New pioneering research centre for 6G technology launching in UK

The UK will soon be home to a revolutionary 6G technology centre, a state-of-of-the art facility that will ensure the nation will be at the cutting-edge of 6G research, innovation, and education.

The novel 6G technology centre that will make the UK industry leaders in the innovations of tomorrow has been aptly named 6G Futures, a virtual hub designed to pioneer the next generation of wireless communications. The centre will be essential infrastructure for developing what will be one of the most prominent disruptive technologies in the coming years, 6G.

6G Futures is the brainchild of the University of Bristol and King’s College London, a partnership that will see over 400 global experts in a plethora of fields collaborate, such as cyber, telecommunications networks, Artificial Intelligence (AI), social sciences, digital humanities, and art, as the centre strives to develop future mobile technology.

Changing the world with 6G technology

Groundbreaking developments in 6G technology have the potential to transform a wide array of sectors that will significantly benefit society, including transport, health, and arts, to name but a few. Currently, various concepts of 6G technology in the pipeline seem unattainably futuristic, for example, immersive life, holographic communications, and digital twins. Despite this, aspects like autonomous driving are already being utilised globally, with the new 6G technology centre poised to make the once unfeasible a reality.

Professor Dimitra Simeonidou, Director of the University of Bristol’s Smart Internet Lab and Co-Director of Bristol Digital Futures Institute, said: “The public is only beginning to see first-hand the enormous potential of 5G networks, an area which we have been working on for many years. Through this new centre, we will now focus on the next-generation mobile networks – 6G and beyond – and the truly awe-inspiring capabilities these will bring.

“6G will be inherently human-centric and will establish a cyber-physical continuum by delivering real-time sensory information, supporting haptics and holograms. This takes us far beyond future-forecasting: crucially, this is about having the specialist knowledge and expertise to transform visions into deliverable solutions, accelerate innovation, and make a positive difference to society worldwide.”

Professor Mischa Dohler, Professor in Wireless Communications at King’s, said: “As adoption of 5G accelerates around the world, it’s important the UK is prepared for 6G as the next-generation mobile technology. The creation of this centre is a notable moment for the UK technology sector. We will be developing novel architectures, incorporating federated exchange and self-synthesising mechanisms, advance the internet of skills, and embed blockchain, quantum and federated AI technologies. But it’s not just pure tech – we’ll be working on co-creation with verticals toward some truly exciting and societally impacting use-cases while contributing to policy, alliances, and global standards.”

Endless possibilities

The University of Bristol and King’s College London both have an illustrious history in advancing wireless communications, with both institutions conducting a crucial role in developing 5G technology. Both are experts in AI and machine learning, with King’s having specialist knowledge in mobile networks and Bristol specialising in wired/wireless technology and network layers. Through the amalgamation of their expertise, the 6G Futures centre will be highly proficient in providing world-leading research and the production of 6G technologies for many years to come.

The full potential of 6G technology is truly remarkable, with experts estimating download speeds to be ten times faster than the currently used 5G.  Additionally, 6G will be capable of harnessing trillions of connected machines to transfer sensory information as part of the communications experience, greatly enhancing the cyber-physical continuum. Finally, 6G networks will provide unparalleled levels of efficiency, as it will comprise networks that design, organise, and sustain themselves.

Professor Phil Taylor, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at the University of Bristol, said: “This multi-disciplinary centre will fill a real national leadership gap on 6G here in the UK. Not only will be the focus be on technology but also on the development of solutions that could transform sectors spanning health, energy, and transport. It will provide an opportunity for industry and international collaborators to come together with the best and brightest minds, here in the world-renowned tech clusters of London and Bristol.”

Professor Reza Razavi, Vice President & Vice-Principal (Research) at King’s, said: “If the UK is going to play a major role in realising the potential of 6G, we need a national centre that brings together the very best minds in communications technologies, cyber, AI, digital humanities, the arts and social science. The formation of this centre is a very exciting moment in the trajectory of 6G evolution.”

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