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Latin American coup for Yorkshire


A Yorkshire research centre has won a prestigious contract as specialist consultants on a multi-billion dollar project to roll out interactive digital television across Brazil.

The work will see Yorkshire technology becoming part of a new world standard in digital television. It could open the door to the Latin American markets for Yorkshire companies working in wireless technology, providing a major boost to the region’s digital economy.

The team at the newly created Wireless Technologies Centre of Industrial Collaboration (CIC) will bring their expertise in digital TV broadcasting and satellite communications to the project, ensuring that viewers in the remotest areas of the country can benefit from interactive television as much as those in the big cities of Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paolo.

Professor Garik Markarian is leading the research group working on the project. Director of the Institute of Integrated Information Systems at the University of Leeds and an internationally renowned expert in communications technology, he was one of the original team, which created the European standard for digital television.

“Any country looking to bring in digital television can choose from the two standards which already exist, the US and European,” explains Professor Markarian. “But rather than choose one standard over another, the Brazilian government has decided to take the best of both and include recent technological advances to create a completely new standard of their own.”

Professor Markarian believes the contract is not only a great coup for the new centre, but is also good news for UK – and particularly Yorkshire – businesses:

“Our involvement in the project means some of the latest innovations which we’ve developed are likely to be incorporated into the new standard. We’re already working with UK industrial partners on creating the products to deliver these technologies, such as specialist components for televisions, transmission towers or set-top boxes. If the technology forms part of the new Brazilian standard, it will open a huge market for these products, which is a great opportunity for UK and Yorkshire companies working in this field.”

Brazil is bringing together experts from 20 of their own universities and major IT companies from the US and Europe to work on the project. Just two independent research teams will act as consultants to the project, one from the US and, from Europe, the Yorkshire-based Wireless Technologies CIC.

Brazil is the first country in Latin America to make the move to digital television and other countries in the region may follow suit and adopt the new standard, making the potential market even bigger.

Yorkshire Forward’s Senior Development Manager for Science and Innovation Ceri Williams said: “This is fantastic news and is a perfect example of what the Centres of Industrial Collaboration were set up to achieve: bringing inward investment to the region, promoting Yorkshire as a force for technology and innovation, and giving regional companies an economic advantage through the specialist knowledge the centres can offer.”

The Wireless Technologies CIC was launched in July this year bringing together researchers from the Universities of Leeds and Bradford. It is one of 14 centres set up by Yorkshire Forward and part-funded by the European Union to help businesses exploit world-class research carried out by Yorkshire and Humber’s universities.

Prof. Garik Markarian | alfa
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