Cisco Wants IoT to Solve U.K.'s Transport Challenges

Cisco invites startups and SMBs to submit solutions for transport challenges, with funding and mentoring offered to finalists.

Cisco IoT

By Steve McCaskill

Cisco has invited startups and SMBs to come up with machine-to-machine (M2M) applications that can help improve the U.K.’s transport network in a bid to demonstrate the power of the Internet of things (IoT).

The Connected Transport Challenge will task entrants with submitting proof-of-concept Station-as-a-Service (StaaS) applications that solve a number of real-world technical issues.

StaaS is a two-year collaborative project between Cisco and is partly funded by RSSB and Innovate UK, formerly the Technology Strategy Board, with the intent of creating a new technical, operational and commercial model for future stations. It is hoped entries will improve the efficiency, security, operation and passenger experience of Britain’s railways.

Cisco IoT competition

Finalists will receive £10,000 to develop their idea and will receive advice from Cisco and its partners throughout the project. The closing date for entries is the 17 November, with a second stage ending in December, and live demos should be created by March. These will be showcased at Cisco's Internet of Everything (IoE) lab in Warwick and negotiations with rail stakeholders will start in April.

"Britain's transport infrastructure is under pressure like never before; with networks increasingly congested, the economic consequences become ever more severe," said Phil Smith, CEO of Cisco UK. "The long-term answer lies in facilitating an entire step-change in the way we approach travel and designing technologies to enhance efficiency through the Internet of Everything.

"The Connected Transport Challenge provides the rare opportunity for innovative U.K. talent to demonstrate its technological ingenuity to some of the rail industry's major stakeholders. Over the next six months, it'll no doubt be fascinating to witness the future of the U.K. transport industry in the making."

The initiative is the latest part of a major IoT push by Cisco, which is throwing its weight firmly behind the idea of connected devices. The IoT formed the centerpiece of CEO John Chambers' keynote at CES earlier this year, and the networking giant has held security competitions and training courses for electricians as part of its push into M2M.