Kingston University and Pangea to develop 5G video triage system for ambulances

Card image cap

Kingston University and Internet of Things (IoT) specialists Pangea are teaming up to develop a 5G video streaming service that could allow paramedics to triage patients from ambulances before reaching A&E

The project’s aim is to develop enriched video compression and data transfer techniques over 4G+ and 5G networks. Pangea said the tech would be “the first of its kind”.

Pangea said that ambulance trusts could save up to £90 million if response times were sped up by just 5 minutes.

"The idea is to give doctors and surgeons a virtual environment to see what they are dealing with in real time,” said Kingston’s professor of wireless communications Dr Christos Politis, one of the project leaders.

“It could help with triaging care or even allow medics to advise ambulance crews on treatment, improving chances of survival in life or death cases. It would mean medical teams know exactly what they are dealing with when the patient arrives at hospital, which would be a real game changer.

“Alongside speed increases which will rival those delivered by optical fibre, 5G will incorporate IoT technology, which opens up so many possibilities for the health sector and across the emergency services through the use of smart devices.”

Video compression specialist associate professor Dr Nada Philip, another project leader, said that the team would be trying to solve the challenge of how to deliver optimal high quality video consistently through wireless networks when travelling at high speed.

“When you stream multimedia content, it will be affected by different network conditions. We will be looking at how to ensure the moving images arrive in high-definition, allowing for accurate medical diagnosis.”

The project has received funding from government-backed public body Innovate UK.

Investing in 5G networks has become a key funding target for the UK government.

In September the West Midlands were selected to become the world’s first multi-city 5G test bed, meaning that hospital outpatients in the region could soon have emergency consultations with fast and reliable video links.