Canary Wharf Group announced yesterday that it is running a new startup accelerator in a bid to find six startups with internet of things (IoT) technologies that can be deployed across its estate.

The group's Cognicity Challenge will span six sectors including: integrated transportation, connected home, virtual design, construction, integrated resource management, and auto­mated building management. The first two sectors (transport and construction) are now open for applications. 

Canary Wharf Group plans to select six finalists from each sector, before selecting one winner in each category.

Those winners will receive £50,000 each and the opportunity to trial their technology across Canary Wharf. 

“The launch of this ambitious series of international competitions is an im­portant milestone in delivering our future vision for Canary Wharf as one of the world’s most technologically advanced and innovative destinations,” said Canary Wharf Group chairman and chief executive Sir George Iacobescu.  

The challenge is being backed by the Level39 fintech accelerator, which operates out of One Canada Sqaure - the tallest skyscraper in Canary Wharf. 

Level39 said it will provide finalists with workspace, specialist mentoring and training over 12 weeks to develop their technologies.

The minister for culture and the digital economy, Ed Vaizey, said the programme would “help talented tech companies to develop revolutionary new solutions to the challenges facing modern cities, from creating sustainable buildings to building homes that are more digitally connected”.

Vaizey added: “It looks to provide these companies with an enormous city-scale testing ground here in the UK in which to pilot their ideas – ensuring they can develop the best possible solutions to these challenges and grow their business.”

Natalie Duffield, CEO of networking firm intechnologyWiFi, said the government needs to offer more support to tech companies and citiies working on programmes such as Cognicitiy Challenge. 

"There are countless areas of the country that could really benefit from similar programmes – from improving emergency service response times, to supporting under-privileged areas, information technology has the potential to offer us a whole new way of life," she said. 

She added: "More focus needs to be placed on end-to-end, integrated solutions, rather than stand-alone technologies – as no matter how compatible they may be to start with, there will always be limitations. More now needs to be done to help towns and cities understand why a more strategic investment will ultimately lead to even smarter cities."

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