21 start-ups and SMEs were today (11 October) awarded approximately €700,000 under Enterprise Ireland’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) initiative after an April call.
The funding will allow them to explore innovative solutions to address problems faced by local authorities in the creation of smart cities.
Technological solutions to community issues
Under SBIR, the Phase One funding will help progress the feasibility of the solutions. At the launch event at Fingal County Council in Dublin, council chief executive Paul Reid said: “We are always striving to improve and develop our services and, through the SBIR process, we have been able to explore and pilot innovative cost-effective solutions that improve local authority services for businesses and citizens.
“The successful companies have proposed a broad range of innovative solutions, from looking at blockchain and gamification to encourage engagement from ‘unheard voices’, to designing urban consolidation centres and dynamic parking solutions to support last-mile delivery.”
Tom Kelly, head of innovation and competitiveness at Enterprise Ireland, said he was encouraged by the participation of the four Dublin local authorities in the SBIR initiative. “The process is competitive and allows local authorities to collaborate and work closely with innovation-led SMEs to tackle real-life issues and problems.
“The solutions produced through these collaborations can potentially be employed to improve local, national and even global societies, with far-reaching benefits for both people and innovative SMEs with global ambition.”
Alan Murphy, Smart Dublin lead, said: “The SBIR process is a fantastic opportunity for Smart Dublin to engage in open innovation, tapping into the open market to explore new ways of delivering council services for our citizens.
“This current SBIR round has the potential to significantly address known challenges regarding mobility, environment and citizen engagement.”
The five challenges
The selected companies had to apply for the funding under five separate challenges. From clean transport to internet of things (IoT) facilitation, the modernisation of cities around Ireland was at the heart of the proposal.
Fingal County Council and Cork City Council seek smart, low-cost solutions to encourage engagement of the ‘unheard voices’ in decision-making about the future of their communities. Four companies have been awarded Phase One innovation contracts to develop their solutions.
Bathing water quality
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and Waterford City and County Council want low-cost technological solutions in the form of products, services or applications to address bathing water contamination. Four companies have been given Phase One contracts.
Smart mobility hubs
Dublin City Council is seeking out more sustainable transportation options in both daily commute and workday commitments through a smart mobility hub. Five companies have received SBIR funding to explore this area.
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council wants to embrace IoT connections. Two companies have been awarded Phase One innovation contracts to develop their solutions.
Dublin City Council and Belfast City Council are seeking smart, low-cost solutions to optimise freight and cargo deliveries in urban areas. Six companies have been awarded Phase One innovation contracts to develop their solutions.
Some of the companies awarded funding include Glasnevin-based AmbiSense, Compass Informatics in Blackrock, WeBringg in Chapelizod and Howth’s Carra Ireland.
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