5PRING and West Midlands Local Authorities challenge innovators


5PRING and West Midlands Local Authorities challenge innovators to lead the 5G ‘Smart Cities’ revolution

  • Innovators in the UK health, social, and public services industries are challenged to help lead the 5G revolution with 5PRING and local authorities within the region
  • The ‘Smart Cities’ challenge lets businesses test, trial and apply 5G solutions in a live environment

5PRING – the consortium delivering the UK’s first 5G commercial application accelerators – is now working with West Midlands local authorities to launch the Smart Cities challenge.

The collaboration is laying down a new challenge for innovative start-ups and small businesses to shape the future of UK Smart Cities, through the exploration of 5G applications in the West Midlands.

A ‘Smart City’ is a city that uses technology enabled solutions across a variety of sectors to address key urban challenges. A big part of the technology is the use of an intelligent network of connected objects and machines that transmit data using 5G wireless technology.

The forecast market for ‘Smart Cities’ was more than £900bn GDP in 2020, equivalent to the 12th largest nation on earth. It is estimated that the top 750 Smart Cities will generate two-thirds of the world’s GDP by 2030.[1] Birmingham is currently 40th out of 109 in the Smart Cities global ranking[2], with road congestion and health services noted as the most urgent priorities.

The Smart Cities challenge will provide start-ups and other small businesses with support in developing and scaling 5G innovations targeted at the health, social, and public sectors. This includes developing ‘Smart City’ solutions to support health and wellbeing, digital experiences, smart parking, journey planning, waste management and many more.

Organisations will be working with experts from local councils across the region including Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall, and Wolverhampton, as well as Black Country Consortium, Coventry and Warwickshire and Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). Applicant’s solutions will harness the power of 5G to create safe, cutting-edge and successful Smart Cities, with challenge areas in:

  • Health and Social Care
  • Public Services
  • Social and Events
  • Public Safety

Businesses are asked to present solution ideas to one or more of the challenge areas, including: driving efficiency of public services such as rubbish collection and road monitoring; supporting the resurgence of the high-street using digital experiences; journey planning, and improving public safety.

Organisations with 5G-enabled solutions that leverage capabilities such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, and edge computing are strongly encouraged to apply. 

Successful applicants will have access to cutting edge technology via a private 5G network at the University of Wolverhampton Science Park and a tailored acceleration programme, as well as coaching, mentoring and expertise provided by experts from the seven West Midlands’ local authorities’, three LEPs and the 5PRING consortium members Telefonica UK (O2), Deloitte, Wayra and Digital Catapult.

Companies will be able to take advantage of Wayra’s investor network and start-up offers, a combined consortium customer network, business development with corporate firms, and including consultancy from Deloitte.

Raj Mack, Head of Business Engagement (Information, Technology & Digital Services) at Birmingham City Council said: 

“Our collaboration with 5PRING will give all of the participating local authorities in the West Midlands the opportunity to work closely with small business and start-ups to support and leverage 5G innovation.
“With this collaboration, we are looking to foster digitalisation of an array of services. 5PRING will allow us to identify and trial ground-breaking solutions in a real testbed environment, using technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality, and IoT systems to support the creation of Smart Cities.”

Tim Pile, Chair of Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP said: 

“Our investment of £1million to WM5G has enabled the Smart Cities programme to go ahead. We believe that the commercialisation of 5G offers fantastic opportunities for small businesses to scale up and for start-ups to develop their ideas.
“As a business led organisation, we are here to enable smaller companies to develop and thrive. GBSLEP works in collaboration with local government, businesses and educational leaders to target investments in areas we believe will help grow our regional economy and we are proud to be backing the UK’s first 5G commercial application accelerator.”

5PRING has been pioneered by West Midlands 5G Limited (WM5G) and supported by a consortium of Telefónica UK (O2), Deloitte, Wayra UK, and Digital Catapult.

