- The Curiosity Lab in Peachtree Corners, GA, located An incubator program was unveiled just outside Atlanta this week to help developers create new use cases for 5G technology.
- With the 5G Connected Future incubator program, which enables access to T-Mobile’s 5G network, startups and entrepreneurs can develop and test solutions such as autonomous vehicles (AVs), drones and robotics. This is the latest initiative from the T-Mobile Accelerator, launched in Kansas City, MO, in 2014 to test and bring innovations to market.
- Program participants will work directly with technology and business leaders at the T-Mobile Accelerator, Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), and Georgia Tech’s Curiosity Lab. The initiative provides networking, education and access to research skills and ATDC students to evaluate and refine products.
The partnership between a city, private company, and academic institution is unique, especially as one government agency – the city of Peachtree Corners – owns all of the infrastructure, so it doesn’t require multiple permits in different jurisdictions to use it, said Betsy Plattenburg, executive director of the Curiosity Lab.
@PtreeCorners’ @CuriosityLabPTC is partnering with @TMobile & @GeorgiaTech to create a # 5G Connected Future # incubator program that will empower # entrepreneurs and # startups to develop the next big thing in 5G.https should support: //t.co/9JyYxysbL6 pic.twitter.com/7iNMMfoXUL
– Peachtree Corners GA (@PtreeCorners) February 17, 2021
The lab originally opened in 2019 in a 500-acre commercial office park and includes a 1.5-mile AV test track as well as places to test other technologies. Over 8,000 people live and work in the park, so the latest innovations can interact with the public.
Supporting new ways of moving people and goods is a 5G use case that is particularly exciting among officials involved in the Incubator, especially as a number of startups across the country looking to gain dominance in space, and if more experts examine the possibilities of delivering drones in cities
Peachtree Corners was also heavily involved in testing new mobility. In May 2020, for example, the micromobility company Tortoise and the scooter operator Go X controlled a tele-operated fleet in the city.
“There is still a little more to be discovered about where the right 5G services can be used,” said ATDC director John Avery. Firms at different stages can apply for the program, which is not time-limited like startup accelerator programs, although Avery said they may experiment with an accelerator structure in the future.
The park has had 5G since November 2019, so companies can test in a real environment. With T-Mobile as a partner and its network spread across the park, Avery said this will be a tremendous learning moment for the startups in the incubator.
“The startups have the ability to allow engineers at T-Mobile who actually own and operate the network to understand the details of how new features are used, and sometimes even adjust or change the settings of those features so they can activate their services. This is uniquely capable and required for a company to progress in this area, “he said.
The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the adoption of many innovations, Plattenburg said, including contactless payments and the use of AVs to deliver goods such as medical supplies and food. As the adoption of 5G continues, she predicted that these changes and innovations will continue to accelerate.
“The advent of 5G will create a similar, rapid change in the way people think about things and are willing to make changes,” said Plattenburg. “It’s a really interesting time for this confluence of things … I think the pandemic has forced people to look at things differently and to look at innovation differently.”