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SMEs awarded £50,000 to solve London challenges using IoT

Six SME’s from across the UK have today (16 February) been awarded a share of £50,000 funding by Future Cities Catapult, the UK Government-supported centre of excellence in urban innovation.

The startups entered a competition to solve city challenges in London, using the cutting-edge Internet of Things (IoT) platform, Things Connected.

For ideas including tackling noise pollution, making cycling safer and helping the NHS utilise under-used space, the winning SMEs will receive up to £10,000 each. They will use this to develop and demonstrate connected devices in London using the Things Connected Low-Power LoRaWAN (Long Range Wide Area Network).

The winning proposals are:

  • Beringar (Edinburgh) are testing light and environmental sensors to identify unallocated and under-utilised space within the health estate. This has the potential to increase patient convenience, save money and ultimately help the NHS improve the quality of care.
  • BuggyAir (London) will develop their prototype to provide real-time information on pedestrian and cyclist’s exposure to pollutant, using route visualisation and comparison.
  • Fosters and Partners (London) are developing a system to monitor noise pollution in capital, allowing ordinary people to collect and visualise local information about the sound around them. This will enable Londoners to mitigate the effects of noise and give people a basis for informing policy to shape their community.
  • Joyride Technologies (London) in partnership with the London Cycling Campaign, will be using sensors to collect information about how families commute around the city as cyclists. This can then be considered in the infrastructure planning process.
  • KloudKeeper (Exeter) will demonstrate their smart rainwater capture, reuse and release hardware, minimising flooding and reducing water demand.
  • Nymbly (Cambridge) are testing their air quality management app that has a direct impact on health in the workplace. Their newly designed advanced sensors offers data accuracy to room level and through data modeling, informs building owners to take action by improving the ventilation system, humidity control or filtering.

With the UK’s IoT marketplace current worth £13.3bn – and expected to rise to £20bn by 2018 [1]– the Things Connected network provides huge opportunities for entrepreneurs and developers to test and trial new ideas that can be rolled out on commercial networks.

Future Cities Catapult Chief Executive Officer, Peter Madden, said:

“We’re pleased to announce the winners of the ‘Things Connected’ Open Call, and look forward to seeing how they use IoT devices to solve city challenges ranging from flooding, to air pollution, to helping the NHS make better use of its buildings.

Here at Future Cities Catapult we actively engage high-growth businesses to drive innovation for urban development. By supporting UK SME’s with funding, we further position the UK as a world leader in connectivity.”

Mark Sorsa-Leslie, Director of Beringar, said:

“Partnering with Things Connected to test our Space Use Pattern Detection sensor in an NHS London building is hugely important to us.

“We believe our sensor will help calculate NHS service capacity within their buildings, improve space usage and potentially save millions that would otherwise be wasted building new facilities that are not needed.

“In using the LoRaWAN network, we’ll have a fast-track approach to bring our innovation to market more quickly.”

Peter Melville-Shreeve, Director of KloudKeeper said:

“We are very pleased to collaborate with the Future Cities Catapult to demonstrate our innovative rainwater management system.

“Uncontrolled rainfall causes flooding with estimated costs of more than £1.1bn per annum, meanwhile ever-increasing threats of water shortage and higher water costs are driving increased focus on water re-use.

“At KloudKeeper, we combine state of the art practices and the latest IoT technologies to provide an efficient, cost effective system that represents a sustainable solution to both challenges, in our vision of the city of the future”.

Donatien Garnier, Co-Founder of Nymbly said:

“We’re excited our air quality sensing project has been selected as part of the Things Connected Open call, and look forward to trialing our sensors within the LPWAN network.

“With the capitals 2017 air pollution limits exceeded in just five days, it’s more important than ever to provide Londoners with actionable data to reduce their exposure to pollution.”

The shortlisted SMEs have six weeks to deploy devices, which will determine the viability of their solution. To find out more visit https://futurecities.catapult.org.uk/project/things-connected/.


Launched in September 2016, Things Connected is a collaboration between Future Cities Catapult, Digital Catapult, BT, Everynet, Beecham Research, AllThingsTalk, BRE, Imperial College London, King’s College London, UCL and Queen Mary University of London.

Things Connected is an innovation support programme that will ensure London is open and ready to innovate with IoT. The network is not built for commercial purposes, but rather, for testing and trialing new ideas. Once developed these innovations can be launched on one of the commercial networks covering the UK today.

Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) are a relatively new network technology that provides connectivity for vast numbers of devices over long distances using very little energy. This technology offers disruptive potential to enable a new wave of IoT applications at a much lower cost than previously possible.

KloudKeeper is a spin out formed in 2015 to commercialise IP generated from a decade of rainwater management research conducted at the University of Exeter’s Centre for Water Systems.

Other shortlisted SMEs are:

  • Virtual Technologies
  • Foster + Partners
  • Joyride
  • Nymbly
  • Beringar

For further information about Things Connected, or the projects listed, contact Naomi Moore on nmoore@futurecities.catapult.org.uk / 07718 584331

About Future Cities Catapult                 

Future Cities Catapult exists to advance innovation, to grow UK companies, to make cities better. We bring together businesses, universities and city leaders so that they can work with each other to solve the problems that cities face, now and in the future. This means that we catalyse and apply innovations to grow UK business and promote UK exports.

From our Urban Innovation Centre in London, we provide world-class facilities and expertise to support the development of new products and services, as well as opportunities to collaborate with others, test ideas and develop business models.

We help innovators turn ingenious ideas into working prototypes that can be tested in real urban settings. Then, once they’re proven, we help spread them to cities across the world to improve quality of life, strengthen economies and protect the environment.

Follow us on Twitter @futurecitiescat or sign up for our newsletter to keep up to date with our news.

About Catapult centres

The Catapult centres are a network of world-leading centres designed to transform the UK’s capability for innovation in specific areas and help drive future economic growth. The Catapults network has been established by Innovate UK. For more information visit catapult.org.uk

[1] Machina Research, 2015

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