Lisbon, 19 September 2018
This year’s edition of Big Smart Cities – an entrepreneurship competition sponsored by Vodafone Portugal and Ericsson Portugal – will focus on the potential of 5G technology, looking for ideas and projects that can be accelerated by the mobile network of the future. Entries open today and can be submitted until 21 October.
The new focus follows the launch in June of the Vodafone 5G Hub, an open centre for the production of knowledge and innovation which brings together partners in the telecommunications sector, industry, universities, researchers and start-ups. The goal is to promote an ecosystem conducive to the development of new technology in order to take advantage of all the potential that 5G represents.
In addition to Vodafone, the 5G Hub enjoys a close partnership with Ericsson, and as Big Smart Cities is an initiative sponsored by the two companies, the 6th edition of the competition is seeking projects for two separate programmes: the 5G University Challenge and the 5G Start-up Competition.
The two programmes aim to capture projects at different stages of development:
Once selected, the finalists in each of the programmes will benefit from a pre-acceleration period, as well as training sessions, workshops and mentoring by specialists in 5G from both Vodafone and Ericsson. All of this is designed to prepare them for the grand final, to take place in December, where they will have to present their project before an expert jury.
The winners will also receive cash prizes – €1000 in the case of the University Challenge and €10,000 in the case of the Start-up Competition – incubation at Vodafone Power Lab and the opportunity to develop their projects at the Vodafone 5G Hub at the company’s head office where they will have all the right technical conditions to try out their solutions on the Vodafone mobile network.
Entries can be submitted on the official website (https://bigsmartcities.com/) until 21 October, in one of five categories: Mobility, Energy, Health, Tourism and Education. In addition to the website, the 5G Start-up Competition will have three specific initiatives to attract entries – the by now familiar City Challenges which take place in Coimbra (25 September), Porto (3 October) and Lisbon (16 October). The winners of the City Challenges will receive €500 and automatically qualify for the group of 20 finalists.
National Network of Experimental Cities with applications open
In parallel to the 6th edition of Big Smart Cities, entries are also open for the National Network of Experimental Cities (NNEC) programme which, like last year, will test prototypes in a real context. Entries can be submitted at http://rnce.pt/rnce/.
The 6th edition of Big Smart Cities comes after several years of the promotion of technological entrepreneurship in Portugal by Vodafone and Ericsson and organised by the Nova School of Business and Economics. Last year, Pavnext was the overall winner of the competition with a road surface which reduces speed and makes use of the kinetic energy of vehicles for other purposes. The start-up won the opportunity to test the project in Cascais, under the aegis of the NNEC, and is currently preparing the final prototype.
Other winners were Tram Grid, a fast charger for electric vehicles; Smart Forest, an integrated sensor solution for obtaining more information about forests; and Tibu, a mobile application which connects independent travellers with people with local experience.
During its five editions, Big Smart Cities has received more than 900 entries. The competition is part of Vodafone Power Lab, a Vodafone Portugal incubator which has supported over 100 projects and contributed to the creation of more than 40 companies.