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Manchester school wins smart city design task

The challenge encouraged teamwork and creativity, providing industry experience and guidance throughout the pupils’ journey

Citylabs, located in the heart of Manchester's innovation district, hosted the event
Citylabs, located in the heart of Manchester's innovation district, hosted the event

Manchester Grammar School has won the first CityVerve Next Generation: School’s Innovation Challenge.


The challenge aimed to improve both business and life skills, as well as immerse pupils in the world of the Internet of Things (IoT), by encouraging students aged 11 to 13 to solve a problem and design and develop a solution.


Hosted at Citylabs, in the heart of Manchester’s innovation district, the winning team devised a smart transport card idea.


Entitled ‘Vision’, the idea encourages citizens to swap cars for public transport in exchange for redeemable rewards, called Visbits, in a network of local shops.


“The CityVerve Next Generation: School’s Innovation Challenge gives young people in Manchester the opportunity to showcase their innovative skills through the application of forward thinking, digital and STEM skills thought processes,” said Mark Duncan, strategic lead – resources & programmes and CityVerve lead, Manchester City Council.


“I’m delighted Manchester Grammar School has been crowned the winner of the Innovation Challenge and would like to personally thank the schools and children for their contributions, as well as congratulating them on their innovative and thought-provoking ideas displayed. The winning team showed enthusiasm throughout and their innovative ideas made them truly stand out. I am excited to see what the future holds for these young people.”


The challenge also included finalists from Manchester Communications Academy, who thought up an app that would help people find parking spaces, to save time, make travel easier and reduce pollution.


The competition was judged by: Nick Chrissos, head of innovation technology and CityVerve Project Director, Cisco UK & Ireland; Mark Duncan, strategic lead – resources & programmes and CityVerve lead, Manchester City Council; Anne Dornan, head of innovation & partnerships, Manchester Science Partnerships; Lucy Roue, deputy business editor, Manchester Evening News; and Damian Payton, co-founder, Hive Manchester.


The CityVerve project brings together the latest Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, deployed at city scale to deliver transformative benefits: new business and jobs for Manchester; better healthcare, transport and environment; and more engaged and empowered citizens.


It was established in July 2016 with a two-year remit to demonstrate the capability of IoT applications and address barriers to deploying smart cities, such as city governance, network security, user trust and adoption, interoperability, scalability and justifying investment.


Combining technology and business model innovations, it aims to create a real-life blueprint for smart cities worldwide.


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