Robert Franks, Managing Director at WM5G said: 

“The involvement of the local authorities and LEPs in our region with 5PRING’s latest innovation challenge is exactly the type of market collaboration we set-out to drive when pioneering WM5G’s vision. At WM5G, we are committed to support the region’s recovery post-Covid – smart city technology will make a genuine and measurable difference to our towns and cities and innovation will be crucial to ensure the region thrives.
We are looking forward to see some of the solutions start-ups and small businesses will bring forward and are confident that through collaboration we can help to bring a range of proofs of concept into reality in the future.”

Applications for the accelerator are now open and should be submitted here by midnight on 25 June 2021. Successful applicants will start working with 5PRING from Monday 16th August 2021. For participation in the Incubator, registration should be submitted by 18th June 2021.

A series of engagement events will run throughout the 5PRING programme known as Educate, Incubate and Accelerate. For more information, visit: https://5pring.org/


For further information contact:

Liquid PR:

Heather Woodhouse

T: +44(0) 121 285 4251

E: heather@weareliquid.com

Dan Hill

T: +44(0) 7816536676                                              

E: dan@weareliquid.com

Notes to Editors:


In March 2020, West Midlands 5G launched 5PRING – the UK’s first 5G application accelerator, based in Birmingham Coventry and Wolverhampton, these facilities provide private and public sector organisations with the opportunity to experience 5G first-hand, enabling the development of innovative new applications and services.

5PRING was pioneered by a collaboration between an O2 led consortium and West Midlands 5G Limited and is being delivered in collaboration with a consortium of Telefónica UK (O2), Deloitte, Wayra UK, the Digital Catapult, with further support from the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) Local Growth Fund.

About 5PRING Accelerator 

The accelerate programme, is a 3-month programme providing later stage start-ups the opportunity to develop innovative and ambitious 5G solutions. We offer a tailored acceleration curriculum to our start-ups and give them access to our 5G test-beds. We provide technical and business support to our start-ups through our coaches, mentors and external speakers to support start-ups in their endeavour to deliver commercially viable business or scaling plan and build prototypes that utilise 5G. The accelerator supports larger organisations in solving their challenges by adopting an open innovation business model and enabling start-ups to deliver their 5G propositions to these challenges by providing a direct route to market. We also give our start-ups the opportunity to raise investment by facilitating pitch slam sessions with investors-in-residence and external investors.

About 5PRING Incubator

The 5PRING incubate programme is an early stage start-up incubator that is designed to help organisations ideate and plan 5G enabled solutions. The incubator aims at giving organisations the opportunity to collaborate and learn more about how commercially viable 5G solutions can be developed for specific challenges.

For those already familiar with 5G, we’ll help them to understand the different roles 5G can play and provide support to build a business case and technical plan for organisations that want to adopt or supply 5G enabled products and services.

West Midlands 5G (WM5G)

West Midlands 5G (WM5G) is the UK’s first region-wide 5G innovation company and forms part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports, 5G Tests and Trials programme.

WM5G has two key objectives. First to build the UK’s best-connected region for 5G[3] by working in partnership with local authorities and operators to make it easier, quicker and cheaper to deploy 4G & 5G networks. Second to test, prove and scale new 5G services in key sectors such as transport, manufacturing, health & social care; areas where the WM has key strengths and where 5G can make a difference in transforming productivity.

WM5G will maximise the productivity and efficiency benefits of 5G, creating new opportunities for UK businesses and encouraging inward investment. WM5G is designed to achieve citizen, public and private sector benefits from 5G and to accelerate the deployment of the technology across the region.

About West Midlands’ local authorities and LEPs

There are seven local authorities in the West Midlands region. They are Birmingham City Council, Coventry City Council, Dudley Council, Sandwell Council, Solihull Council, Walsall Council, and City of Wolverhampton Council.

The local authorities taking part in the Smart Cities challenge are:

·       Birmingham City Council

·       Coventry City Council

·       Dudley Council

·       Walsall Council

·       City of Wolverhampton

·       Sandwell Council

The three local enterprise partnerships in the region taking part in the 5PRING challenge are the Black Country Consortium, Coventry and Warwickshire and the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP.

[1] Smart Cities Pitchbook. Gov.uk. March 2016

[2]Smart City Index 2020. IMD.

[3]  umlaut Audit Report, 5G Coverage in the UK 2020

comments powered by Disqus