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Contest Number:
IC_2018_0027

NextChallenge: Smart Cities 2017

Today’s cities are facing many common challenges in the areas of safety, mobility, emissions, accessibility, and congestion. With urban population estimates calculating growth to rise from 54% in 2014 to 66% by 2050, stresses on a city’s services and infrastructure are expected to grow as well. NextEnergy thinks innovation is an important mechanism to proactively address the challenges facing cities and identify opportunities for new business models.

NextChallenge: Smart Cities 2017 focuses on accelerating connected, interactive and data driven solutions in advanced energy and mobility that address unmet needs in urban areas by seeking out solutions from technology companies with ideas to solve them (i.e. "Solution Providers"). Through this challenge, innovations will be demonstrated that create safer and more efficient places for people to live and work – and have a lower impact on the environment.

About the Challenge

NextEnergy, one of the nation’s leading accelerators of advanced energy and mobility technologies, in partnership with Wells Fargo, DENSO and DTE Energy are seeking to accelerate the development of hardware and/or software solutions that will address real-world challenges facing urban areas.

Successful proposals will result in one or more of the following outcomes:

  • Improved user access and experience
  • Improved safety and security
  • Reduced impact on the environment and public health caused by emissions, land use, and/or congestion

The challenge will create a pipeline of smart city technological and entrepreneurial innovation concepts with the end goal of demonstrating these innovations at the NextEnergy Center in Detroit, or other applicable site. The demonstration will provide the Solution Provider the following:

  • Relationship-building opportunities with industry and urban leaders – increases visibility of innovation through the review process and mentoring opportunities
  • Demonstration deployment – technologies vetted by experts in real-world settings
  • Accelerated commercialization timelime – provides proof-of-concept metrics to share that can help to fast-track technology commercialization 

Award

Winner(s) will be awarded up to $80,000 to demonstrate and validate their solution at NextEnergy Center in Detroit, or applicable site that meets the needs of the selected solution in 2017. Terms of the award will be executed via a Statement of Work between NextEnergy and Winner(s). Up to four additional grants with a combined total of $20,000 will be awarded to finalist(s). From this selected pool of winner and finalist(s), the challenge intends to award at least 1 small business, but may elect not to if responsive proposals are not received by any qualifying small businesses.

Timeline

Success Criteria

Hardware and/or software solutions to be demonstrated should address one or more of the following focus areas:

Smart Parking

Technologies will mitigate traffic congestion, increase convenience for users, and optimize efficiency by saving time, money and/or energy.  Solutions may include, but are not limited to:

  • Systems that automatically park the vehicle after the passenger leaves the vehicle
  • Technologies that provide real-time data on metrics such as parking availability and reservations
  • Travel demand management strategies or automated services for traffic mitigation

Smart Infrastructure

Solutions will foster real time info-sharing of city services for citizens (e.g., improving awareness of mobility options and best routing capabilities) and government (e.g., capacity to provide services including traffic management, emergency response and mobility options). Solutions may include, but are not limited to: 

  • Sensors, vision systems, and/or wireless and network controls integration to reduce electricity use, increase security, and share mass communication about traffic and weather conditions, and other factors of value to citizens
  • Communication systems integration that support public services, marketing/advertising, and provide interactive information with pedestrians, cyclists, vehicles or public transit
  • Street lighting systems that sense and respond to individuals and mobility systems in urban areas
  • Public signage that use interactive, real-time data analytics to engage and inform the public
  • Transit hubs connecting mobility options to personal and public physical infrastructure 
  • Concepts that remotely detect potholes and automatically dispatch city repair crews
  • Augmented Reality (AR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) concepts that support or enhance city services

Smart Mobility

Applications will improve how people, places and goods move.  Solutions may include, but are not limited to:

  • Smart charging management systems that may manage one or more of the following variables: timing, reservation, billing, and cost-management of EV loads 
  • Novel approaches to shared transportation
  • Wireless charging applications
  • First-mile and last-mile service for transit users
  • Technologies fostering multi-modal transit options
  • Fleet management

Smart Buildings

Applications will improve safety & security, reduce or optimize energy usage, connect to mobility systems, and support cost-effective decision-making processes. Solutions may include but are not limited to:

  • Ideas that allow home and/or building owners to quickly identify, compare and finance energy-related products such as EV chargers, provide return on investment analysis on new energy efficiency investments, or link to owner’s banking profile, loan options and/or current financing rates
  • Ideas integrating security, parking, external lighting, cameras, and communication and connectivity with the buildings’ tenants, employees, facility management staff and local authorities
  • Wearable technologies integrated with building systems, mobility systems, and broader urban systems
  • Concepts incorporating demand response with EVs to reduce or shift energy use in response to power grid reliability or needs
  • Integration of building energy management systems with electric vehicle (EV) charging

Submissions

Proposals that do not include a concept for a demonstration to be executed in 2018, or those that are business plans or executive summaries are not of interest.

See NextChallenge:Smart Cities 2017 for details. Must submit concept paper by August 18, 2017 at 11:59pm EDT to be eligible. Must be 18 years of age or older to participate.  

Learn more at https://nextenergy.org/nextchallenge/

FAQs

Challenge Moderator
Meet the NextEnergy2017 Sponsors
  • Vice President and Environmental Affairs Business Initiatives Manager, Wells Fargo
  • NextEnergy2017
  • Manager of Engineering Technology, DTE Energy
  • NextEnergy2017
  • Director, Technical Planning, North American Research and Engineering Center, DENSO International America, Inc.
  • NextEnergy2017
  • President & CEO, NextEnergy
  • NextEnergy2017
Contact our Help Desk
 

Background

Today’s cities are facing many common challenges in the areas of safety, mobility, emissions, accessibility, and congestion. With urban population estimates calculating growth to rise from 54% in 2014 to 66% by 2050, stresses on a city’s services and infrastructure are expected to grow as well. NextEnergy thinks innovation is an important mechanism to proactively address the challenges facing cities and identify opportunities for new business models.

NextChallenge: Smart Cities 2017 focuses on accelerating connected, interactive and data driven solutions in advanced energy and mobility that address unmet needs in urban areas by seeking out solutions from technology companies with ideas to solve them (i.e. "Solution Providers"). Through this challenge, innovations will be demonstrated that create safer and more efficient places for people to live and work – and have a lower impact on the environment.