SMEs pitch up for '˜internet of things' challenge

Eighteen small firms will this week compete to win support in bringing their 'internet of things' (IoT) technology to market.

The 'internet of things' could help more people grow fruit and vegetables at home, according to Censis. Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Those taking part in the first IoTBoost UK event in Glasgow include a “Tamagotchi”-style monitoring device for plants, and smartphones that recommend tailored training and rehabilitation programmes for athletes.

The global IoT market is expected to double between now and 2018, as everything from home appliances and cars to farm animals and offshore oil rigs become wirelessly linked for remote data exchange.

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The two-day workshop, which kicks off on Wednesday, will see the SMEs go head-to-head in front of a panel of judges to win one month of incubation support and mentoring, with up to five selected for the next phase of the competition.

The rapid incubation seminars will be delivered by Censis – the Scottish innovation centre for sensor and imaging systems – along with Data Lab, the University of Edinburgh’s Informatics Ventures and IoTUK, a national programme launched as part of the UK government’s £40 million investment in the IoT field.

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Mark Begbie, business development director at Censis, said: “The quality of the ideas submitted by our cohort of SMEs demonstrate the innovation and creativity incumbent in Scotland’s business community.

“They are great examples of how the IoT can be applied to real-world problems and turned into a viable commercial idea. Hard hats with embedded GPS positioning could help manage safety and personnel on construction sites, while a Tamagotchi-type device for plants could help more people grow their own fruit and vegetables at home.”

He added: “The IoT has huge potential to change the way businesses and societies work, but few people have been able to put that into practice to date. We’re looking forward to seeing in more detail how these pioneering Scottish SMEs plan to change that and bring the IoT to life during what will undoubtedly be an interesting and unique event.”