Image: See.Sense Image: See.Sense

A company aiming to use technology to make cycling and cities safer, smarter and more enjoyable has been crowned the overall winner of the BT Infinity Lab SME Awards 2016: Connected Cities, run in partnership with the Cabinet Office, MK: Smart and TechHub.

Northern Ireland based See.Sense won the award for its ICON intelligent and connected cycle light, which was judged to have the greatest potential to make a difference to the cities of the future. The company away with £15,000 prize money and a six month's membership of TechHub - a global community set up to help tech entrepreneurs and start-ups.

As well as being a market-leading cycle light that keeps cyclists safer on the road, ICON contains sensors which collect high-quality data about any crashes, near miss-events, road surfaces, light levels and more. This information can then be used by city planners to create better cycling infrastructure and smart cities.

Possible uses for the data include identifying ‘hot spot’ areas where there are a high-frequency of ‘near-miss’ events and crashes, showing where the priority areas are to invest in cycling infrastructure, and identifying potholes before they’re fully formed, so that cities can repair them at lower cost before they become hazards.

Irene McAleese, co-founder and chief marketing officer at See.Sense, said: “We’re honoured to have won the Smart City prize and also be judged the overall winner given the high standard of entries we were up against. We’ve gained some valuable insights from the other companies who have taken part and the feedback we’ve had during the competition.

“Having the opportunity to develop our idea into something that will really help transform cities of the future and make a real impact on society is really exciting. Working with Milton Keynes will also be a fantastic case study to showcase our capabilities.”

Sitekit Ltd, a healthcare technology company from the Isle of Skye, won the Connected Society award for demonstrating how ICT can help society operate more sustainably with their eRedbook. This is the digital version of the existing paper-based Redbook - which all parents of new-born babies receive to record and manage the health and development of their child.

London-based Vivacity Labs was crowned winner of the Internet of Things category for its intelligent cameras, judged the most innovative technology solution in this field. The system enables the next generation of reactive traffic lights, and eliminates the need for time-consuming and expensive manual data collection by councils. Containing sensors which quantify the movement of cyclists, pedestrians and vehicles in real-time, they provide smart, hyper-local data for smart cities and intelligent transport systems.

Sitekit Ltd and Vivacity Labs each received £7,500 prize money and six months support from BT to help develop their ideas.

Matt Hancock, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, said: "Being a smarter government is about recasting the relationship between the citizen and the state, making public services simpler, clearer and faster and taking advantage of state-of-the-art digital technologies.

"To achieve this, we need to draw on the expertise of digital innovators from all over the country, especially small businesses which we know to be some of the most innovative in the UK.

"I am delighted to be supporting these awards, and I give my heartfelt congratulations to the winners."

Ian Dalton, president of government and health at BT, said: "This competition has really highlighted the rich vein of dynamism and innovation that exists in the UK's SME market. It demonstrates how they can make a big difference not only to the public sector, but in helping shape our cities of the future through their imaginative digital products and services. Initiatives such as this can really give companies that helping hand they need to turn their great ideas into reality.

“With around one million SME customers, BT has a strong interest in helping them to innovate and thrive. We also have a role to play in shaping connected cities of the future, so it’s great to work with the Cabinet Office and our other partners to play a part in helping both to develop.”