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Bright idea for cities and cyclists wins BT Infinity Lab competition

17 May 2016

Northern Ireland-based See.Sense scooped the top prize for its ICON intelligent and connected cycle light.

A company which uses technology to make cycling and cities safer, smarter and more enjoyable has been crowned the overall winner of the BT Infinity Lab SME Awards 2016: Connected Cities.

Northern Ireland-based See.Sense scooped the top prize for its ICON intelligent and connected cycle light.

As well helping to keeps cyclists safer on the road, the ICON cycle light contains sensors and communications technology which can collect high-quality data. This allows profiling of the cyclist, the telemetry of the bike and the environment around it.

Analytics can determine speed and congestion, road conditions, light levels and more. The light can also react and detect when the cyclist is in danger, by flashing faster in riskier situations such as roundabouts, road junctions or approaching car headlights from behind.

Spotting hot spots

See.Sense maps cities in a way that has never been possible before. This information can then be used by city planners to create better transport infrastructure and smart cities.

Possible uses for the data include identifying ‘hot spot’ areas where there are a high-frequency of near-miss events and crashes, showing where the priority areas are to invest in traffic control infrastructure.

Deteriorating road conditions can be monitored before potholes are fully formed, so that cities can repair them at lower cost before they become hazards.

This latest BT Infinity Lab competition - Connected Cities - was run in partnership with the Cabinet Office, Milton Keynes smart city collaborative MK:Smart and technology community TechHub.

It provided a great opportunity for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) to showcase their big ideas for innovative digital products and services to help cities become more connected, efficient and sustainable.

Overall winners See.Sense walked away with £15,000 prize money plus six month’s membership of TechHub. The company will also have the chance to work with MK:Smart, one of the country’s most advanced smart cities, to turn their dream into a reality.

Impact on society

Irene McAleese, co-founder and chief marketing officer, See.Sense, said: “We’re honoured to have won the smart city prize and also be judged the overall winner given the high standard of entries we were up against. We’ve gained some valuable insights from the other companies who have taken part and the feedback we’ve had during the competition.”

She continued: “Having the opportunity to develop our idea into something that will really help transform cities of the future and make a real impact on society is really exciting. Working with Milton Keynes will also be a fantastic case study to showcase our capabilities.”

Other award winners included Sitekit Ltd, a healthcare technology company from the Isle of Skye, which won the Connected Society award for demonstrating how ICT can help society operate more sustainably with its eRedbook.

This is the digital version of the existing paper-based Redbook - which parents of new-born babies receive to record and manage the health and development of their child.

Internet of things

And London-based Vivacity Labs was took the honours in the Internet of Things category for its intelligent cameras, judged the most innovative technology solution in this field. The company’s system enables the next generation of reactive traffic lights, and eliminates the need for time-consuming and expensive manual data collection by councils.

Will Pryke, head of BT Infinity Lab, said: “The high quality of the SMEs who entered the competition has really highlighted the dynamism and innovation that exists in the UK’s SME community. We have some great winners who can help shape our cities for the future through their imaginative digital products and services. It’s great that BT will be able to play a part in helping them take their great products into market.”

Supporting innovation

He added: “BT has got around one million SME customers and a strong interest in helping them to innovate and thrive and we also want to play a role in shaping connected cities of the future. The competition has been an ideal opportunity to help both to develop."