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IoTUK Boost Competition: Challenge Statements

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21 December 2015

Smart Cities & Future Cities

In addressing our theme of ‘People and their Environments’, we are working with a number of  ‘problem owners’ to identify challenge statements for further discussion and exploration at our workshop.

Challenge owners including large companies, national agencies and regulators, local authorities and major public sector organisations such as the Scottish Cities Alliance. 

Read more about the IoTUK Boost competition: apply to attend a two-day workshop on how to accelerate your Internet of Things (IoT) product or service from idea stage to a robust and fundable proposition.

Challenge Themes

Challenges received under the Smart Cities/Future Cities theme include:

City Centre Economic Vitality

Tackling the issue of the declining and changing high street the intention could involve the use of IoT technology to monitor shopper habits, encourage local purchasing and incentivise sustainable transport in the city centre. A project of this kind would build on work already being done in shops using beacons that broadcast signals using Bluetooth technology and mobile apps on volunteer smartphone devices which listen for signals and then trigger a response via the app.  It could also be linked to initial work already carried out on a digital customer loyalty and rewards scheme in a Scottish city using point of sale machines and smart cards with QR codes previously funded by Innovate UK. A project of this nature would give information (applicable to all cities) on:

  • Origins of shoppers
  • How often and how long they shop
  • Which retailers they choose to shop with
  • How this data can be used to inform the development of apps and assist in city centre planning and management
  • How this data can be used by small and large retail companies to encourage changes in shopping behaviours

Smart Waste

This project would aim to use data and technology to manage waste collection and disposal more efficiently and effectively. It would include the use of smart waste and recycling bins with sensors that send messages when the bin is full; Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking of refuse collection and recycling vehicles; Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tagging of commercial waste bins to record the bin and contents; mobile phone applications allowing the reporting of litter and fly tipping by the public. A waste bin sensor pilot has recently been initiated using litter bins in a Scottish city centre; a trial that will enable the Local Authority to test the technology, software support and the data generated with a view to:

  • Analysing current waste and litter generation and the waste collection rounds
  • Generate smart collection plans based on data collected by sensors
  • Combine data with other sensor data in the city centre to get a better understanding of behaviours that generate waste and litter
  • Stimulate the uptake and usage of sensor technology by companies dealing with commercial waste.

Smart Waste: Smokers & Cigarettes

Following on from the idea of developing general smart waste management initiatives, this City Council seeks an IoT solution to encourage smokers not to drop their cigarette ends, and use the bins available to them (not simply increasing the number of bins or increasing enforcement/fining).


Homelessness is experienced by single people, couples and families with children and can have significant negative impacts on employment, education, health and wellbeing. This Local Authority has to take a proactive approach to preventing homelessness through innovative and practical methods. Understanding the trigger points for homelessness would present an opportunity to tailor the best methods of response.