UK government launches Internet of Things competition for smart city development

The Internet of Things competition is part of the UK government's wider £40m investment in IoT announced in March
The Internet of Things competition is part of the UK government’s wider £40m investment in IoT announced in March

In the UK, the government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and executive non-departmental public body, Innovate UK have set up an Internet of Things competition to encourage smart city development.

The UK government, through the DCMS and Innovate, will offer £10m in prize money to a single research and development project put forward by UK cities and businesses.

Proposals submitted are required to demonstrate the capability of the Internet of Things to deliver improvements to the economy, environment and public sector, including exploring areas such as energy, transport and healthcare.

Ed Vasizey, the UK’s Digital Economy minister believe that the Internet of things is becoming ingrained into everyday life and adds that IoT is a major growth area, anticipated to have a “transformative” effect on society.

Says Vasizey: “Cities can use [the] Internet of Things to improve services for their citizens, increase quality of life and make better-informed decisions more quickly. The success of cities will depend on them working in new ways with new partners.

“This competition will be instrumental in discovering new connections between city services and their users, and identifying many more advantages that the IoT could offer.”

Competition specifications

According to TechWeek Europe, IoT projects submitted needs to be a collaborative effort – “including at least one local authority, or have a partnership with a local enterprise or the equivalent outside England.”

Internet of Things projects include urban public infrastructure improvements such as the use of smart lighting and sensors that allow a city to gather data on footfall, air quality and noise pollution. Traffic and road sensors are often used to provide data to ease congestion and lower emissions.

Innovate UK deputy director for government partnerships, Nick Appleyard, commented: “The Internet of Things is on the brink of connecting communities and commerce across the UK. The transformative technology will make our lives more connected, allowing us to make more informed decisions based on data and drive the productivity of companies.

“The UK has the opportunity to become a world leader in this sector, boosting the economy and creating the jobs of tomorrow. Innovate UK has a vital part to play in working with companies and local partnerships to make this happen.”