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Innovation in location-based services competition

The Technology Strategy Board is to invest up to £5m in projects that stimulate innovation in the UK location-based services sector

The Innovation in location-based services competition opens for registration on 28 April 2014, with a final closing date for collaborative research and development projects of 18 June.

The aim of the competition is to support projects that capitalise on the increasing accuracy, coverage and speed of global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) such as GPS and other non-satellite technologies such as iBeacon, Wi-Fi and radio frequency identification (RFID) to build innovative location-based services or improve the user experience of existing services. 

The Technology Strategy Board requires projects to be collaborative and business-led although project partners can include research and non-profit organisations as well as other businesses. It expects to fund mainly industrial research projects in which two or more partners will attract up to 50% public funding for their eligible project costs (60% for SMEs). 

The projects are expected to range in size from £400k to £1m, although larger projects could be considered. Projects should last between 12 and 24 months. 

 

Briefing events 

A briefing event for potential applicants will be held in London on 6 May 2014. You can register for this event and other regional events by visiting the Creative Industries Funding Programme page.

The London event will be filmed, offering a webinar facility for applicants unable to attend. 

Update: Briefing Events

 

Making devices more contextually aware

With the proliferation of smart phones, tablets, mapping applications and other GPS devices, geolocation services have become part of everyday life for the majority of people in the UK, especially in metropolitan areas.

Advances in the accuracy and timeliness of geolocation data over the next few years will open up far greater opportunities for designers to create new and innovative digital services which use location data. 

iBeacons have so far found most obvious application for consumer marketing - such as informing shoppers about nearby offers but has the risk of being seen as intrusive and annoying if other, more obviously useful, quid-pro-quo uses aren't also also available - such as more accurate navigation and linked intelligent mobility services.

Writing in The Guardian this month, Sebastian Dreyfus, European managing director of Rosetta, said, "Essentially, this app could transform your iPhone into a contextually aware, automatic Swiss Army knife of mobile software that responds instantly to your environment hold promise for sectors other than retail and will transform how businesses operate."

iBeacon is an Apple Trademark (supported by the iPhone 4S onwards) that uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) networking standard, so can potentially work on any smartphone, not just Apple devices. As such it is alsready supported by several hundred million devices.

Estimote, a manufacture of iBeacons is also encouraging the development of apps to meet challenges faced by consumers, with its RealityHack Challenge in the broad field of home automation. One of these is an app with access to personal calendar, traffic and public transport data to plan users' schedules.

Also in the news recently, using the alternative technology of Wi-Fi and interactions with smartphones, Harrogate based company Presenceorb was featured in Wired UK, offering to provide an anonymised and aggregated open data streams showing, effectively, where people are in real-time - with potential uses such as knowing if a bus or venue is full in real-time.

 

Scope

Proposals are sought that use location data to build services capable of addressing real-life problems, such as: 

  • services that optimise relationships between resources, technology, communities, businesses and events in the local environment;
  • applications that manage multiple data sets and integrate them in interesting and original ways to produce accurate information for unique or niche services; 
  • applications that exploit indoor positioning systems, such as Wi-Fi, RFID and iBeacon, together with satellite navigation systems to track users, locations or resources; 
  • applications that create a sustainable service by using content from existing open data platforms such as Open Street Map; 
  • services that generate useful crowd-sourced content which refines and improves the service and is of value to third parties;
  • applications that seamlessly use mobile augmented reality (MAR), not as a novelty but to enhance the service and improve user experience. 

Successful projects will also need to be trusted services and must follow best practice for privacy regarding user data. They should also be inclusively designed for the broadest range of user needs such as older adults and/or those with moderate sensory impairments. 

 

Registering for London and regional events

To find to find collaborators and networks for projects Go to connect - and to register for this event and other regional events visit the Creative Industries Funding Programme-2013-14.

The London event will be filmed, offering a webinar facility for applicants unable to attend. 

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