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Global festival of digital technology is launched at Imperial College

21 March 2013

Harnessing innovative ideas and teaming them up with businesses will be one of the aims of a major international festival at Imperial College London next month.

Budding inventors, with the winning ideas about how to harness the Internet of Things and the mobile internet, will have the chance to share in £100,000 wworth of awards. The winners will team up with mentors from global companies such as Intel, using the prize money as seed funding to help turn their ideas into a business proposition.

The competitions will be held as part of the Urban Prototyping (UP) Festival, which is happening at Imperial from 8 April to 26 June 2013. At the events more than 300 developers, architects, designers, artists and technology specialists will attend. Together, they will explore the role of digital technologies in creating smart sustainable cities.

The GSMA, which represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, will also offer competition winners a complementary trip to its Mobile Asia Expo event in Shanghai, China, on 26-28 June 2013.  Here the winners will be able to present their ideas to a Smart City Forum of Chief Information Officers, and to leading mobile operators, as well as showcase their solutions as part of the GSMA’s Connected City exhibition.

The theme for this year’s UP Festival is ‘Digital Innovation to create resilient environments, economies and communities.’ Attendees will explore how digital technologies can be used to create a sustainable society through ensuring greater integration between the city’s systems and its citizens.  They will also learn how to create technical ideas that improve the environment and communities they live in as well as the correct business models for their sustained use.

Other events taking place at the UP Festival are:

Hackathon (19-21 April) - hosted by Imperial, the Hackathon will challenge attendees to create prototype technologies that could have an impact on London’s local economy or community.  Participants will have access to data from The Greater London Authority, Met Office and Ordnance Survey, some of which is rarely made available to the public to create their product. TheTechnology Strategy Board will be awarding £1,000 each to six selected individuals to help them build their prototypes for an exhibition taking place at Digital Shoreditch as part of the Festival.  Additionally, Intel will also offer an additional £3,000 to the winning teams.

Conference (8-12 April) - hosted at Imperial, the conference series brings together a number of speakers, including Professor Erkko Autio, Chair in Technology Venturing and Entrepreneurship and Director of the Doctoral Programme at Imperial College Business School, to debate the role technology will play in the urban environment.  The keynote speaker will be Professor Brian Collins, Chair of the Sustainable Network +

Workshops (during April) - Finalists will be given the opportunity to attend a hands-on prototyping workshop with one of the festival sponsors – RaspberryPi.  The finalist will work with RaspberryPi’s expert team to help them get their prototypes up and running and in working order. Intel and digital creatives Hellicar+Lewis will also be holding workshops during this month.

The festival will also showcase work developed by researchers at Imperial such as the Digital City Exchange, which aims to explore ways to digitally link utilities and services within a London to enable new technical and business opportunities.

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