BT, Cabinet Office launch nationwide contest for SMEs with AI ideas

BT, Cabinet Office launch nationwide contest for SMEs with AI ideas

BT has launched a competition for SMEs in partnership with the Cabinet Office and TechHub in a bid to boost AI digital services. 

The competition aims to find the latest innovations in digital public services, defence and retail from SMEs around the UK. The theme is ‘Augmented Intelligence’ and the contest is for ideas that harness the data processing powers of technology and the expertise of human manpower.

It will be the latest in the series of BT Infinity Lab competitions, with a £30,000 prize for three winners.

BT said that the judges are keen to see innovations that could aid the military when planning an operation, humanitarian mission or disaster relief; how robotics could be used to make a retail experience more personalised; or improve customers’ experience when they contact a public service.

The winners will get the opportunity to develop their idea with the support of industry experts and tech gurus from BT for six months. Winners will also receive membership to TechHub’s global entrepreneur community, workspace and support programme.

Minister for Implementation Oliver Dowden said: “The government is committed to transforming public services, making them as efficient and effective as possible so that they deliver the best services for taxpayers.

“Small businesses play a vital role in helping us do this by harnessing the latest digital technologies. I am delighted that we are partnering with BT to highlight and support innovative small businesses in the tech sector.”

In order to participate in the competition, the SMEs are required to submit a three-minute video explaining why their solution could be the next big tech innovation.

The judges include Co-Op CIO Simon Bourne, Gen Chris Deverell, Commander, Joint Forces Command, Ministry of Defence, Alison Pritchard, COO, Government Digital Service, Elizabeth Varley, founder and CEO of TechHub, and experts from BT.

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Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries Margot James said: “We want the UK to be the best place to grow a digital business and this partnership will give our dynamic, up-and-coming innovators the opportunity to develop the technology of tomorrow. “I look forward to seeing these ideas become reality and help improve our public services so everyone can benefit from the technological revolution as we build a Britain fit for the future.”

Entries will close on 12 March 2018. The winners will be announced after a judging event at the BT Tower on 24 April 2018.