Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

Inspiring Innovation: The Cisco IoT Innovation Grand Challenge UK semi-finalists

September 2, 2014

The seamless connection of everyday devices to the internet – the Internet of Things – is set to revolutionise the way we work, live and play. It’s also giving tech entrepreneurs an unprecedented opportunity to create and innovate. Cisco’s IoT Innovation Grand Challenge recognises and celebrates those entrepreneurs developing solutions that optimise the IoT, and we’re excited to tell you more about the two UK semi-finalists from a 19-strong global line up. The IoT Innovation Grand Challenge winner will be announced on October 14 in Chicago at the IoT World Forum.

First up is Sedicii, a solution that tackles arguably the biggest concern surrounding the IoT – security. Its authentication technology proves that a user is exactly who they say they are – and that their device is what it says it is – without them having to store a username and password on a server or device.

“As we become increasingly connected, developers still tend to overlook the security aspect of devices and services. You tend to end up with a range of usernames and passwords, which aren’t very secure, stored all over the place,” explains Rob Leslie, Sedicii CEO.

Sedicii bypasses the traditional username and password authentication route by using the zero-knowledge proof protocol. This proves a piece of information that only the user knows – and that is only stored in their head – without them actually imparting that information. It does this by posing particular questions, determined by a complex mathematical process, that confirm your identity without any sharing or transmission of data.

“We’re trying to make the connected world safe,” Leslie continues. “A big concern for many people surrounding the IoT is security. We don’t want a world where you can tap your smartphone and make an ATM start pumping out cash because the security systems between your phone and the ATM aren’t robust enough. It needs to tell you to go away because you’re not who you claim to be, and that’s exactly what Sedicii does.”

NWave’s solution, meanwhile, aims to monetise the IoT, while solving what is becoming a growing social and economic problem: parking difficulties. Its Sparkit wireless smart parking solution presents councils and local governments with a low cost, high efficiency end-to-end solution to congestion, polluting emissions and hours wasted caused by parking difficulties.

The SparkIT sensor is high efficiency, wireless and has a highly optimised PTB antenna that detects vehicle movement and uses advanced filtering to ascertain what a vehicle is doing. This information is transmitted across NWave’s own low power, wide area wireless technology – which is specifically designed for small amounts of machine-generated data – before being transmitted to the end-user’s device. Information on available parking spots is then received via a smartphone app.

“We’re different to other smart parking solutions, which tend to require upfront infrastructure and ongoing maintenance and data transmission costs. SparkIT is provided as a service – we install the network and all the user pays for is a monthly fee. It’s an incredibly low cost way into sophisticated, high-end parking management solutions, and is enabling people to take that leap into cutting-edge solutions.” explains Jonathan Wiggin, NWave CEO.

If ultimately successful in the competition, NWave will continue to develop and add features to Sparkit’s back and front end applications, enriching the smartphone app experience for drivers.

These are just two of a host of forward-thinking ideas the Cisco IoT Innovation Grand Challenge semi-finalists have produced – to discover more, take a look here.

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