Singtel to push forward with 5G cloud gaming trial

In partnership with Razer and Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), Singtel is testing the readiness of its network to capitalise on the fast-growing cloud gaming segment.

As a concept, cloud gaming is attracting a lot of attention in the industry and is attempting to wrestle the crown of go-to 5G usecase away from robotic surgery. Now it seems the Singapore consortium is getting in on the act with its own trials.

“While this is not the roll out of a commercial cloud gaming service, this opportunity is the first step for Singapore to spearhead 5G projects,” said Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan.

“5G is a literal game-changer when it comes to cloud gaming,” said Mr Yuen Kuan Moon, CEO, Consumer Singapore at Singtel. “Latency and bandwidth are crucial to internet streaming and 5G will deliver next-generation connectivity that will support immersive gaming, even on mobile devices.”

The trial itself will focus on the demands of cloud gaming as a usecase on a 5G network, as well as the design and engineering of low latency hardware for cloud gaming. More specifically on the hardware side, ultra-fast responsiveness, portability and seamless device-to-device sync to cloud servers will be the focus of investigations.

With mobile devices commanding growth revenues in the gaming industry, the cloud gaming usecase is charging-up the priority list for telcos. This is perhaps particularly prevalent in the APAC markets, where mobile gaming has gained more traction than the Western markets, though it should not be forgotten this is very applicable for consoles also.

Perhaps the most encouraging sign for the cloud gaming segment is the aggressive moves being made by the internet giants to gain supremacy in the space. Amazon, Microsoft and Google are all fighting for attention in the early days, though it is worth bearing in mind more niche players such as Nvidia and HTC are also making moves.

This is maybe one of the most encouraging signs for telcos. Usually, there is very much a ‘built it and they will come’ attitude for network investment, though with cloud gaming services already being created and marketed, the demand from service providers is awaiting the creation of networks.


M23 Smart Motorway upgrades near Gatwick Airport get underway

Work to turn part of the M23 around Gatwick into a ‘smart motorway’ has reached a ‘significant milestone’, Highways England has said.

The multi-million-pound project aims to reduce congestion and help speed up journeys on an 11-mile section of the motorway.

Work on the upgrade started in June last year, and the first stage will be open for traffic next spring, Highways England said.

David Macleod, Highways England’s project manager for the M23, said: “We are making good progress on this vital upgrade for the M23. Already, we have strengthened and prepared the hard shoulder for use as a new traffic lane and are starting to install the new technology infrastructure along the motorway verges.

“Work continues on the hard shoulder, but we are also switching to the central reserve by installing a new concrete barrier, which is far safer, stronger and longer lasting than the metal one it replaces.

“The M23 is a crucial part of the UK strategic road network connecting Crawley and Gatwick Airport to the M25 motorway, routes into London and the rest of the UK.

“This marks a significant milestone for this strategically and economically important scheme and we’re on schedule to open the improved motorway to traffic by spring next year.”

Construction on the motorway will start switching from the road’s verges and into the central reservation, so the project team can continue to work to add extra lanes and new congestion-busting technology.

The switch will be carried out with a series of closures starting next week, Highways England said.

The southbound M23 will be closed between junction 8 at Mersham and junction 10 for Copthorne overnight for four nights from Monday (October 21), between 9pm until 5am each night.

A fully signed diversion will be in place via junction 6 Godstone of the M25, A22, A264 and join the M23 at junction 10.

Drivers are being advised to allow extra time for their journeys if they are using the road while diversion are in place, and to drive with extra care as the road layout changes.

Two Network Rail leaders internationally recognised among most influential women in engineering

The Financial Times has selected two Network Rail leaders to appear on the most influential females in engineering list.

Just 16.4% of the rail industry in made up of women, but today (17 Oct) has seen the international recognition of two of those women for their contribution to engineering.

Board member Bridget Rosewell CBE, has secured third place in The Financial Times’ ranking of the top 100 Influential Women Leaders in Engineering, UK and Europe.

Loraine Martins MBE, Network Rail’s director of diversity and inclusion is also included on the esteemed list.

Andrew Haines, Network Rail chief executive, said:

“We are proud that both Bridget and Loraine have made the list. They’re role models for Network Rail and the industry.”

“As influential female leaders, they’ve helped us progress towards having a more diverse workforce that better represents the communities we serve.”

Ms Rosewell joined the Network Rail Board in 2011 and is currently serving as senior independent director.

In addition to being Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, senior advisor to Volterra and non-executive chair on Atom Bank, she was awarded a CBE in 2019 for her services to the economy.

Ms Martins joined Network Rail in 2012 heads a centre of expertise dedicated to the organisation’s ambition to be more open, diverse and inclusive, with particular work of getting more women into the rail industry.

