Samsung and O2 are building connected 5G ambulances for the NHS

Korean tech giant Samsung has partnered with telecoms firm O2 to help build connected 5G ambulances for the NHS.

The partners will begin testing the next-generation ambulances later this month. Eight ambulances from the East of England Ambulance Trust will be equipped with new technologies including support for real-time video and field data collection.

Derek McManus, COO at O2 said: “It’s no secret there is increasing pressure on our health services. Healthcare is one of the areas set to benefit most from 5G technology, with faster, more effective treatment, and significant efficiency savings.

“That’s why we’re supporting the Smart Ambulance trials as part of the AutoAir 5G project to accelerate the adoption of connected and self-driving technology and unlock the benefits of 5G for communities and businesses alike”.

Samsung is providing Galaxy S10 5G devices for the trial. O2 will supply the 5G connectivity at Millbrook’s Proving Ground – a vehicle testing facility in Bedford – where the trials will take place before they’re made public.

Alex Burns, President of Millbrook, said: “We are delighted to be hosting the AutoAir consortium at Millbrook and this project will demonstrate the benefits that 5G technology can bring to society. We look forward to helping with the tests over the network at Millbrook as part of our support for the development of connected vehicles.”

Technology from Visionable, a startup backed by O2’s parent company Telefonica, will be deployed in the ambulances. Visionable already provides real-time video and remote care technology for 50 NHS trusts.

Launchcloud, a form solution for field workforces to collect and automate data, will also be providing its expertise for the trial.

Together, here’s what the partners hope the 5G ambulances will achieve:

  • Unlimited participants and data feeds for live conferencing

  • Visionable’s video and voice collaboration platform

  • Visionable’s patented pixel-for-pixel picture quality (allowing for clearer and more accurate use in medical scenarios i.e. scans)

  • Launchcloud’s versatile data collection app with automation, reporting and communication tools

  • Launchcloud’s API Integration with many applications including Salesforce, OneDrive and Microsoft Dynamics

  • Dynamic forms on tablets

Lynda Sibson, Stroke Telemedicine Manager East of England Stroke Telemedicine Stakeholder Partnership: “When someone has a stroke, every minute counts. We have been successfully working with Visionable to bring critical stroke care to patients wherever they are, bringing life-saving treatment and diagnosis to thousands of people across the East of England.

“Extending this type of care into Smart Ambulances is an exciting next step in critical and pre-hospital emergency care. Being able to bring experts to patients regardless of their location will help save lives while reducing some of the strain on clinicians and the NHS.”

In research conducted by O2 last year, 5G video conferencing alone was found to potentially free-up 1.1 million hours per year for the NHS. Cities could save £463 million per year and hospital bed occupancy rates could decline six percent through the adoption of wearable monitoring devices.

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