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BT launches Internet of Things competition

Press release   •   May 09, 2017 09:46 BST

Winning entry can trial IoT business idea with BT

Start-ups and SMEs are being offered the chance to submit new Internet of Things (IoT) solutions as BT launches its latest BT Infinity Lab competition. The competition gives the winning company the opportunity to test its idea at scale and potentially bring it to market working with BT, TechHub and other partners.

BT is looking for innovative start-ups and SMEs with solutions to help customers digitise their businesses, with a particular focus on operations including connected assets, buildings, vehicles, field force and supply chain. The winning idea could support BT with its own digital transformation and could help BT’s Ventures* business to develop and grow its IoT portfolio. Using technology to provide the best products and solutions for customers is already a focus for BT Ventures, and IoT is feeding into this in a range of ways. Focus areas for growth include field force service, fleet management and supply chain.

The competition is an ideal opportunity for a start-up or SME to trial their new solution at scale ahead of any commercial launch.

The winning entry will benefit from:

  • Access to BT’s expertise in research, innovation and engineering, as well as its commercial and marketing experience, which are vital when evaluating and trialling new products.
  • Six month flexible membership to TechHub’s global entrepreneur community, workspace & support programme.
  • Three finalists will be invited to attend the TC3 trade mission in California in November.

Entrants are asked to submit a short video outlining their idea by the closing date of Monday 19 June. Those shortlisted will be invited to a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style pitch session held at BT Tower in London on 18July, where five judges will deliberate to find a winner. BT Tower itself hosts the highest, building mounted, IoT base station in the world, as part of the Things Connected network in London.

The judges from BT Wholesale and Ventures are: Chris Sims, MD of marketing & IoT; Nick Hale, MD of ventures and Steve Best, MD of products and portfolio strategy. They will be joined by David Rayner, electronics and communications specialist from the UK’s Department for International Trade and Jessica Ellis, director of customer success at Bristol is Open, a leading IoT organisation. Full details of the competition can be found at

Co-sponsor of the competition Chris Sims, MD marketing and IoT, BT Wholesale & Ventures, said: “IoT is a priority for BT. We already work with a wide range of partners to provide solutions in the areas of asset tracking and retail optimisation, but this competition gives us chance to meet other potential partners and talent, and really understand what other ideas may be possible to help businesses transform the way they work. It’s about finding solutions to work in our BT Ventures business that will help organisations make, manage and distribute goods, products and services into the hands of their customers.”

Elizabeth Varley, co-founder & global CEO of TechHub, said: “We are now into the fifth year of partnering with BT to provide a boost for start-ups and growing technology companies. The Internet of Things is going to transform how we live and work, and it’s the talent of technology innovators that will take this to unexpected and exciting places. I’m really looking forward to seeing the new products that we’ll all be using in the very near future.”

The Internet of Things is a network of connected objects that exchange data to provide greater insight and better inform decisions. BT has recently established a dedicated IoT team within its Wholesale & Ventures business following the delivery of several successful projects in the areas of smart cities, asset tracking, retail and logistics.

*BT Ventures is a group of businesses providing products and services for customers and includes BT Fleet, Supply Chain, Cables, Pelipod, Pay Phones including LinkUK, Voice Services, Directories, Redcare, Tikit and New Business.

About BT

BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world. It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed-mobile products and services. BT consists of six customer-facing lines of business: Consumer, EE, Business and Public Sector, Global Services, Wholesale and Ventures, and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 20161, BT Group’s reported revenue was £19,012m with reported profit before taxation of £2,907m.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

1The results for the period have been revised to reflect the outcome of the investigation into our Italian business. Detail of which is set out in our third quarter results announcement published on 27 January 2017. This financial information is unaudited.

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About TechHub

TechHub is the global community for tech entrepreneurs, supporting the growth of over 750 companies across the world, whether they're founders getting started, or fast-scaling 50- to 100-person teams.

Membership is exclusively focused on product tech companies and in this way TechHub has supported thousands of high-growth tech firms creating technology IP over the past six years. TechHub also helps corporates access innovation culture and to work with startups to solve business challenges or develop new products.

TechHub helps startups and scale-ups by understanding the process tech product companies go through and the needs they have at each stage. The community givesthese companies access to the things they need for growth including peer-mentoring, introductions to investors, a rich programme of advice, learning and inspiration that they can dip in and out of as they require. Some member companies are based with TechHub full time, and many others access the tech community spaces when needed.

Headquartered in London in the UK, TechHub is also in India, Spain, Poland, Latvia, Romania and Wales with additional countries planned.

TechHub member companies have been acquired by Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft among others, and have raised over $1billion in funding.