The operator will use a hybrid fibre, 4G and 5G private network to transform the port into a world-class ‘smart port’

Today, BT has announced that it is has struck a partnership with the Port of Tyne, near Newcastle in the UK, to install a new private network at the port using Ericsson equipment.

According to the operator, the deployment will help the deep sea port to capitalise on technologies including the IoT, AI, robotics, and autonomous vehicles, as well as reduce its carbon footprint and increase efficiencies.

“We are delighted to be providing the Port of Tyne with a hybrid 4G and 5G Private Network and associated surveillance and smart technology, including IoT, that will make a huge difference for the port and its customers,” said Ashish Gupta, MD for corporate and public sector at BT.

“The secure network we have installed with Ericsson, along with our fixed fibre infrastructure, will provide the foundation to revolutionise many operations across the site – including automating processes and creating efficiencies. By leveraging the high bandwidth, low latency networks we can use surveillance cameras, advanced analytics and artificial intelligence to check for damage to containers for example. We can also use IoT sensors to deliver benefits in the use of heavy plant and machinery.”

The partnership will see the Port of Tyne leverage the in-house 2050 Maritime Innovation Hub to identify specific use cases. 

Launched back in 2019 to provide a testbed for collaboration on solutions for the technical challenges facing the maritime sector, in line with the Port’s 2050 strategic plan, the Hub has already identified two use cases that will be implemented immediately using the private network: quayside operational optimisation programme and OCR container tracking. This will involve installing black box recording devices on the cranes and other material handling equipment to record usage patterns and automatically inspecting containers as they enter and exit the port.

The private network is set to go live later this year.

This is not the first time that BT has teamed up with Ericsson to deliver infrastructure for a budding smart port. Back in 2020, BT first deployed a private 5G network at Belfast Harbour, which has since moved on to its ‘second phase’, now exploring use cases including teleoperation of heavy plant machinery, artificial reality (AR) for remote maintenance, enhanced video AI analytics, and the use of drones for surveillance and inspections.

In fact, this latest port project is likely one of many private network deployments we will see from BT in the coming years, with the company having recently signed a multimillion-pound agreement with Ericsson to help deploy private networks for the manufacturing, defence, education, retail, healthcare, transport and logistics sectors.


Want to learn more about the latest ‘smart’ projects and private network deployments? Hear directly from the operators themselves at this year’s live Connected Britain event 

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