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Manchester CityVerve launches smart tech competition



Door open for up to eight SMEs to win support for initiatives in using IoT for public service solutions

Manchester’s CityVerve programme has launched a competition for SMEs to come up with technology solutions for a handful of public sector challenges.

Named Open Innovation, the competition will lead to the selection of eight SMEs to take part in an eight-week initiative to combine technology and data in dealing with problems in healthcare, transport and energy.

It is being run by Cisco – which is leading CityVerve in a partnership with Manchester City Council and the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership – and Manchester Science Partnerships, a strategic group of the local authority and universities.

They have announced four briefs for the challenge:

  • Health and social care – Create a solution using data from home monitoring solutions to trigger interventions and care for the elderly.
  • Transport and travel – Develop an infrastructure or consumer solution to ease the passenger experience and increase confidence in public transport.
  • Energy and environment – Create a non-intrusive and cost-effective solution to optimise energy consumption and reduce carbon emissions in commercial buildings.
  • Wildcard – Solutions using the internet of things and data to deal with another public sector issue.

The winning initiatives will get under way in March and involve the selected SMEs working within the CityVerve IoT testbed with partners from the public sector, academia and the corporate world.

The successful companies will receive grants of £5,000 to showcase their technology to industry leaders at a CityVerve demo data later in the year, and some will receive support from Cisco in scaling up the solutions through its sales channels.

Nick Chrissos (pictured), director of innovation at Cisco in Europe, said: “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. This is an exciting opportunity not only for our country’s best SMEs to test their technology, but for us to work with them.”

The competition is open for entries until 14 February and the selection day will be 5 March.

CityVerve is focused on an area to the south of Manchester’s city centre for the development of IoT technology in solutions for public services.

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