DETROIT, June 27, 2017 /PRNewswire

The world's population living in urban areas is estimated to rise from 54 percent in 2014 to 66 percent by 2050.To prepare for the added stress on city infrastructure, NextEnergy , DENSO , DTE Energy and Wells Fargo are partnering to hold the second annual NextChallenge: Smart Cities , a global competition challenging innovators to find and demonstrate hardware and software technology solutions to address new demands in urban areas.

Through the program, technology providers are tasked with proposing hardware and software solutions within one or more of the following categories: smart parking, smart mobility, smart infrastructure, and smart buildings. Innovations should be connected, interactive and data driven (i.e., "smart"), and contribute to safer, more sustainable communities.

"The goal is to identify new technology to address urban challenges related to safety, mobility, emissions, accessibility, and congestion while also driving economic development in the region," said Jean Redfield, president and CEO, NextEnergy. "The inaugural challenge brought talented individuals and creative solutions from around the world and we're looking forward to another great year of innovative ideas and advancement in Smart City technology."

The winner of NextChallenge: Smart Cities will be awarded up to $80,000 in grant funding from Wells Fargo to demonstrate and validate their solution at the NextEnergy Center in Detroit, or an applicable site that meets the needs of the selected solution. An additional combined total of $20,000 will be awarded to as many as four finalists. Monetary awards and programmatic support are funded by a $650,000, three-year grant from Wells Fargo to support NextEnergy's efforts to drive investment in advanced energy and mobility technologies that address needs in urban communities.

Last year, Callida Energy beat out more than 50 other innovators for the top prize in the inaugural challenge. Callida is now working together with NextEnergy and DTE Energy to select a site to demonstrate the Callida Occupant App solution, which optimizes energy use in commercial buildings. The Occupant App software uses real-time data collected from occupants via a comfort survey to empower building operators to more efficiently heat and cool buildings based on occupants' comfort and presence.

"The prize is allowing us to install our software in a commercial building site, do a baseline, make changes to how the building is operated, and develop a case study for how our solution delivered specific savings for the building," said Raphael Carty, CEO of Callida Energy. "Before this challenge, we had a presence in New York and Houston. We saw opportunity in Detroit, but we weren't known in the market. This competition put us on the map in the region."

Innovators interested in entering this year's challenge should submit an online concept proposal by 11:59 pm EDT Aug. 18, 2017.

Submissions will be reviewed by a panel of judges including representatives from NextEnergy, Wells Fargo, DENSO and DTE Energy based on the following objectives: unique and technologically-sound innovation, applicant qualifications, competitive advantage, and scalability. The most compelling solutions will be supported by measurable metrics, address data analytics and information sharing, and open application programming interface (API) capabilities. Semi-finalists will be selected and required to submit a full proposal by Sept. 29, 2017. Finalists will be expected to pitch their ideas and present a video in-person to judges and guests at NextEnergy Center in DetroitDec. 6, 2017. Winner(s) will execute pilots of their solution in 2018.

Source: NextEnergy

Illustration Photo: Barcelona is one of the best smart cities in Europe (credits: Maciek Lulko / Flickr Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0))

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