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Startups and established small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with an interest in the internet of things (IoT) have been invited to take part in an Open Innovation challenge to address healthcare, transport and energy challenges on behalf of the city of Manchester.
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Convened by the CityVerve smart city demonstrator, with backing from networking supplier Cisco and Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP), the initiative will give SMEs the opportunity to work alongside academia, industry and the public sector to turn their ideas into technological reality, and test it out in a real-life setting.
The process will take place over an eight-week period from March 2018, and eight SMEs will be invited to take part following the selection process, which will close on 14 February.
“This is a hugely exciting part of the CityVerve demonstrator project where city partners have the opportunity to source and co-develop genuinely innovative solutions and trial them in a real-world environment,” said MSP head of innovation and partnerships Anne Dornan.
“We hope to attract some of the most innovative technology SMEs in the UK to work with the support of committed civic partners and global industry players to deploy some market-leading smart city solutions which not only improve key services in Manchester, but can be exported to cities globally,” she added.
MSP and Cisco have come up with four briefs to address: Health and Social Care, working with NHS Manchester to build a solution using data collected from home monitoring systems to enhance care for the elderly; Transport and Travel, working with Transport for Greater Manchester to build a solution that will either improve passenger experience on buses, trains and trams, or improve confidence in public transport; Energy and Environment, working with MSP to build an energy-saving, carbon-reduction solution for connected commercial buildings; and a Wildcard category for any entrants who don’t feel their idea fits the other briefs to use any data source available on the CityVerve platform to build a data-driven IoT solution.
“Without collaboration, any effort to solve the challenges facing society today fails at the first hurdle. No one organisation can truly do it alone. The answer lies in co-innovation, and this approach is fundamental to the Open Innovation challenges,” said Cisco’s European director of innovation, Nick Chrissos.
“This is an exciting opportunity not only for our country’s best SMEs to test their technology, but for us to work with them. We are looking forward to seeing what solutions are created to help solve challenges facing Manchester not only today, but in the future.”
Besides opportunities to collaborate with a diverse range of smart city and IoT sector leaders and a £5,000 grant, participants will get access to a number of perks from Cisco, including access to its global sales channel to scale future projects, while MSP and Growth Studio will provide product development, business masterclasses, and introductions to potential investors.