Smart Cities

Canary Wharf Advances Smart Cities Accelerator Initiative

London’s iconic Canary Wharf, and Docklands business district, is taking a progressive step towards “smart city” status as two streams of its pioneering Cognicity Challenge enter the short-listing phase. The Cognicity Challenge is the starting point for the Cognicity initiative, which aims to encourage participating companies to respond to the current and future elements of Canary Wharf residents' and workers’ interaction with the district’s built environment. The hope is that the innovation triggered by Cognicity will improve efficiency and reduce costs for people living and working in the area, while simultaneously personalising and improving the quality of their Canary Wharf experience. The scheme was launched on the 21st of October 2014 to transform Canary Wharf with smart city technologies, focusing on interoperability, across six key sectors including: sustainable buildings, integrated transportation, integrated resource management, automated building management, connected home, visual design & construction. “The concept of interoperability is key to creating a true smart city”, […]

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London’s iconic Canary Wharf, and Docklands business district, is taking a progressive step towards “smart city” status as two streams of its pioneering Cognicity Challenge enter the short-listing phase.

The Cognicity Challenge is the starting point for the Cognicity initiative, which aims to encourage participating companies to respond to the current and future elements of Canary Wharf residents' and workers’ interaction with the district’s built environment. The hope is that the innovation triggered by Cognicity will improve efficiency and reduce costs for people living and working in the area, while simultaneously personalising and improving the quality of their Canary Wharf experience.

The scheme was launched on the 21st of October 2014 to transform Canary Wharf with smart city technologies, focusing on interoperability, across six key sectors including: sustainable buildings, integrated transportation, integrated resource management, automated building management, connected home, visual design & construction.

“The concept of interoperability is key to creating a true smart city”, said Mikele Brack, head of smart city programmes for Canary Wharf's Cognicity smart city project. “The Cognicity Challenge aims to move beyond stand-alone solutions, with the technologies developed and piloted during the accelerator creating a fully integrated and interoperable suite of innovations”.

The Canary Wharf Group will select six tech start-ups from each of the six streams. These 36 short-listed companies will be offered a 12 week residency at Canary Wharf’s High Growth Space:24, where they will be monitored and supported by the Canary Wharf Group, US IT giant Intel and, UK government backed agency, Innovate UK.

This month saw a diverse collection of start-ups chosen for the integrated resource management stream;

  • KiWi Power, from the UK, is a smart grid company that monitors and controls energy usage resulting in reduced consumption during peak demand.
  • Stintex, from Bulgaria, offers real-time analytics and reporting for traffic flows, retail activities and crowd tracking in cities.
  • Open Energi, from the UK, provides Dynamic Demand technology enabling the National Grid to balance supply and demand for electricity on a second by second basis.
  • SEaB Energy, from the UK, develops Anaerobic Digestion plants which retail, agricultural and hospitality businesses use to transform waste into renewable energy.
  • Strawberry Energy, from Serbia, installs solar powered wi-fi enabled charging stations to bring the Internet of Things to public spaces.
  • Power Drive Efficiency, from the UK, creates technology that monitors and dynamically adjusts motor performance to match load requirements.

The strong British presence continues in the automated building management stream, where five out of the six finalists are based in the UK;

  • Boldmind, develops bespoke apps to control connected systems and devices and analyse the data they generate.
  • Converge, is a building automation and monitoring company with an end-to-end solution for the collection, storage and analysis of sensor data.
  • Demand Logic, uses big data analytics to discover energy savings and performance improvements for commercial buildings.
  • Exa-Informatics, is another big data analytic start-up that aggregates and analyses information from different devices and reduces the risk of unauthorised exploitation of that data.
  • Future Decisions, uses data mining, predictive algorithms and custom-designed sensors to create intelligent, self-regulating buildings that can ‘talk’ to one another
  • OrbiFire, from the US, is a smart cities fire application suite that leverages city data in a 3D, real-time environment for informed decision-making in the event of a building fire.

The six winners selected – one from each stream – will each receive £50,000 ($77,500) in grants and will have the opportunity to pilot their technologies within the Canary Wharf estate. Pilots for the sustainable buildings and integrated transportation streams will start at the end of May 2015. While the two remaining streams, Connected Homes and Virtual Design and Construction, are still open for applications.

Cognicity Challenge organisers envisage the initiative offering start-ups a unique opportunity to develop and deploy new smart city technology at one of London’s leading business and lifestyle destinations, Canary Wharf, which is set to become one of the most technologically advanced ‘smart city’ projects in the world.

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