City Testbeds


In order for businesses to develop valuable products and services that will create a positive impact, we believe it’s important to test and demonstrate innovative solutions in a controlled real-life environment.

A testbed is a proving ground to develop, test and showcase the best new technologies that solve real challenges. The idea is to verify and validate early in development innovative solutions co-created in open innovation with companies, academics and users.

What do we offer?

Our city testbed offer was developed in concert with the Data and Demonstrators programme, and rigorously tested through several CR&D and commercial projects.

Main activities and outcomes include:

  • Define a challenge to be addressed with user research
  • Market research and horizon technologies scan to provide a state-of-the-art report and identify peers/partners
  • Open call for projects to engage with innovative SMEs/start-ups
  • Tech deployment on-site, technical monitoring and ecosystem building
  • Impact assessment to build a business case and attract investment
  • New added-value services co-created with your customers and successfully rolled out in cities
Case study: Urban Technology Testbed

Key objectives of our Urban Technology Testbed programme include:

  • Reducing the risk and the up-front investments in innovations
  • Engaging with the innovation ecosystem and create a community of innovators and talents around your company/sector
  • Experimenting with new ideas for the benefit of customers and service improvement
  • Providing thought leadership and being seen as an innovation leader at the forefront of tech.

In order for businesses to develop valuable products and services that will create a positive impact, we believe it’s important to test and demonstrate innovative solutions in a controlled real-life environment. Future Cities Catapult is launching a new programme to enable companies to develop, test and demonstrate products and services in real-life settings at different scales.

We’ve established three testing environments to achieve this:

city testbeds
The Building Testbed

We’re turning our Urban Innovation Centre (UIC) into a testbed, providing a real-life setting where UK SMEs can test and demonstrate their products and services in a controlled, single building environment.

The UIC testbed will enable companies to test and monitor elements such as noise, energy use, room temperature and air quality. Not only can we provide access to our building and its occupants, we continuously monitor many elements, allowing us to measure behaviour patterns of our staff and visitors. These data provide a useful baseline to evaluate the performance of new building technologies.

The City Testbed

It can be hard for cities to test innovative solutions on a small scale due to the risk of failure. This can limit the possibilities of developing new solutions for common city challenges. It’s also difficult for SMEs to reach cities and work with them to develop, test and demonstrate innovative solutions on a small scale.

For this reason, we are in conversation with a number of London boroughs to collaboratively shape our City Testbed. And we are now reaching out to cities that are interested in working with us to identify challenge areas that require new products and services (if you are a city or borough and want to get involved please get in touch with us:

Besides our partnership with cities, we also want to connect with SMEs that are developing urban solutions –  with relevance to local businesses, citizens, transport and wellbeing / health.

Immersive Testbed

We’ve partnered with Igloo Vision, turning their Virtual Reality (VR) cylinder into a permanent Immersive Testbed and Showcase in our building. Some early ideas that are still in the concept stage – especially in cities – and are not yet ready to test in a real-life setting; others have work that solely exists in a virtual environment. The Immersive Testbed will allow SMEs to showcase work and use the space for research, design and workshops. It also offers the potential to simulate a city or the interior of a building, allowing SMEs to explore and test their ideas in a low-risk virtual setting before they implement them in the real world.

Connected Places Catapult and the partners involved will provide SMEs with a physical space to test and showcase their products and services.

SMEs involved in any testbed will have a designated space within the UIC, such as access to our Makerspace and/or co-working area.

As part of the testbed programme, we will provide SMEs with the opportunity to showcase their products and services and connect them with high-profile industry partners. There will also be interactive workshops and networking events providing opportunities to network and establish industry connections.

Are you interested in finding out more about how testbed deployment can help solve your city’s challenges?

Let’s talk about how we can help. Email us at:

Click here to find out more about our Global Programme

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