Cambridgeshire County Council goes to tender for £500k AR experience

Cambridgeshire County Council has recently gone to tender for a bespoke venue-specific augmented reality (AR) experience. The AR experience will form part of the Council’s ‘CORE’ (Cambridgeshire Open RAN Ecosystem) project, which is being funded by the Department for Science Innovation and Technology (DSIT) and being delivered by a number of commercial and academic partners in collaboration with Cambridgeshire County Council as the Project Lead.

The CORE project is among 19 initiatives that will receive funding from the UK Government’s £88 million investment in advanced open 5G connectivity solutions throughout the country. Its objective is to utilize cutting-edge technology in order to create a neutral host platform for 5G Open RAN from various providers. This platform will enhance mobile capacity in areas with high data usage.The Council states that the main objective of the CORE project is to implement and showcase the potential of Open RAN technology in a dedicated 5G network in areas with high demand density.

Open RAN, also known as Open Radio Access Network, is a telecommunications concept that aims to establish networks with greater openness and compatibility. Its goal is to enhance the Radio Access Network (RAN) segment by adopting a unified interconnection standard for white-box hardware and open source software provided by various vendors.

CORE project Cambridge Corn Exchange, where the project will be delivered and deployed. The AR experience will run over the 5G Open RAN network that is being developed as part of the project and will serve a dual purpose:

  • To begin with, the objective is to assess the potential of a 5G Open RAN network by examining its ability to handle the high data usage and low latency demands of AR technology. As a secondary objective, the aim is to further evaluate the network’s capabilities.
  • To demonstrate how 5G Open RAN technology can support innovative technologies to generate new opportunities for a local economy.

The Cambridgeshire County Council emphasized the importance of creating a unique augmented reality (AR) experience for the local economy. In order to achieve this, it is crucial for the AR experience to be tailored specifically for the venue. To ensure its success, the design, development, and deployment of the AR experience will be carried out in close partnership with the Cambridge City Council, who are responsible for the ownership and operation of the venue. Additionally, the AR experience must meet certain additional requirements.

  • A bespoke AR experience under the theme of celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Cambridge Corn Exchange. Deployable on the main ground floor of the venue by end December 2024.
  • Easily deployable and removable experience that can be set-up, run and removed within a day. The experience will run on dates/times to be agreed by Cambridge City Council that fit in-between the other planned events at the venue.
  • AR capable hardware to deliver the experience.
  • Integration of the AR experience hardware on to the 5G network that is being developed.
  • Verbal and/or written data/reports on the performance of the AR experience in different operational environments and advice on how to utilize the experience to support testing.
  • The contract should encompass both the maintenance and operational support for the AR experience throughout its duration.

The contract is worth £499,357 before VAT, and will be in effect for a year.Tenders must be received by April 9, 2024, at 12:00pm GMT.

The bidder who wins the auction will also be responsible for collaborating with the existing technical partners to ensure the integration and implementation of the AR hardware and experience on the 5G network is successful. Additionally, assistance with testing and enhancing the network capabilities using the AR experience will be necessary.

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