She works to ensure the rail industry is always improving its facilities and accessibility for all passengers and colleagues, and creating an industry where diversity and inclusion is celebrated.

Ms Martins was awarded her MBE for her work leading a team on equality, inclusion and employment for the Olympic Park for London construction in 2012.

The list will be officially launched at the Inclusive Boards Women in Engineering Leadership Conference on 22 October.

Will £26m M4 tunnel cause wildlife issues?

Work is close to starting on building a £26m tunnel from the new development at Wichelstowe under the M4.

The project aims to help create 2,000 jobs by freeing up land earmarked for new businesses close to the 4,500-home development.

The underpass will join roads from Wichelstowe to those south of the motorway in the far south west corner of the site.

The Deanery Academy secondary school hosted a display of the plans yesterday.

Officers from Swindon Borough Council’s highways department, and staff from the council’s contractor Alun Griffiths were in the cafe of the school to show plans and answer questions.

One visitor to the exhibition Richard Parry said: “It’s a massive job. They told me that the motorway will stay open nearly every day and there will be some disruption but it won’t be shut for a long time.

“That’s quite impressive if they manage to do it without terrible traffic.”

Other visitors to the site were concerned about wildlife – the new road from the village centre to the underpass will run through green fields and areas of small woodlands.

One said: “What are you doing for the wildlife that will be affected?”

Senior project manager for Alun Griffiths Roger Walker said: “There is an area set aside in the north of the site for wildlife. Any animals we find or disturb will be moved there and there’s a special fence to prevent reptiles from getting back to where we’re working so they stay safe.”

Tim Mann is the programme manager for the highways department. He said: “It’s been quite busy, there’s a lot of interest in where it’s going to go and what’s going to happen.”

The underpass must be built as the planning permission for the whole Wichelstowe development is conditional on it being there.

A new roundabout will be constructed south of the motorway joining the southern access road to Hay Lane heading south and Wharf Road towards Wroughton and an access to junction 16 of the M4.

With work starting soon, it is expected that the whole project will be completed in mid 2021. Staff will be on hand in the cafe next to the reception at the Deanery Academy again on Tuesday between 3pm and 7pm.

In 2020 during construction, the section of the M4 will have a 50mph limit and narrowed lanes but the council has confirmed three lanes will be kept on both sides. Restrictions will be in place for 10 months.

New Offices!!

“The UK’s Best Recruitment Company to Work For” is Expanding … 3 New Office Locations!

Carrington West are an award-winning recruitment agency specialising within the Built Environment sector covering Water, Buildings, Utilities, Town Planning, Highways and Rail.

Currently with a record number of temporary contractors across the Public and Private sectors and the most permanent placements made to date we are now looking to increase our headcount from 55 to over 75 in the next 12 months alone.

As a result of this continued growth Carrington West are pleased to announce the opening of 3 further offices across the UK in order to partner our clients more closely within our specialist areas. As such we now have our Head Office in Portsmouth followed by three further offices in Manchester, Birmingham and London.

If any clients within the Built Environment sector working in these locations are looking for a specialist recruitment agency, please do contact us on our office numbers below to discuss your requirements:

Head Office – Lakeside 1000, North Harbour, Western Rd, Portsmouth, PO6 3EN Tel: 02393 876 000

London Office – 5 Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1LG Tel: 0207 406 7582

Manchester Office – 76 King Street, Manchester, M2 4NH Tel: 0161 817 5023

Birmingham Office – The Colmore Building, 20 Colmore Circus, Queensway, Birmingham B4 6AT Tel: 0121 262 4156

Highways England prepares for Brexit with additions to workforce

Officials have confirmed extra workers are to be taken on to help check the paperwork of lorry drivers heading to Europe after Brexit.

Highways England played down reports it is recruiting additional staff who have no experience after job adverts appeared online suggesting none would be required.

A recruitment agency described the jobs on offer as needing no experience with the main task of those taken on “to check lorry drivers and ensure that they have the appropriate documentation with them”.

According to reports, workers would be based along the M20 near Maidstone, with three eight-hour shifts ensuring the road is patrolled around the clock.

In a statement, Highways England said it would provide training to workers taken on and that there was no intention of them carrying out the same duties as its traffic officers.

“We have taken on the additional task of helping the government with pre-border readiness checks on the M20, if they are needed,” it said.

“The arrangements include limited additional powers for our traffic officers, but these are specific to Operation Brock and we do not have an enforcement role.

“We may need additional temporary staff to assist us with this, but they will not be carrying out the day-to-day duties of our traffic officers and will have appropriate training.”

