Accessing funds to support digital transformation

The arrival of 5G means all the benefits of the industrial internet of things are now within reach for manufacturers across the country. So, once you’ve identified how smart, connected manufacturing could benefit your business, how do you go about turning those plans in to reality?

All too often, lack of resources to test ideas, build use cases and invest in the technologies needed are mooted by manufacturers as barriers to taking advantage of the fourth industrial revolution. And while Testbed as a Service creates a real opportunity for manufacturers to test and prove their ideas before investing in the relevant infrastructure, access to finance remains a stubborn issue.

Thankfully, the eco-system around 5G is developing quickly, with a variety of projects, funding streams and competitions now open to help UK manufacturers unleash the power of 5G in their business.

FutureRAN is an open competition, run by DCMS, allocating up to £30million R&D funding to projects that support the goals of the government’s 5G Supply Chain Diversification Strategy. In this case, Open RAN refers to disaggregated networks and open architectures that will support the UK’s infrastructure innovation ecosystem and help transform the UK’s telecoms market, covering the development of physical hardware; software/virtualised solutions; testing with live networks; and accelerating and pulling forward the development of interoperable technologies. The first wave of successful applicants will be notified next month, with projects due to get off the ground from early 2022.

Another national initiative is Made Smarter – initially a review into the digital transformation of UK manufacturing that fed into the government’s industrial strategy and which has now evolved into a project to help local manufacturing businesses innovate, creating new opportunities and technologies in the process. The programme offers impartial advice from digital specialists (including a fully-funded assessment), support to create a digital roadmap for your business, access to digital natives who can help with technology strategy and implementation, dedicated learning hubs and sourcing funding to support the purchase of hardware and software required.

At nexGworx, we’re capable and willing to support the delivery of parties involved with both programmes. Signposting manufacturers to the best funding schemes and digital adoption support is a key part of our Testbed as a Service offer.
Increasingly the support is out there to drive digital adoption.

Get in touch to find out more about what’s available and how we could help you achieve your digital transformation goals.