The UK government has launched an Internet of Things (IoT) competition with a £10m prize to encourage the development of smart city projects that benefit citizens and public services.
The competition has been set up by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and Innovate UK, and the prize will be awarded to a single research and development project that demonstrates the capability of IoT in a city.
UK cities and businesses are being encouraged to take part in using the IoT to deliver improvements to the economy, environment and public sector, including exploring areas such as energy, transport and healthcare.
The competition is part of the government's wider £40m investment in the IoT announced in March.
Digital Economy minister Ed Vaizey touted the IoT as something that is becoming part of everyday life and championed it as an area of major growth in the UK that will have a transformative effect on society.
"Cities can use IoT to improve services for their citizens, increase quality of life and make better-informed decisions more quickly. The success of cities will depend on them working in new ways with new partners," he said.
"This competition will be instrumental in discovering new connections between city services and their users, and identifying many more advantages that the IoT could offer."
Innovate UK deputy director for government partnerships Nick Appleyard also highlighted the influence the IoT will have on society.
"The IoT 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," he said.
"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."
To be in contention for the prize fund, the IoT projects must be collaborative and involve at least one local authority, or have a partnership with a local enterprise or the equivalent outside England.
Entrants will need to prove that their IoT projects have a specific benefit to citizens in a city environment and can provide economic benefits to businesses and local authorities.
They will also need to be able to work across a variety of sectors, including social care, housing and transport, while ensuring appropriate security and privacy.
Those looking to get their hands on the fund will need to register projects by noon 23 September 2015.
Such projects could include the use of smart lighting and sensors that allow a city to gather data on footfall, air quality and noise pollution. Traffic and road sensors could provide data to ease congestion and lower emissions.
V3 contacted the DCMS and Innovate UK for more information on its ambitions to fuel IoT development in the UK but both have yet to respond.
The new Conservative government may be looking to help the growth of the UK's technology industry, but the Summer Budget was notably missing any clear technology initiatives and direct funding.
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