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NewsDigitalSmart city testbed launches at MediaCityUK to capitalise on post-Covid opportunities

Smart city testbed launches at MediaCityUK to capitalise on post-Covid opportunities

Two Greater Manchester companies will take part in a groundbreaking Smart City Innovation Testbed launched at Salford’s MediaCityUK, to discover and test how cities can use technology to adapt to a post-COVID world.

Stockport’s R-Com and Cyber Defence Service, who are based at Salford Quays, will take part in the programme which sees MediaCityUK partner with the Connected Places Catapult, leading experts on emerging technologies that accelerate future cities and transport solutions.
Cyber Defence Service (https://www.cyberdefenceservice.co.uk/) have developed an Internet of Things (IoT) security platform OvertAI which passively monitors IoT devices connected to the network, detecting anomalies and potential threats.

R-Com ( https://r-comiot.com/ ) has created a comprehensive Smart City solution with a suite of sensors that can count passengers on public transport, measure air quality and monitor vehicles on roads with the firm also providing real time analysis and IT support.

Led by innovation specialists UP Ventures the testbed will:

Coach a cohort of six start-up companies from across the UK to develop and prototype their products with the aim of securing investment at the end of the programme.
Explore how cities can evolve by using the Internet of Things (IoT) to transform the way we live in, work and play in new ways.
Allow the cohort access to MediaCityUK’s unrivalled technology infrastructure to deploy and test their products in a ‘living lab’ environment.
Comes hot on the heels of the ‘GM Future of Health’ accelerator programme which also took place at MediaCityUK and has recently seen significant commercial breakthroughs for several of the cohort

The six companies taking part in the testbed, which runs from January to April 2021, will benefit from masterclasses, online coaching and access to engaged decision makers from industry and the investment community.

Pete Davies CTO of the Cyber Defence Service, whose firm will place IoT detection edge-compute nodes around MediaCityUK, said:

“On average a person owns six smart devices and a significant proportion of these will be built from parts delivered by the cheapest supplier meaning that over time they become obsolete and unsupported, which can present a real risk to an entire network.

“Our project at MediaCityUK uses a ground-breaking deep-learning signal analysis technique to identify these devices and create a measurable landscape of the type and number of devices that are in use across the site. Its primary goal is to establish a known good baseline of IoT devices, allowing us to identify any anomalies or change in behaviour. This approach has a wide range of uses and could be an effective measure for understanding footfall for building planning, fire safety and the taxonomies of individuals in any given area.

“We are looking forward to taking part in the testbed and validating our product while also demonstrating to investors that we have developed something that solves the need for managing a rapidly evolving technology landscape.”

Non-executive chairman of R-Com, Steve Pearce, said IoT devices had a key role to play in rebuilding cities after the pandemic.

“The pandemic has thrown a spotlight on the way we all travel , work and generally move around, he said.

“It has also had a devastating impact on the high street and footfall in our city and town centres.

“Offering alternative mobility solutions such as cycle ways and traffic free areas and finding ways to refocus and rebuild confidence ànd opportunity in urban areas have become pressing priorities.

“Our products are capable of collecting highly accurate data which will assess what is actually happening in terms of pedestrian footfall , passenger numbers, traffic patterns and cycling activity .

“By using this data to verify and test potential infrastructure investments we can dramatically accelerate decision making processes and reduce the risk of limited public funds being wasted.”

Based at MediaCityUK, the UK’s largest tech, creative and digital hub, the testbed will also take advantage of its campus-wide WiFi provision which operates at 200mb per second allowing the connection of hundreds of devices at the same time as well as the Vodafone 5G testbed incubator space in The Landing.

Managing Partner of UP Ventures, Steve Thomas, said: “Working towards a post-pandemic world we have an opportunity to create a profoundly positive impact on the way people adapt and thrive. At the heart of our smart city innovation testbed is a passion for technology, the role of places and how they can adapt to support how people live, work, play and learn.

“This is a challenging time for business however it has never been more important to innovate and that is why we intend to press on with supporting this talented group of innovators.”
Stephen Wild, Managing Director of MediaCityUK said: “This latest testbed will really build on the success of previous incubator and accelerator programmes hosted and supported by MediaCityUK. As an established innovation district we’re very proud to be working in partnership to support this talented new cohort of technologists in their quest to deliver visionary projects. These cutting edge innovations will pave the way in our Smart City ambitions as well as make a positive difference to the way we lead our lives in a post covid world.”

Neil Fulton, Chief Delivery Officer at Connected Places Catapult said, “The Covid-19 pandemic has stimulated huge demand for innovation in the ways and places we live and work. At Connected Places Catapult we focus on supporting businesses to respond to that market demand. We know however that being able to test and demonstrate solutions is essential to commercial success, so we are very pleased to be partnering with UP Ventures Group and MediaCityUK to deliver this testbed which will allow important innovations to be proven and refined, speeding their journey to market.”


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