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Technology trialed at Bristol Harbourside to prevent people from drowning

Bristol has tested new 5G Smart Digital technology, which is aimed to improve safety and prevent people from drowning at Bristol's Harbourside.

The trial involved 5G technology being used to pinpoint incidents around Prince’s Street Bridge - which is an area known for pedestrians falling into the harbour.

It then used thermal imaging cameras - which were set up at 'trigger points' that acted as barrier lines on the Harbour wall -  and sent alerts directly to emergency services when someone fell in. 

Within just 36 hours of the trail starting, alerts were sent after the system was triggered by a pedestrian falling into the water. 

The cameras meant that emergency services were given a pinpoint location of where the person was in the water, enabling them to respond quicker. 

Fortunately because the incident happened in the day, people near helped the person out of the water and the emergency services weren't required.

The project was run by a collaboration led by West of England Combined Authority - Bristol is Open, Bristol City Council, Zeetta Networks, IBI and University of Bristol were all involved. 

Speaking about the trial, Peter Anderson, Bristol City Council’s Head of Service said:

“Citizen and visitor safety is a priority for us. Water safety may not be uppermost in our minds as we work, visit and enjoy Bristol and yet we are surrounded by waterways as we walk through the city centre. The Harbourside in particular has a naturally high footfall of people using it day and night.''

''This trial is the first real test we’ve been able to undertake to see how we can use digitisation to improve safety. Using the latest in telecommunications technology in our city infrastructure that is connected to our emergency services, we’ve been able to demonstrate how effective it can be and how future 5G can be simulated and applied to protecting our citizens. I’m delighted with the outcomes of the trial and how smart connectivity can make an immediate and positive impact on people’s lives''. 

West of England Mayor Tim Bowles said “I am proud our region is playing such a pivotal role in both the development of 5G technology and the innovative first trials of these pioneering new wireless services which can offer real safety benefits for our communities.''

''We are ambitious to help support a commercial roll out of 5G infrastructure across our region and we see 5G as having a role in helping us address mobility across the region and in helping with digital inclusion.''

“We are well placed to become a smart region – we are already recognised as a centre of excellence, as home to the largest cluster of digital expertise outside London. We are leading the way in technology and our businesses and universities are at the forefront of innovation in next-generation networks, including 5G, such as the University of Bristol Smart Internet Lab where our 5G testbed is hosted''.

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