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Government announces a £10m Internet of Things competition seeking proposals to demonstrate the capability of IoT for delivery of services in a city

The Department for Culture, Media & Sport, Ed Vaizey MP and Innovate UK have today jointly announced a £10m government fund under which cities and businesses can bid for funding for a single collaborative research and development two year project to demonstrate the capability of Internet of Things in a city region.

Part of a wider £40 million government investment in IoT announced in March 2015, for this competition UK cities and businesses will be encouraged to apply for a £10m fund by submitting proposals using the Internet of Things (IoT) to benefit citizens by offering environmental improvements, economic opportunities, and more efficient and effective delivery of services such as transport, healthcare and energy.

Briefing events for potential applicants are accepting registrations: 


IoT sector forecast to exceed £255 billion in five years

The announcement cited a report by Arup that estimated that the global value of the IoT sector will exceed £255 billion a year by 2020.

Examples provided in the announcement of IoT currently working in cities includes:

  • Smart lighting and sensing allowing gathering and sharing information on footfalls, air quality and noise pollution levels;
  • Passenger journey measurement and location-based services to help speed up journeys and enhance passenger experiences across various forms of transport;
  • Data collection from traffic and road sensors to help ease congestion and reduce emissions.


Discovering new connections between city services and users

The Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said, “The Internet of Things is rapidly becoming part of our everyday lives. The UK technology sector is renowned for its creativity and pioneering research and development. This competition will be instrumental in discovering new connections between city services and their users, and identifying many more advantages that the Internet of Things could offer.

Nick Appleyard, Innovate UK’s deputy director for government partnerships, added, “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.”


Projects must be local authority or LEP led

Projects must be collaborative and led by a local authority or local enterprise partnership (or an equivalent body outside England). Projects should involve at least one local authority, one local enterprise partnership and several businesses.

All competition entries must involve IoT, and additional requirements include:

  • A specific benefits for citizens, the city region and the environment.
  • Economic benefits for businesses and local authorities, both during and after the initial trial.
  • Appropriate security and privacy features.
  • Entries must be able to work across a variety of sectors, for example social care, transport and housing.

The deadline for registrations is noon on 23 September, with the deadline for applications noon on 30 September.


Networking events this month across the UK

The announcement states that interested parties can get more information via the Innovate UK Internet of Things cities demonstrator competition page, that includes registration to be sent more information about the application process. Further information on finding project partners, is also available via a LinkedIn group, or by contacting for information on consortium-building events.

There will be a briefing for potential applicants in London - 21 July 2015, America SquareEdinburgh - 23 July 2015, The ScotsmanBelfast - 24 July 2015, Europa BelfastCardiff - 28 July 2015, Wales Millennium Centre and Birmingham - 29 July 2015, The Studio.

Applicants are strongly recommended to attend one of these events.

Local authorities, public bodies, third sector organisations and academic institutions could receive up to 100% of their eligible project costs (up to a maximum of 30% of total project costs), small businesses 70%, medium-sized businesses 60% and large businesses 50%. The maximum grant available is £10 million, and the project is expected to run for up to two years.

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