Over £100,000 has been invested in a new virtual and augmented reality facility which was unveiled by Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, at The Landing at MediaCityUK.
Digital Catapult’s Immersive Lab, the first in the UK to be 5G enabled, has been created through a partnership between The Landing, MediaCityUK’s tech hub specialising in high growth tech start-ups, and Digital Catapult, the UK's leading digital innovation centre.
The Immersive Lab contains a wide range of AR, VR and Mixed Reality equipment, as well as green screens, providing the ideal space for large multi-national organisations and rapid tech start-ups to collaborate, test and create new products.
During the launch event, Andy Burnham gave a keynote speech before digital innovators and VIP guests experienced the new facility first hand, hearing from industry leaders about the importance of immersive technologies and their potential.
The event ended with two-panel discussions debating the future of augmented and virtual reality in a 5G-enabled world, and the implications of technology on society as a whole.
Digital Catapult’s Immersive Lab is located on the 6th floor of The Landing, alongside Vodafone’s new 5G testbed and The Landing’s existing user testing facilities and rapid prototyping lab. The new Immersive Lab significantly enhances the facilities and equipment available to rapid tech start-ups in The Landing and global partners.
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “The new technologies created by and for 5G align perfectly with Greater Manchester’s industrial strategy and will help turn our ambition to be a leading digital city-region into reality. It’s also an amazing opportunity to bring to life a range of proposals set out in GMCA’s digital strategy.”
Paul Billington, managing director at The Landing said: “Our launch event has been a great success, with some fascinating insight from industry leaders and we’ve already had some incredible feedback on the facilities.
“The new Immersive Lab will drive innovation and collaboration for organisations large and small working with AR, VR and Mixed Reality. It is a fantastic asset for The Landing programme, and all the tech innovators based here, as it will enable them to create new products and content.
“It will also enable us to host and deliver a series of new and highly innovative educational and training events as well as European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) workshops. We are continually evolving and expanding an already impressive range of high-tech facilities here at The Landing and attracting a growing number of multi-national corporate partners and accelerator programmes to enhance what we are already offering to tech startups in terms of support and infrastructure.
“Following on from our successful Metalab conference last year, the Immersive Lab is another big step forward for The Landing as the go-to location for AR and VR in Greater Manchester and supports our ambition to be the best place to grow rapid tech start-ups in the UK and beyond.”
Geraldina Iraheta, director of business development at Digital Catapult, said: “It’s so important to have facilities like the Immersive Lab providing access to cutting-edge technologies which help small businesses grow and corporations seize the power of immersive tech.
“We’re pleased to welcome MediaCityUK to our nationwide network of Immersive Labs, and to work with our partners at The Landing in offering this facility to businesses in the region to showcase, demo and test innovative solutions and exciting creative content.”
Debbie Brown, director of service reform at Salford City Council, said: “Salford Council is an award-winning, digitally progressive council with some great ideas on what we can do with this technology. Working with The Landing and Digital Catapult is a great opportunity for our citizens.”
Jon Buckthorp from Vodafone UK, said: “Working with The Landing and their tech start-ups we have tested both the live 5G network and the new mobile edge computing service. With ultra-low latency tests of 7ms and bandwidth speeds of beyond 200mbs this creates an amazing opportunity for the VR ecosystem.”
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