BT Group is the UK’s leading telecommunications and network provider and a leading provider of global communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities in the UK include the provision of fixed voice, mobile, broadband and TV (including Sport) and a range of products and services over converged fixed and mobile networks to consumer, business and public sector customers. For its global customers, BT provides managed services, security and network and IT infrastructure services to support their operations all over the world.
Adastral Park, Suffolk is home to BT’s Applied Innovation Labs, Innovation Martlesham (a cluster of over 100 high-tech digital and technology companies), as well as educational initiatives. It is at the heart of the UK’s digital ecosystem and combines a national operation centre, test facilities and a global R&D unit, all set amongst a thriving community of collaborative technological innovation.
Recognised globally for communications research and development, Adastral Park has over 3,600 scientists, IT experts and engineers, many of whom are world leaders in their specialist fields, working at the forefront of new technologies and standards development in areas such as broadband applications, IP and data networks and converged services.
In 2020/2021 BT invested £720 million in research and development making it one of the leading R&D spenders amongst UK companies and telco’s worldwide. BT is an active participant in UK collaborative research and development and is currently participating in eight projects under Innovate UK Programmes. BT has previously participated in the DTI Technology Programme and the DTI LINK Programme.
As a partner for the Robot Highways Project, BT is developing a dynamic and flexible cloud-edge architecture for use in robotics applications, as well as providing connectivity. This involves delivering computational resources for operational decision making; in the cloud or at the edge of the network using an edge-cloud testbed, based on requirements from the farmer and the robot provider. The testbed being developed employs a containerised approach that can flex to support the compute and network requirements of components. It also uses digital twins to represent the robots virtually in the network, supporting greater monitoring and control.
Prof John Davies, Senior Research Manager, leads the Robot Highways project for BT.