Things Connected Northern Ireland – Challenge Call

Does your business have a problem that could be solved using innovative technology? Maybe the solution already exists and you need to discuss or collaborate with a specialist?

About the Programme 
Things Connected NI is a regional program that will see the deployment of LPWAN a ‘Low Powered Wide Area Network’ across most of Northern Ireland. This infrastructure will be free to use for experimentation and testing, demonstration, and piloting digitally innovative products and services. This innovation programme helps SMEs access industry mentors, as well as the commercial and academic expertise to help them bring their products to market.  A consortium led by the University of Ulster, Invest NI, Tourism NI and Local NI Councils has successfully bid for funding and a challenge call is available to develop initiatives that will seek to accelerate the demand and innovation of industrial Internet of Things (IoT) products.

What is IoT?
The LPWAN infrastructure, also known as an Internet of Things (IoT) network, provides a means of inexpensive, secure, long distance communication between a sensor which is based in the community and the owner of the sensor. Up to 50 gateways will be strategically placed across Northern Ireland to collect data. The sensor may be measuring anything from temperature, humidity, to asset tracking etc, but many of the business applications are still to be discovered.

Challenge Categories
Across Northern Ireland various challenge areas have been identified as potential accelerators for development and growth of SMEs. A funding package of £145,000 has been identified with £2,000 available per project to help develop technology using IoT.

An ecosystem for industry could be developed from the following areas with the support of Invest NI and relevant industry clusters:-

• Transportation & logistics
• Healthy smart buildings
• Manufacturing
• Creative technologies
• Tourism
• Agriculture/Food Manufacture
• Management of playable open spaces

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council are the challenge leaders for Creative Technologies and Tourism, however any SME that is interested in solving any programme challenge should apply. A technical background is not required and there are plenty of tools and resources available  online to assist you. Funding is now available for businesses to develop or progress devices, applications, products and services using IoT technology.

Getting involved
SMEs entering the challenge call competition must; 
1) register their company with Digital Catapult at https://www.digicatapult.org.uk/activities/open-call/things-connected-northernireland-iot-challenge

2) register to use the network on the Things Connected website at https://dashboard.thingsconnected.net/register 

3) complete and submit an application detailing how their offering meets the challenge  https://lpwan.ulster.ac.uk/index.php/lpwan-ni-funded-challenges/

B. SMEs not wishing to apply for funding but wishing to use the network free of charge must; 

1) register their company with Digital Catapult at https://www.digicatapult.org.uk/activities/open-call/things-connected-northernireland-iot-challenge

2) register to use the network on the Things Connected website at https://dashboard.thingsconnected.net/register