.
Win-win for ESA and 5Groningen
According to Peter Rake, Programme Manager of 5Groningen, satellite information can provide a great deal of added value to existing and future pilots of 5Groningen.“For example, consider exact location determination that is accurate up to 10 centimetres, or information about weather conditions or soil conditions. Or connectivity where 5G is not available, such as out on the open seas. The cooperation with ESA enables us to expand our network with businesses that are specialised in satellite services. This provides wonderful new opportunities for businesses for the north and centre of Groningen”, commented Peter. The cooperation works both ways, because businesses that are active in satellite -based services are also able to benefit from 5G pilot options, such as the Internet of Things.
Rita Rinaldo, Head of Institutional Project section in the Downstream Business Applications Department of ESA, said “We are convinced that the cooperation with 5Groningen will enable service providers to develop and demonstrate innovative breakthrough applications drawing on space and 5G technologies to the benefits of a number of user communities”.
Example of 5G and satellite information combinations
Within 5Groningen there are a number of pilots that will benefit enormously from satellite information. For pilots with drones, satellite communication (SatCom) can be used to ensure there is continuous contact with the drones, even in areas where the regular 3G or 4G network does not provide a signal. In the case of another pilot at sea, satellite positioning and navigation (SatNav) can be used to provide the exact location of a vessel, whilst they also enable real-time monitoring (SatCom) of the cargo status. Satellite earth observation (SatEO) provides information about weather conditions or the depth of navigable waterways as aid to navigation.
The partnership between ESA and 5Groningen forms part of ESA's wider Satellite for 5G initiative (S45G), built around a Joint Statement that has been signed by over 20 leading industry players and which is open to additional partners.