Drei switches on 5G in Carinthia to create digital showcase region

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With ZTE, Drei launched 5G services in the Pörtschach-Wörthersee area of Carinthia in Austria, as part of the Smart Urban Region Austria Alps Adriatic (SURAAA) project.

The 5G network will offer transfer speeds up to one gigabit per second.

Carinthia has stated its aim to use 5G to become a hub for mobility, tourism and business and in 2016, partnered with ZTE. The Pörtschach-Wörthersee region already has Austria’s first intelligent lighting masts and is also piloting autonomous vehicle systems and air taxis.

DI Jan Trionow, CEO of Drei Austria, said, "While others are still talking about ‘5G ready’, the digital future in the flagship region of Wörthersee is already a reality. With the start of the fifth mobile radio generation in Pörtschach, Drei will offer a more efficient Internet supply for Carinthian households and companies.

The support of innovative regions is a large request to us as 5G helps to reduce the digital divide between the city and country and creates important new impulses for tourism, transport, medicine and agriculture."

At the see: PORT innovation hub, the project partners presented 5G applications, including a 360-degree live view of the Wörthersee tourism region with virtual reality glasses. 

A 5G information desk has also been set up so visitors can find out more about 5G and its applications.

Smart beehive

In addition, Drei, ZTE and SURAAA, along with Carinthian company IoT40 Systems, showcased the Bee-O-Meter, which is installed on the roof of the see:PORT. The ‘smart beehive’ counts the bees that fly out and return and also monitors the surrounding environment.

Via livestream, supported by 5G, the beekeeper can keep a constant eye on the bees. If environmental pollution that could harm the bees is detected, an alarm is triggered. Wider conclusions to help protect bees will also be drawn from AI-powered analysis of the data.

The partners intend to equip a larger test region in Carinthia with Bee-O-Meters in 2020. The data collected could be used for research into bee diseases or to determine the purity level of Carnica bees.

Walter Prutej, project manager of the SURAAA initiative, said, "For SURAAA, the advantages of 5G applications are obvious: the new technology offers transfer rates of up to one gigabit per second and is required for our future technologies, such as autonomous driving or automated flight taxis. With the 5G standard, Pörtschach is also taking a further step towards an open 5G future laboratory for companies and start-ups.

"The see:PORT will thus become the first 5G co-working space in Carinthia and Austria, giving domestic start-ups and companies a significant market advantage.

“Through 5G, Pörtschach also gets the best prerequisites for the new tourism target group of digital nomads (working around the globe regardless of location) - the beautiful Wörthersee landscape and a super-fast Internet connection."