India launches challenge for smart-city start-ups

  • May 10, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

Smart city living labs at IIIT Hyderabad in India are inviting start-ups to pitch smart-city technology ideas in a month-long challenge.

Start-ups have until the beginning of June to enter the competition, which is being run with the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology. The programme is envisioned to support and scale start-ups that are building sustainable, inclusive and innovative products and services for smart cities.

The month-long programme will give selected start-ups an opportunity to pitch smart city technology and the winner will get an equity-free grant of ten lakhs for further development.

“The smart city living labs are an attempt to discover cutting edge innovations with smart city use cases and enrich them with our knowledge from research,” said Ramesh Loganathan, professor of co-innovation. “This start-up challenge will help discover innovations to enable smart cities. The winning teams will get capital, network and knowledge support.”

The focus areas for the challenge are water, waste, safety, security, health and energy. Any start-ups with products with smart city use cases can apply, especially tech start-ups working with products with smart city use cases, market ready products with or without customers, expertise in commercially deployment, and research with market ready products. Application deadline is 1st June 2021.

Smart city technology can make cities more effective and efficient, which is necessary given the projected rapid growth in urban populations over the next few decades. Living labs are about using technology and data purposefully to make better decisions and deliver a better quality of life.

By connecting start-ups with those searching for smart city technology, the programme aims to amplify the transformation of city infrastructure.

The living labs are also running a water challenge in association with government of Telangana and NIUM to find viable solutions to the problems faced regarding water quality, supply and non-revenue water by cities in Telangana.

The living labs research centre was set up with support from the government of India, Smart City Mission and the government of Telangana at IIITH. The research centre includes a living lab set up with support from EBTC and Amsterdam Innovation Arena.

There is a huge push for smart cities in India under the Smart Cities Mission, an initiative by the Indian government to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life of people by enabling local development and harnessing technology to create smart outcomes for citizens. In this project, 100 cities are being covered for the duration of five years with a budget of Rs100 crore per city per year.

The goal of the living lab plan is to create an urban area enhancing the three domains of social, economic and environmental. It aims to get expertise in IoT for smart cties related research and deployment, generate data for research, create a viable innovation and demand driven ecosystem in universities, and provide a test bench for IoT based smart city implementations to start-ups as well as big companies.

The International Institute of Information Technology (IIITH) Hyderabad is an autonomous research university founded in 1998 that focuses on the core areas of information technology, such as computer science, electronics and communications, and their applications in other domains through inter-disciplinary research that has a social impact. Some of its research domains include visual information technologies, human language technologies, data engineering, VLSI and embedded systems, computer architecture, wireless communications, algorithms and information security, robotics, building science, cognitive science, earthquake engineering, computational natural sciences and bioinformatics, education technologies, power systems, IT in agriculture, and e-governance.