2021 was a milestone year in so many ways, with Covid-19 dominating the news agenda once again alongside other critical topics like sustainability, with the COP26 conference taking place in Glasgow, and the government’s levelling up agenda taking further shape.

On a personal note, it was also a massive year for BAI, with our partnerships with TfL and Sunderland City Council launching, as well as the acquisition of Vilicom, which will help us to expand our operations further and faster, particularly in areas such as indoor venues and offshore windfarms.

The building of the networks in both cities are well underway and 2021 drew to a close with exciting news that Three and EE joined our Hyperconnected London programme. Customers of these networks will be amongst the first to receive uninterrupted connection on the London Underground, providing a massive boost to the passenger experience.

The project will create a greener, safer and smarter London, where uninterrupted and faster connectivity will be available to communities and businesses across the city.

This year is already shaping up to be even more exciting, as we look forward to seeing the first stations on the London Underground be connected, including on the brand-new Elizabeth line. And in Sunderland, we are due to complete the 5G neutral host network build by this Summer, meaning businesses and communities can start accessing the great benefits this will bring.

These mark important steps on the journey to hyper-connecting UK cities. But what does this actually mean?

The new infrastructure in both cities will provide the foundation on which Internet of Things (IoT) applications can be built – from sensors that will provide access to real-time data to accurately monitor traffic and air pollution, to unlocking further Industry 4.0 benefits, including increasing supply chain agility through further development of self-driving vehicle trials.

Better connectivity will also help bridge the digital divide, for example in Sunderland the greater reach and capacity of the new connectivity will enable existing deployment of assistive technologies for vulnerable people to scale significantly, utilising sensors in their homes to support independent living.

Our mission at BAI is to connect the unconnected, and partnership is the key to succeeding in hyper-connecting our cities. We look forward to working with our partners this year to make further strides in improving connectivity across the UK, and look forward to sharing more as we reach our upcoming milestones.