Emerging Trends | SMEs/Entrepreneurship
October 27, 2014

Young Innovators Competition to use Internet of Things for social good

By Dimitrina Todorova

Photo by Vadim Sherbakov

ITU Telecom World Young Innovators Competition Challenge 4 is looking for bright young people to enter ideas for new starts ups which use the Internet of Things (IoT) for social good. If you want to participate in the future of ICT development, promote social good and benefit from expert advice for your start-up ideas, this is the challenge for you!

IoT refers to technologies which connect and interact digitally with physical objects, bringing together sensing, communications and information infrastructures with unprecedented potential to initiate a paradigm shift in areas such as agriculture, healthcare, manufacturing and customer services. According to speakers at Telecom World 2013 its value is estimated at over USD 14 trillion, representing between 15 and 25 billion devices by 2015.

So far, advancements in IoT have been seen as tools for the developed world as they are expensive and make heavy demands on infrastructure. IoT systems are also often seen within a commercial, rather than social, framework. But IoT has tremendous potential to be harnessed for social change in developing and developed economies alike, such as amplifying the effect of limited resources in healthcare, revitalizing agriculture to reduce risks from natural disaster and famine, or enabling smart grids to improve the efficiency of electricity production and consumption.

The challenge is looking for 18 – 30 year olds to develop new ideas on how the Internet of Things can improve lives of people around the world. We are looking for start-ups that have the potential to revolutionize the use of IoT for social good. This could involve methods for spreading or expanding access to existing technologies such as near-field communications, sensors, radio-frequency identification (RFID) or QR codes. It might involve the application of IoT technology to issues of particular interest to emerging or developing economies and focus on key areas, such as agriculture, water management, transportation, or predicting the outbreak of disease. Ideas on an ‘Intranet of Things’– local networks of IoT devices functioning on a smaller scale to serve a concrete social purpose – are particularly welcome.

Challenge 4 is run by the ITU Telecom World Young Innovators Competition  in partnership with the IEEE IoT Initiative, which aims to drive the evolution and deployment of successful IoT solutions in academic and industrial environments. IEEE IoT Initiative chairman Roberto Minerva will be speaking at a panel session on the Internet of Things at ITU Telecom World 2014.  ITU has been engaging with the subject of the Internet of Things throughout various channels, such as ITU-T Study Group 13 and the Global Standards Initiative on Internet of Things (IoT-GSI).

As a co-creation challenge, all ideas that are submitted will benefit from collaborative discussions and the exchange of ideas from our 7,500+ ITU Telecom Young Innovator members on the crowdsourcing platform ideas.itu.int. The best of those ideas will then move on to the selection phase, where our panel of experts will select the two winning concepts. Experts from ITU, the IEEE IoT Initiative and other prominent partners currently working in this field will be involved in the online facilitation, as well as the final selection of the two winners. The winners will join ITU Telecom World 2014 in Doha this December, where they’ll pitch their ideas before industry and government leaders, benefit from workshops and ongoing mentoring, and win up to USD 5000 in seed funding.

Young innovators can submit their ideas on ideas.itu.int until 3 November 2014 (23:59 CET or 22:59 UTC).

See www.itu.int/net/pressoffice/press_releases/2014/47.aspx

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Young Innovators Competition to use Internet of Things for social good

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