Rogers launches 5G challenge to develop apps for mining industry

Rogers Communications said that interested startups need to submit their 5G proof-of-concept ideas by April 4

Canadian operator Rogers Communications announced the launch of a challenge to develop 5G applications for the mining industry.

In a release, Rogers said that the ‘Mining Technology Innovation Challenge’ is a Canada-wide competition for innovators to create 5G applications to enhance safety, productivity and operational improvements in the mining industry at a global level.

As part of the challenge, innovative startups and entrepreneurs from across Canada will develop and test technologies on the Rogers 5G wireless private network at the Rogers Technology Center of Excellence at the Norcat Underground Centre in Sudbury, Ontario.

Rogers said that the partners supporting the this challenge include Norcat, a specialist in skilled labor training and development and innovation services, and the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN), in collaboration with The Mining Innovation Commercialization Accelerator (MICA) and Dell Technologies.

Interested startups are asked to submit their proof-of-concept ideas by April 4. On April 21, finalists will be announced and invited to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges at a later date, including leaders from Rogers, Norcat and OVIN, as well as Dell, MICA, and leading Canadian mining companies.

Winners will receive up to  CAD100,000 ($72,800) worth of support, including CAD $25,000 in funding to develop their proof-of-concept within the Rogers Technology Center of Excellence at the Norcat Underground Centre for up to three months, with access to edge technologies by Dell. Throughout the three-month development period, winners will receive up to 100 hours of direct support from challenge partners, industry experts, and engineers.

Tom Turner, president of Rogers Business, said: “Supporting the 5G developer community in Canada with access to technology, industry experts, and world-class 5G networks, is critical to advancing innovation and safety across the Canadian mining, construction, and industrial sectors.”

“As the global mining industry continues to evolve, we have found that increased levels of collaboration, including challenge-based initiatives, have proven to be successful in unearthing fresh ideas and diverse perspectives, and we are thrilled to partner with Rogers, Dell Technologies, OVIN and MICA to further the acceleration, adoption and deployment of emerging technologies that have the potential to revolutionize the global mining industry,” said Don Duval, CEO of Norcat.

As part of this investment, Rogers said it will be adding a new 5G cell site and uplift to an existing tower on its public tower to bring 5G coverage to the Norcat Underground Center, enabling Norcat’s clients to develop, test and demonstrate scalable technologies, including tele-remote and autonomous operations, industrial IoT, asset tracking and drone mapping among many other use cases.

In October 2022, Rogers Communications and Norcat had announced a five-year strategic relationship to accelerate technology adoption in the global mining industry.

In 2021, Rogers Communications had announced the launch of its Standalone 5G core network in the country. Rogers is deploying its Standalone 5G network using Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G core. The Canadian operator had partnered with Ericsson in 2018 as its exclusive 5G vendor for its full network infrastructure, including core and Radio Access Network.

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