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Vodafone today officially opened its Digital Innovation Hub in The Landing at MediaCityUK, Salford, to give the UK’s growing start-up community a head start in developing new 5G applications and services.

With more than 100 start-up companies in MediaCityUK alone, the Vodafone Digital Innovation Hub will provide entrepreneurs with access to network experts, the latest technologies, including 5G, IoT and high-speed fibre and a space to work together and exchange ideas.

As part of its multi-billion network investment, Vodafone is rolling out 5G to 19 towns and cities across the UK this year and plans to establish similar technology hubs in other locations.

At the opening event, entitled ‘Go Beyond’, attendees heard from experts representing retail, manufacturing and media industries as well business leaders and the City Major of Salford about the challenges and opportunities facing start-ups. They also discussed how 5G will open the door to new business opportunities and what the launch of the Digital Innovation Hub will bring to the area.

The panel of experts included:

  • Shafi Ahmed, Chief Medical Officer and co-founder of Medical Realities, a proponent of virtual medicine and 5G in the life sciences and other medical fields.
  • Mischa Dohler, Professor in Wireless Communications at King’s College London, an academic and entrepreneur.
  • Tracey McGarrigan, CEO of Ansible and the coordinator of the Women In Gaming event at the London Games Festival.
  • Scott Petty, Chief Technology Officer at Vodafone UK.

Delivering her keynote speech, Anne Sheehan, Business Director, Vodafone UK said: “The Digital Innovation Hub is an example of how we are empowering today’s start-ups and small businesses with the expertise and technologies to help turn their blueprints into reality.   Our 5G services can help UK start-ups become global leaders in their fields.”

Paul Dennett, City Mayor of Salford, added: “We are delighted that Vodafone has selected the city for its first Digital Innovation Hub.  Such investment and commitment from the private sector supports our ambition to make Salford one of the world’s most attractive cities for digital enterprises. It will also boost the local economy and help attract new jobs and opportunities for the people of Salford, Great Manchester and beyond. This commitment also further strengthens Salford’s Innovation Triangle connecting MediaCityUK with the University of Salford and Salford Royal Foundation Trust, our outstanding and leading hospital in the City.”

Stephen Wild, Managing Director of MediaCityUK added: “The presence of 5G here at MediaCityUK is a game changer for our occupiers today and for the future. It provides the opportunity for our digital and tech innovators to go beyond the boundaries previously set and we’re incredibly excited to see the positive impact it will have. As a smart city we are on the cusp of being the birth place to some of the greatest digital innovations of our time.”

Jon Corner, Chief Executive at The Landing, said: “We’re extremely proud that Vodafone is investing in the business community here in Salford. The new 5G Hub will help unlock MediaCityUK as a living lab for smart city innovation and as a key technology asset for the North West, providing the very best foundations for start-ups, small businesses and entrepreneurs to drive their technology and connect globally.”

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