Telecoms giant BT has collaborated with mixed reality partners Ubimax and VRtuoso for a live demonstration of augmented and virtual reality applications at Belfast Harbour over its public 5G network.

The port has been evaluating these two 5G enabled applications as part of its strategy to create a “Smart Port” and an iconic waterfront for the city.

The trial is aimed at demonstrating how these real-time immersive reality experiences and connected staff can create a ‘smart port’.

In the first demonstration, the team will use a hands-free augmented reality headset which will be connected to a 5G device.

This will be used to examine a crane at Belfast Harbour while one of the personnel will receive step-by-step maintenance guidance and support remotely via video from a remote expert.

Augmented reality solution specialist Ubimax will provide the software for the headsets, while BT’s 5G network offered the ‘ultrafast speeds and reliability’ needed.

Through this demonstration, the companies aim to showcase how maintenance activities at the port can be further simplified and improved.

The hand-free headset is said to be particularly useful for workers operating in hazardous environments as it can be worn with hard hats and other protective gear.

The second trial will demonstrate how 5G network can make virtual reality ‘boundary-less’ by enabling participants located in different geographies to draw virtual reality content down from the cloud.

This session will be managed by VRtuoso’s VR solution.

Such experiences can be mainly helpful in transform marketing and training activities. The 360-degree experience can be used as a training tool which makes the user’s brain feel like the user has experienced a situation.

BT Enterprise unit CEO Gerry McQuade said: “The demonstrations we’ve shown today are a powerful illustration of what 5G can do for business, both here in Northern Ireland and across the UK. They’ve shown that 5G will be the catalyst for a revolution in how technology supports people, enables workplaces and simplifies operations.”

Belfast Harbour CEO Joe O’Neill added: “We have a strong ambition and motivation to become the world’s best regional port and create an iconic waterfront district for Belfast, making it an attractive place to live, work, visit and invest in.

“Using the very latest technologies and collaborating with expert partners is a key part of how we will deliver that vision for Belfast.”