There was no question those taken on would be carrying out customs checks as these would remain with Border Force officers, a spokesman for Highways England added.

Scottish Government launches £3bn green investment programme

The Scottish Government has launched a £3 billion green investment programme

The Green Investment Portfolio will give local authorities, developers and third sector organisations the opportunity to pitch for large scale investment to support projects reducing Scotland’s emissions in areas like renewables, waste, transport and the circular economy.

Announcing the launch in Edinburgh, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon First Minister said:

“Scotland is determined to lead the transition to a net-zero carbon economy, and we have been clear that we must leave no-one behind.

“With 85% of the finance for this transition coming from the private sector, we must do everything we can to help all parts of the economy contribute to net-zero emissions by 2045.

“The Green Investment Portfolio supports our ethical finance ambitions by matching projects which are reducing emissions with investors so we can fully maximise their potential and promote them globally.

“This could include projects that are making buildings more energy efficient, reducing industrial emissions or even restoring peatlands. Our aim is to take to market a £3 billion portfolio of investable projects over the next three years.”

The Green Investment Portfolio will work with partners, including Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish National Investment Bank, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Futures Trust, UK Department for International Trade, Scottish Renewables and the Scottish Property Federation to bring together the private and public sector-led projects.

Successful projects which are aligned to the Scottish Government’s climate change targets will receive marketing and development advice to help them raise their international profile and attract private sector investment at overseas events.

The Green Investment Portfolio is estimated to be worth £3 billion over a three-year period, with the first tranche of projects expected to be launched in spring 2020.

Water sector priorities highlighted in Environment Bill

The government will today (15 October) introduce a landmark Bill to Parliament to tackle the biggest environmental priorities, with the protection of water resources and an ambition to secure resilient water and wastewater services outlined.

The Bill also makes reference to powers to direct water companies to work together to meet current and future demand for water.

According to the government, the Bill will help the UK ensure that it maintains and improves environmental protections when leaving the EU.

Environmental principles will be enshrined in law and measures will be introduced to improve air and water quality, tackle plastic pollution and restore habitats so plants and wildlife can thrive.

Legislation will also create, legally-binding environmental improvement targets. A new independent Office for Environmental Protection will be established to scrutinise environmental policy and law, investigate complaints and take enforcement action against public authorities, if necessary, to uphold environmental standards. The office’s powers will cover all climate change legislation and hold the government to account on its commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

The Bill also places the government’s ambition of its flagship 25 Year Environment Plan on a statutory footing and goes beyond the key government commitments outlined earlier this year by confirming powers to enhance nature and habitats and combat the devastating effects of plastics on the natural environment.

The Bill, announced in the Queen’s Speech and introduced today, will:

  • Ensure the environment is at the heart of all government policy making and that this government – and future governments – are held to account if they fail to uphold their environmental duties, including meeting net-zero by 2050, and wider long-term legally binding targets on biodiversity, air quality, water, and resource and waste efficiency established under the Bill;
  • Improve air quality – by fighting pollution so children and young people can live longer healthier lives. We will do this by setting an ambitious, legally-binding target to reduce fine particulate matter, PM2.5, and by increasing local powers to address sources of air pollution, enabling local authorities to work with families to cut harmful pollution from domestic burning by using cleaner fuels. The government will also be empowered to mandate manufacturers to recall vehicles when they do not meet the relevant environmental standards;
  • Restore and enhance nature – through ‘biodiversity net gain’ ensure that the new houses we build are delivered in a way which protects and enhances nature, helping to deliver thriving natural spaces for local communities. We will improve protection for our natural habitats in supporting a Nature Recovery Network by establishing Local Nature Recovery Strategies and giving communities a greater say in the protection of local trees;
  • Transform the way we manage our waste – through powers to ensure that producers take responsibility for the waste they create, introducing a consistent approach to recycling, tackling waste crime, introducing bottle deposit return schemes and more effective litter enforcement. Powers to introduce new charges will minimise the use and impacts of single use plastics;
  • Protect precious water resources – by increasing sustainable water management through securing long-term, resilient water and wastewater services in the face of a changing climate. Powers to direct water companies to work together to meet current and future demand for water will make planning more robust.

While the Bill applies only to England, more than half of its measures – such as those designed to drive up recycling rates – are designed to apply across the UK, with the consent of devolved administrations, helping the nation deal with the major environmental challenges we face together.

Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said: “Our natural environment is a vital shared resource and the need to act to secure it for generations to come is clear.

“That’s why our landmark Environment Bill leads a green transformation that will help our country to thrive. It positions the UK as a world leader on improving air quality, environmental biodiversity, a more circular economy, and managing our precious water resources in a changing climate.

