In 2016, ZTE and the federal state of Carinthia entered into a digitisation partnership with the aim of making Carinthia the digital flagship region of Europe. In October 2018, this partnership was advanced with the clear objective of strengthening Carinthia as a location for mobility, tourism and business through the use of 5G technology.
Throughout the course of this partnership and in cooperation with the project "Smart Urban Region Austria Alps Adriatic (SURAAA)", the first intelligent lighting masts in Austria and autonomous driving systems were put into operation in Pörtschach / Wörthersee in 2017 as a leading Austrian project. In 2018 the innovation room,“see:PORT”, followed in Pörtschach with a focus on digitalisation, Smart City and start-ups. In June 2019, the presentation of automated air taxis (passenger drones) was launched.
As a result of this declaration of intent, to further strengthen the region and to expand the first 5G tourism community in Austria, Drei, ZTE, SURAAA and the federal state of Carinthia took the next big step in the implementation of future telecom technology in Austria. On 13 August 2019, live operation of 5G in Pörtschach / Wörthersee begun.
DI Jan Trionow, CEO of Drei Austria: "While others are still talking about "5G ready", the digital future in the flagship region of Wörthersee is already a reality. With the start of the fifth mobile radio generation in Pörtschach, Drei will offer a more efficient Internet supply for Carinthian households and companies. The support of innovative regions is a large request to us as 5G helps to reduce the digital divide between the city and country and creates important new impulses for tourism, transport, medicine and agriculture."
During the press conference at see:PORT, the project partners presented smart applications in order to make the new advantages for the population, environment, tourism and companies of the region a real experience.
Using interactive showcases, visitors could enjoy a 360-degree live view of the “Wörthersee” tourism region with virtual reality glasses and marvel at the revolutionary high-speed transfer speeds of up to one gigabit per second with a live demo of the latest 5G smartphone from the ZTE Axon 10 Pro series.
Christian Woschitz, Msc, CEO of ZTE Austria: "With the introduction of 5G in Pörtschach, today we are enabling the future of telecommunications in Carinthia by pointing out the promising future opportunities by means of smart applications. Thus, the existing cooperation between ZTE and the state of Carinthia, together with our long-standing partner Drei, will be raised to the next level. ZTE Austria sees it as an important task to strengthen Carinthia as a business and tourism location with international knowledge and generate local added value in Carinthia through co-operations, such as the one with IoT40 Systems. With the intensification and expansion of our partnership, we will make an important contribution to Carinthia's tourism, environment and society".
Bee-o-Meter. 5G Bee counter against bee mortality
Together, Drei, ZTE, SURAAA and the Carinthian company IoT40 Systems have designed the Bee-O-Meter and have installed it on the roof of the see:PORT in Pörtschach / Wörthersee. It is a smart beehive that not only counts the bees that fly out and return, but also monitors the surrounding environment. Via a 5G live stream of Drei, the beekeeper can keep a constant eye on the bees. If environmental pollution with measurable, negative influences on the bee colony occurs in the environment, the Bee-O-Meter immediately sounds the alarm. The evaluation of the collected measurement data by an artificial intelligence in the cloud allows conclusions to be drawn about the bee-hostile pesticide load in the environment of the hive within one day. In cooperation with the Federal State of Carinthia, the aim was set to equip a larger test region in Carinthia with Bee-O-Meters in 2020. The data collected in this way could then be used for research into bee diseases or to determine the purity level of Carnica bees.
Deepening project partnership and future ideas
The project partners have declared to continue and further develop their cooperation. In the course of this, there will be a 5G-Infodesk for visitors at see:PORT Pörtschach (Hauptstrasse 204, BKS building, 2nd floor), where interested visitors from the region can inform themselves about the latest developments of 5G products as well as facts about 5G and also test 5G live (on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.).
Dr. Albert Kreiner, Office of the Federal State Government: "I am very pleased that we have been able to win leading global companies, such as Drei and ZTE, as partners to strengthen the region and develop Carinthia as a business location. We have also jointly put the first 5G network into operation in Pörtschach / Wörthersee. I am convinced that with the 5G start in Pörtschach, we have taken an important further step for the benefit of the population, companies, agriculture and tourism in the region. Pörtschach will thus become the first 5G tourism community in Austria."
For Dr. Kreiner, head of the Dept. 7 - Economy, Tourism and Mobility in the Carinthian Federal State Government, the promotion of innovation that benefits people and the economy is central. "We want to promote and attract favourable innovation in Carinthia and successfully continue the digitisation offensive in the economy, tourism and mobility in order to remain competitive in the future. The 5G technology is an essential element of the future, so the future in Pörtschach / Wörthersee is already a reality today".
Mag. Silvia Häusl-Benz, Member of the Federal State Parliament and Mayor of Pörtschach: "Pörtschach / Wörthersee is pleased to be able to take on a pioneering role again and expects a positive effect for citizens, tourism and the economy in the community. Pörtschach is once again a showcase community for digital applications and therefore we hope to be able to welcome many start-ups and companies to Pörtschach / Wörthersee in the future".
Walter Prutej, project manager of the R&D project, Smart Urban Region Austria Alps Adriatic SURAAA: "For SURAAA, the advantages of 5G applications are obvious: the new technology offers transfer rates of up to one gigabit per second and is required for our future technologies, such as autonomous driving or automated flight taxis. With the 5G standard, Pörtschach is also taking a further step towards an open 5G future laboratory for companies and start-ups. The see:PORT will thus become the first 5G Co-Working Space in Carinthia and Austria, giving domestic startups and companies a significant market advantage. Through 5G, Pörtschach also gets the best prerequisites for the new tourism target group of digital nomads (working around the globe regardless of location) - the beautiful Wörthersee landscape and a super-fast Internet connection."