In this case study


One of University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver)'s goals within its strategic plan is serving as an anchor research institution to address urban issues through an open innovation district in downtown Denver. 

The United Nations projects that nearly two-thirds of the world's population will live in cities by 2050, and research universities are at the forefront of serving as valuable connectors in cities that partner with civic officials and nonprofit organizations to address and solve important urban challenges. 

When CU Denver envisioned the Smart Futures Lab Program to support its living lab incubator and accelerator program within Denver's new innovation district, it was clear that next-generation 5G wireless connectivity would be foundational.

The Smart Futures Lab Program is designed to promote achieving the vision of workforce development by creating more than 200 jobs within critical technology industries and help close the digital divide. CU Denver, in partnership with Colorado Smart Cities Alliance and Innosphere Ventures, was awarded a $2 million dollar grant in 2022 to launch the program.

Because adoption of 5G outside of service providers is still relatively new, CU Denver needed to find a partner that could help create a 5G lab to serve as a testbed for proving out smart city use cases. 


The Smart Futures Lab Program is designed to promote achieving the vision of workforce development by creating more than 200 jobs within critical technology industries and help close the digital divide.


CU Denver engaged WWT to create a solution that enables the university to meet its initial goal of creating a 5G testbed for its living Smart Futures Lab Program.

WWT's Enterprise Private Cellular Networks team collaborated with university stakeholders to develop a strong understanding of the university's use cases, priorities and desired outcomes. Our team also briefed stakeholders about 5G technology,  how it complements Wi-Fi , the current state of private cellular solutions, and the unique features and advantages of various OEMs.

From there, WWT designed a suggested architecture for the university's private cellular solution based on their stated priorities and desired outcomes. 

Knowing that the 5G testbed needs to grow and adapt as incubator teams, startups, private companies and city agencies engage with the testbed, the suggested architecture leverages open technology versus an out-of-the-box service provider solution. This approach equips CU Denver with system flexibility and ease of lifecycle management. 

We then collaborated with the appropriate OEMs and service partners — most notably RF Connect — to fine tune the architecture based on specific client needs. 

Our team developed a 5G solution that provided indoor coverage for the lab areas and outdoor coverage around the lab building to allow indoor and outdoor testing of solutions. 

The solution also allows CU Denver to upgrade its system quickly and easily as 5G technology continues to mature. To create momentum and ensure a successful install, WWT provided a technical expert and project manager to assist with implementation. 


After implementing WWT's private cellular solution, CU Denver is well positioned to launch and expand its 5G testbed. The university, public agencies and private companies will all be able to use the testbed to explore innovative work that addresses important urban challenges.

Additionally, the lab will allow the university to provide a custom curriculum with micro-credentialing on smart city technology and development of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies which ultimately provides local job growth and opportunities for CU Denver students to contribute to the Colorado community. 

Local public agencies, startups and smart city companies are all eager to leverage the lab to find new ways to improve the lives of those they serve.

Initial areas of work by Smart Futures Lab companies include:

  • Indoor micro-navigation systems for people with visual impairments
  • Smart mobility and transportation solutions for people with disabilities
  • Using drones to clean solar panels and arrays in locations that are difficult to access
  • Off-grid solar power to provide water for agriculture
  • Drinking water capabilities
  • Utility robots for non-road snow removal and off-road vegetation management
  • Smart and sustainable energy infrastructure and electromobility ecosystems
  • Improving traffic safety and traffic monitoring for vulnerable road users
  • Using augmented reality to foster collaboration between residents, designers and city governments within urban change
  • Smart and sustainable energy infrastructure and electromobility ecosystems

Learn more about CU Denver's Smart Futures Lab and explore  WWT's capabilities in the area of Private Cellular Networks.