“Crucially, it also ensures that after Brexit, environmental ambition and accountability are placed more clearly than ever before at the heart of government, both now and in the future.”

Specifically on the water side, the key areas where changes will bring benefits include:

  • The Bill will deliver on the government’s pledge in its 25 Year Environment Plan to ensure everyone has access to a clean and plentiful water supply
  • An improvement to the long-term management of water, including providing for cooperation across water company boundaries
  • Measures to prevent environmentally damaging removal of water from the environment.


Industry reaction:

Water UK spokesperson said: “It’s good to see that the Environment Bill focuses on many issues the water industry has been calling for action on, like a commitment to clear, long-term targets and the need to have resilient water supplies and drainage.

“Water companies are passionate about playing a positive role in protecting our natural world, as shown in the industry’s Public Interest Commitment which by 2030 will prevent the equivalent of four billion plastic bottles ending up as waste, and see the industry have net-zero carbon emissions.

“In the face of climate change and population growth, business as usual is not an option. We all need to take action to protect the nation’s water supplies, ensuring the best possible service for customers while protecting our environment. We look forward to working with the government to achieve this.”

Railway workforce celebrated on #StationsDay today

Today (Oct 15) is #StationDay in the UK, dedicated to celebrating British railways, its stations and the hard-working staff and volunteers who keep it running day after day.

A £48bn investment was announced by Government back in 2017 to upgrade and modernise the rail networks and stations, a project being worked on as we speak.

There are currently 240,000 individuals dedicated to keeping the trains on track in the UK, ranging from station staff to local volunteers.

In 2018 alone, 1.8 billion passenger journeys were made in Great Britain, a 4.8 million a day average. All of whom can enjoy and will continue to enjoy improved passenger information and upgraded accessibility.

Rail Minister, Chris Heaton-Harris, said:

“Today we are celebrating the brilliant people at the heart of our railways, whose dedication and enthusiasm makes the journeys of millions of passengers every day that bit better.”

“More than 2,500 stations on our network have played a central role in our villages, towns and cities for over a century. Together with industry, we are working to provide passengers with more modern and accessible stations, ensuring our railways continue to connect people across the country”

South Western Railway (SWR) have chosen to highlight two men with a combined industry contribution of 123 years, for their extremely high standards of care and dedication to customers.

Alan Penlington, customer experience director at SWR, said:

“Stations Day is a great way to celebrate the dedication of rail staff across the industry. From young and old, just starting out to the most experienced, there are thousands of stories to be told of employees going above and beyond and doing a fantastic job.

“We’re proud of the work our station staff and an army of volunteers do day in, day out, to ensure we can deliver the best services for our passengers.”

The recent ‘Get into Railway’ scheme launched by the Prince’s Trust and SWR is also being championed with a celebration of young apprentices at the start of their career in the rail industry.

Why UK drivers are choosing not to buy more electric cars

The electric vehicle revolution has hit a roadblock in the United Kingdom.

The government’s ambitious plan to ban all petrol and diesel car sales by 2040 will require a serious shift in buying habits—at present, electric cars account for only about 1% of new vehicle sales in the UK.

A lack of enthusiasm is not the problem. More than half (57%) of British people would consider buying an electric car if it was “available at the right price for them,” according to a recent YouGov survey commissioned by insurance company Aviva. The interest only increases with the younger generation, with 73% of respondents aged 18-24 reporting they would consider an EV.

So why are UK drivers holding off? According to the survey, many believe that the cost and logistics of owning an EV simply aren’t in their favor. Most worry about an EV’s battery range, or the distance it could travel before it needed to be recharged. It’s no surprise that many drivers experience range anxiety, especially since cold weather and length of use can shorten an advertised distance.

Other top concerns include the price tag, finding a place to charge, and the time it would take to charge the vehicle.

In London, four out of five cars are parked on the street, which makes the use of an at-home charger difficult. (London and Richmond-upon-Thames are both experimenting with turning lampposts into charging stations.) One UK Redditor noted that for those who park on the street and don’t have a private driveway at home, owning an EV doesn’t make sense: “That’s an enormous barrier to entry that I can see no way of overcoming without lining our roads with charging points…and I don’t see anyone looking to do that.”

But at least city dwellers can find charging stations nearby. Rural drivers face a far more limited network. Charger locater Zap Map estimates that there are more than 14,300 stations in the United Kingdom. A look at its map of England shows that many stations are concentrated in London and other major cities, while large gaps in coverage appear in both the Midlands and the North of England.

The loss of subsidies has also contributed to the UK’s sluggish EV sales. The government axed grants for hybrid vehicles altogether last year, and reduced the payout for electric vehicles by £1,000.