Watford innovation competition identifies tech solutions to service challenges
Local council invests £30,000 with technology companies
Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Archive/PA Images
Watford Borough Council has concluded its first innovation competition, choosing two firms to work on technological solutions to measuring visitor footfall and abuse of parking places.
The council sought technology that could identify whether a vehicle is correctly using a restricted parking space, such as a controlled zone or taxi rank.
IoT Solutions Group was awarded £20,000 to develop technology that uses magnetometers within the road to communicate with equipment placed in registered vehicles.
If an unregistered vehicle enters the zone, an alert will be sent to an enforcement officer.
The company's director Neal Forse said: “Our technology will allow for a more targeted approach to traffic enforcement and will reduce the risk of Watford residents getting into unlicensed taxis.”
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Giospite was awarded £10,000 to develop a system that can provide footfall and visitor flow information to the same or better standards as existing camera-based ones.
Sales and marketing director Anthony Brown said he was confident his company’s product would “provide a more flexible, cost-effective and accurate way for [the council] to monitor town-centre viability and give them greater insight into the impact – and success – of their Big Events programme" of free local events and activities.
Watford’s Liberal Democrat elected mayor Peter Taylor said: “Innovative technologies such as these enable us to provide better and better services to our residents while identifying cost savings to help council funds go further.”
A similar technology innovation competition is being run by central government, offering tech firms development grants of as much as £500,000 to tackle problems such as online extremism, hazardous waste disposal, and isolation in rural areas.
Last November, the West Midlands Combined Authority launched a contest to find technological innovations for wellbeing, homelessness, youth unemployment, and digital citizenship.
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