Future networks

Building, testing and operating future networks to foster new business models and solutions using the next wave of connective technologies.

Through the future networks programmes, Digital Catapult provides much needed testbed facilities and innovation initiatives. These bring together small innovative businesses, corporations and academia to configure future networks and develop new business models, applications, experiences and solutions that leverage the massive potential of future network technologies such as 5G and low power wide area networks (LPWAN).

Why Digital Catapult is focused on future networks

As the amount of digital data increases, so too does the need for secure, efficient, sustainable and resilient networks.

Future networks will provide:

  • More advanced, highly configurable connectivity that will be faster, cheaper, more reliable, secure and flexible, whilst using less energy.
  • The foundation for new business models, applications, experiences, products and services.

The impact of 5G is not confined to the telecommunications industry, its successful roll out is expected to grow the wider UK economy. If its potential can be realised, 5G could add £173bn of incremental GDP between 2020 to 2030.

How we support the development and adoption of future networks

Digital Catapult is enabling the early exploration of 5G, with initiatives such as Things Connected and the 5G Brighton testbed, to ensure the UK’s international competitiveness. We are also accelerating the use of LPWAN and helping UK IoT companies to better compete in the global market.

We do this in two ways:

  • Creating and operating networks and providing access to hardware and services, including large scale 5G sector-specific testbeds and our extensive LPWAN network, Things Connected, that support the development, testing and commercialisation of ideas.
  • Challenge led innovation programmes that introduce researchers and small innovative companies to larger corporations that have real world industry challenges.
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Things Connected

Things Connected is an innovation support programme targeting UK businesses who wish to leverage the capabilities of LPWAN technologies.


SynchroniCity is a collaborative R&D project established to help cities simplify the creation of new services that tackle urban challenges they are facing using the Internet of Things (IoT) and data technologies.

5G Mapping

Digital Catapult is leading an Innovate UK funded 5G Mapping Project that will produce and report an impartial, evidence-based view of the current state of the UK 5G ecosystem.

“Digital Catapult was critical to our early growth. It provided a special environment to facilitate expansion and allowed us to flourish by connecting the ‘doers’ of the tech industry, ourselves, to the people who needed our technology. Today when I look back, I can directly attribute key opportunities to the good work of the Digital Catapult team.”

James Dean Founder and Director, SenSat – Read the case study in full here

Why not get in touch?

Alex Gluhak, Head of Technology, Lead Technologist IoT – alex.gluhak@digicatapult.org.uk

Dritan Kaleshi, Lead Technologist (Future Networks, 5G Fellow) – dritan.kaleshi@digicatapult.org.uk

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