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Thousands interested in 5G technology and its applications gather for 5G Hack the Mall summer course and its parallel event Backed by 5G

Many new projects applying 5G technology will start in the autumn.
Backed by 5G online event
Photo: Aalto University / Laura Puusola

The Otaniemi Campus of Aalto University solidified its position as a centre of 5G knowledge and its applications when the world's leading experts and decision-makers involved in 5G technology, as well as companies and students met in early June. The virtual 5G Hack the Mall summer course and its parallel event for the public at large, Backed by 5G, were held 7.–18 June 2021.

Students at the 5G Hack the Mall summer course sought out the basic information of 5G technology and put forward solutions to challenges given by some of the world's leading companies as course projects. There were challenges from, for example, Enel S.p.A, Konecranes Oyj, Metso Outotec Oyj and Philips N.V. Challenges also came from the best universities in Africa, such as Nigeria's University of Lagos and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana.

Meanwhile, the Backed by 5G event offered numerous presentations to the public on 5G technology and its utilisation. This year there was a special focus on how 5G technology can advance social, ecological, and economic development in the countries of the Global South. The world's leading experts and decision-makers gave presentations and held discussions on matters such as how 5G technology can help control climate change, and how 5G technology can help solve the education crisis both in emerging economies and in developing countries.  

Plenty of interesting presentations and discussions were heard during the course and at the events. Here are some examples:

  • Aalto University Professor of Practice Ritva Reinikka challenged Nokia's Ari Kynäslahti, Microsoft's Victor Bahl, and the EU's Thierry Barbé to say how 5G technology and other types of the latest technology can help resolve the crisis in learning.
  • Aalto University's Head of Sustainable Solutions Jussi Impiö asked Ericsson's Magnus Frodigh, Miika Huttunen of Slush, and the Finnish Foreign Ministry's Jarmo Sareva to say how 5G technology might help ease climate change.
  • Aalto University Professor Matti Rossi spoke about the effects of 5G technology on the fast growth in the need for ICT specialists and on the different ways that it would be possible to respond to such a need.
  • Aalto University Professor Rasmus Vuori spoke about the speed offered by 5G technology and how it, and a short delay, could help in creative fields.
  • Kings College Professor Mischa Dohler discussed the 6G technology of the future and the possibilities that it offers.
  • MIT Professor Muriel Médard spoke on the topic of Noise-centric decoding.
  • Aalto University Assistant Professor Yu Xiao spoke about how Cross Reality (XR) will be one of the key new applications of 5G technology.
  • The topic of KTH Professor James Gross was The Internet of Reality: Challenges, First Results and the Way Forward.
  • NTNU's Katina Kralevska spoke about Intent-based networking in 5G and beyond networks.

Smart Campus project to be launched in Africa

Several other gatherings were organised in the two weeks, planning concrete projects applying 5G technology to the needs of the Global South.

One key shared development target is the launch of extensive Smart Campus projects in key African cities. Finland's leading universities involved in developing and applying 5G technology met with Jyrki Pulkkinen, the Finnish Ambassador to Nigeria, in a virtual event. At the event steps needed to launch a concrete Smart Campus project were examined in cooperation with Africa's best universities.

The Smart Campus and Sustainable Solutions webinar was arranged in cooperation with the Smart Campus project, administered by the University of Oulu and funded by the Academy of Finland. Presented at the webinar were parts, purposes, and benefits for universities, companies, and other stakeholders of the Smart Campus concept, which is based on experiences and research at Finnish campuses, and which has even been seen to have export potential. The event was opened by Pekka Voutilainen, Ambassador for Trade and Development at the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. 

‘I am very satisfied that universities are developing concrete projects specifically for Africa, which is a very important continent for Finland’, Voutilainen said.

After that, Risto Jurva of the University of Oulu introduced the participants to the Smart Campus project and concept. Sub-systems of the project were discussed by, among others, Ville Rimali of Wärtsilä Oyj, Hannu Nikurautio of UROS Ltd. and Markku Turunen of the University of Tampere. A summary of the event was compiled by Marjaana Sall, Ambassador for Education at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Also introduced at the seminar was the INFOSPHERE project, developing a video information system of a smart campus. Implementing the project are the Saint Petersburg Electrotechnical University, Aalto University, and the South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences (XAMK).

Professor Kirsti Lonka of the University of Helsinki and Santeri Saarinen of the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences moderated a discussion on digital pedagogy, The aim of the workshop is to identify pedagogic solutions of the Smart Campus concept which also work in developing states.

Start North cooperation brings clear plans for the autumn

In the autumn, the development of 5G will move to a new level when the Start North network helps launch several 5G development projects for companies and other communities, including campuses in Africa. The student-driven Start North community has become one of the world's leading networks promoting 5G skills, knowledge, and applications with the world's leading companies and universities in the background. The projects begin with an assessment of the needs of the companies and other organisations and a compilation of project topics to make them easily available to students.

‘In addition to this, companies and students will soon have access to the 5G Productivity Accelerator website which offers information on 5G technology and its applications and on starting a development project. Through the pages companies and students will also be able to get expert assistance in the planning and implementation of the projects’, says Atte Leskinen of Start North.

The lectures of the summer course and those of the event are available for all to see until 31 July Start North YouTube channel. After that, access to the lectures and new updated material will be possible by registering on the 5G Productivity Accelerator pages.

Further information:
On the Backed by 5G event:
Atte Leskinen
[email protected]

On the 5G Hack the Mall summer course:
Laura Puusola
[email protected]

Backed by 5G, esitelmää pitämässä Miika Huttunen / Slush
Miika Huttunen from Slush gave a presentation at the Backed by 5G event. Photo: Start North / Atte Leskinen
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