Following on from the successful launch of Smart Sound Connect earlier this year, today marks the opening of a state-of-the-art control centre for the network to further enhance the support provided to industry as part of the Smart Sound testing and proving ground based in and around Plymouth Sound. The network was recently recognised by the Mobile sector by receiving the 2022 Mobile Industry Award for 5G Innovation of the Year (Product/Service).

Opened by Councillor Pat Patel, Plymouth City Council’s Cabinet Member for Customer Services, Culture, Leisure and Sport, the Smart Sound Connect Control Centre will provide live access to the world’s first ocean-focussed 5G network, powered by Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (DAC), as well as well as the wider point-to-point data mesh network that covers the full 1000 sq km of ocean that makes up Smart Sound. Hosted by Plymouth City Council at Endeavour House in Oceansgate, the new Control Centre is run by the Council and Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) with support from Smart Sound Connect’s technology partners, Vodafone Business, Nokia and Steatite.

To date, almost 50 use cases have been identified for Smart Sound Connect. Access is provided free of charge and is funded by Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). Businesses looking to use the network will also have free access to the Control Centre for their marine innovation projects.

“The Smart Sound Connect Control Centre is the final building block in providing comprehensive support for marine innovation businesses to fully leverage our world leading support services,” said Councillor Patel. “Marine innovation support is a central pillar for our plans to increase the number of high-end jobs in the City and Smart Sound Connect builds on the fantastic momentum that has developed over the last ten years.”

“The opening of the Smart Sound Connect Control Centre is an important milestone for the wider Smart Sound project, and for Plymouth, as it cements itself as the UK’s hub for advanced marine technology development and deployment”, said Dr James Fishwick, Head of Smart Sound at Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML). “The network will help to boost growth in the marine tech sector and support the cutting-edge marine science that is being carried out here in Britain’s Ocean City.”

Karl Tucker, Chair of the Heart of the South West LEP, said: “It’s fantastic to see the official opening of the Smart Sound Connect Control Centre, which will provide marine innovation projects with live access to the 5G network. We are delighted to have supported Smart Sound Connect through our Growth Deal funding, and look forward to seeing the case uses which will use this network to develop industry-leading innovations.’

Nick Gliddon, Director, Vodafone Business, said: “The Plymouth Smart Sound is a perfect example of new technology providing economic opportunity for the South West. A Mobile Private Networks is an incredibly powerful to act as a catalyst for innovation, in this case, offering Plymouth the opportunity to further cement itself at the forefront of the global marine community and test out unique marine-focused 5G use cases.”

Stephane Haulbert, Head of Enterprise Partner Business in Europe from Nokia said: “Nokia has extended its expertise to more than 485 large private wireless customers worldwide across an array of sectors. The work being conducted at Smart Sound relies on detailed accurate data taken from multiple points across the ocean. Leveraging Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (DAC), we have deployed a state-of-the-art 5G private wireless network that will allow teams to securely and reliably access real-time data from those sensors, combining it with capabilities such as AI, machine learning, analytics and more to enhance data processing and gain greater insight for testing and the development of new marine technologies.”

Alastair Wallace, Commercial Director, Steatite Ltd, said: “Steatite is delighted to be part of Smart Sound’s success story and we look forward to seeing our cutting edge radio technology deployed in Plymouth Sound.”