Pioneering work aiming to introduce cutting-edge digital technology to enhance the visitor experience of Nottinghamshire’s legendary Sherwood Forest is making ‘excellent progress’.
The research project to deliver 5G connectivity at the historic site was launched in February 2020 as part of a series of government-funded trials by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to maximise the potential of modern technology.
Nottinghamshire County Council, in partnership with academic researchers and local businesses, is leading the £10 million, 25-month test bed and trial programme to create the world’s first 5G Connected Forest at popular tourist attractions Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre and Rufford Country Park.
With funding of £5 million from the DCMS’s Rural Connected Communities programme, matched by the consortium partners, the project focuses on how 5G technology can support the tourism and environment protection sectors.
Project leaders say a selection of visitors to world-renowned tourist destination Sherwood Forest will be able to test and trial an augmented reality experience set in the woodland.
It is planned that visitors will be able to watch An Arrow Through Time via mixed reality headsets in what has been described as the ‘world’s first ever interactive holographic movie’.
The production has been put together by project partner Gooii Ltd and features an exciting cast of actors, including Black Mirror’s Dominic Le Moignan, using a script co-written by Bafta award-winning CBBC writer and producer Nick Hutchings.
An Arrow Through Time is one of many ways 5G Connected Forest is researching and developing innovative methods in which the technology can benefit tourism, the environment, and businesses.
Other pioneering initiatives which have taken place since the project was launched includes robot and drone technology. This technology is trialling how data can be gathered to monitor and assess the health and condition within a forest environment.
5G Connected Forest will also enable visitors to experience an augmented reality ‘ghost walk’ at nearby Rufford Mill, while an innovative app-based experience called Tags-in-the-Parks will be introduced to help bring visits to the park to life.
The county council is leading the project in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, Birmingham City University, Netmore IOT Solutions, Gooii, ISPB, Harworth Group, and Parkwood Leisure.
The project is also in collaboration with RSPB as Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve is managed by an RSPB-led consortium in partnership with the county council.
For information about 5G Connected Forest, go to https://5gconnectedforest.org.uk/