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Innovation Zero 2024

The UK's largest net-zero congress

When and where?

Olympia London
30th - 1st May 2024
9:00am - 5:00pm

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We are delighted to once again participate in Innovation Zero, and we’re contributing to a number of sessions, including: 

Andrew Chadwick, Ecosystem Director, Air Mobility & Airports, joining the Fuelling Flight: Hydrogen session on 1 May at 11:45.

Alison Young, Head of Global Investment, joining the session on Funding the Automotive Transformation, on 1 May at 12:25 in the Transport & Mobility Forum.

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Connected North 2024

Delivering the North's Connected Future

When and where?

Manchester Central
22nd - 23rd April 2024
9:00am - 5:00pm

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We are hosting a Digital Twin Hub session on Day 1, 22 April at 2pm, titled ‘Digital twins driving innovation in the North – Explore innovative projects that look to catapult the North of the UK into a bright digital future’. Join Nury Moreira, Community Manager of Digital Twin Hub, and other speakers for an inspiring conversation.

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UKREiiF 2024

The UK's Real Estate Investment & Infrastructure Forum

When and where?

Leeds
21st - 23rd May 2024
9:00am - 5:00pm

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This year, we are proud to host our own Pavilion, a place designed to showcase real innovation, and provide opportunities to connect with thought leaders, and UK and global peers.

To review our full Agenda of sessions and activities taking place over the three days and plan your visit, please head to the UKREiiF website > Programme tab > Download Programme or > Click on the Connected Places Catapult Pavilion dot to browse online.

Make sure to visit our Pavilion in Pavilion Square, we look forward to connecting with you in Leeds! 

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Interchange 2024

Be the Change

When and where?

Manchester
27th - 28th February 2024
9:00am - 6:00pm

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Paul Wilson, our Chief Business Officer, is participating in the keynote panel titled ‘Transport as the key to people-centric, accessible, and sustainable urban spaces’ on 27 Feb, from 13:10 on the Keynote Stage.

Justin Anderson, Director of Digital Twin Hub, is delivering a presentation on connected digital twins as part of Interchange partner event Transforming Infrastructure Performance (TIP) Live, also on 27 Feb.

Come find us on the show floor and connect!

Register using code CPC24.

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Open and Agile Smart Cities (OASC) Conference 2024

Become better connected

When and where?

Rotterdam, the Netherlands
16th - 17th January 2024
9:00am - 6:00pm

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We’re delighted to participate in the Open & Agile Smart Cities Conference. Make sure to visit our Connected Places Catapult stand on the show floor and to join the sessions our experts are participating in over the course of the two days.

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Award win for project deploying drones and advanced AI

Consortium scoops prestigious award for research and development at robotics ceremony

‘Intelligent Drones for Port and Highways Technology’ (InDePTH) – a project developing and trialling an innovative approach to the monitoring and control of critical national infrastructure – was recognised at the 2023 Robotics and Automation Awards in London.

Nominated for two awards, InDePTH won the award for Best Research & Development Innovation at the ceremony, held at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms.

Connected Places Catapult, alongside Associated British Ports (ABP), Kier Transportation, RoboK and HeroTech8 is part of the InDePTH consortium being led by BT. The consortium is focused on using automated drone technology and advanced AI techniques to create an efficient, low-carbon and cost-effective solution for infrastructure management.

The project aims to trial ‘beyond visual line of sight’ BVLOS flights using automated ‘drone-in-a-box’ technology to regularly survey large infrastructure estates.

The imagery collected from the drone missions will be used to create digital models, and state-of-the-art machine learning will automatically extract insight from the collected imagery; insight that can be used by end users in near real-time.

Project trials are centred around three real-world use cases for ports and highways developed by ABP and Kier, including landside port operations and management, marine operations and highway safety and defect inspections.

“I’m delighted that the Project InDePTH team has been recognised for their excellent work at the Robotics and Automation Awards. InDePTH is an innovative and technically complex project which will revolutionise the autonomous drones service industry, by bringing agile artificial intelligence to a wide variety of customers and industry sectors.”
Andrew Chadwick, Acting Ecosystem Director for Air Mobility & Airports, Connected Places Catapult
“We’re delighted to have won this award which recognises the potential of InDePTH to transform the way operations are conducted in critical national infrastructure and beyond with the use of autonomous drones. One of the judging criteria for the category was collaboration and the way the partners have come together to jointly tackle the demanding use cases that InDePTH is focussing on really shone through to the judges in our presentation.”
Alistair Duke, Research Manager – Networks, BT Group on behalf of the InDePTH consortium

InDePTH forms part of the Future Flight Challenge Phase 3 programme, delivered by Innovate UK and funded by UK Research and Innovation which aims to help develop the country’s future drone economy.

Flights are taking place at the Port of Ipswich, owned and operated by ABP, to show how drones could help improve asset and inventory management, as well as oversee offshore surveillance and maritime operations.

InDePTH is also deploying drones to continuously assess the surface quality of roads within the port on behalf of Kier, in an effort to spot defects early, which – if used on highways – could improve safety and wellbeing for roadworkers.

Trials of the technology will continue over the remainder of the project, evaluating the technology against the use cases identified by ABP and Kier, and working towards developing a market-ready solution in terms of both the technology and business models.

You can find out more about the consortium partners and their role in the project on our project page and in our project video.

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MK Accelerator Cohort Booklet

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Digital innovation for healthy ageing: social isolation and loneliness in Northern Ireland

A number of Northern Ireland institutions and organisations joined forces in 2021 to take a multisectoral approach to address social isolation and loneliness as part of Connected Places Catapult’s Homes for Healthy Ageing programme.

By 2050, the percentage of the UK population aged 65 and over is projected to increase to 25%[1]. As such, there is a need to adopt more innovative approaches to reduce the risk of social isolation and loneliness, create meaningful opportunities for social connectedness, and promote a greater sense of belonging among our ageing population 

Social relationships are an important part of people’s health and wellbeing. They have the potential to increase people’s happiness, comfort, and resilience. This is especially important among older adults who are at significant risk of loneliness due to factors such as decreased mobility, limited social networks, and deteriorating health. 

In Northern Ireland, chronic loneliness affects 1 in 20 people[2]. Given the prominence of this issue in the region, a number of Northern Ireland institutions and organisations joined forces in 2021 to take a multisectoral approach to addressing this challenge as part of Connected Places Catapult’s Homes for Healthy Ageing programme. The programme aims to demonstrate the role that innovation, collaboration and a human-centred approach can play in accelerating the development of healthy, age-friendly homes and neighbourhoods. 

As one of the five location partners funded by Connected Places Catapult, the Northern Ireland consortium was made up of: 

  • Ulster University
  • Belfast City Council
  • Connected Health Innovation Centre (CHIC)
  • Queen’s University Belfast
  • Age NI
  • Public Health Agency NI
  • Health Innovation Research Alliance NI (HIRANI)  
  • Market Development Association (MDA)

Together, the consortium delivered a testbed in Belfast to test and demonstrate the impact of innovative technologies and solutions addressing social isolation and loneliness among older adults.  

A testbed is an environment for trailing innovative and ambitious ideas in real-life settings, enabling places and innovators to discover what does and doesn’t work in a safe environment before iterating and scaling up. Ten UK businesses were given the opportunity to participate in the Northern Ireland testbed, to trial and showcase their products and services, using Connected Places Catapult’s Real World Testing Framework. 

Understanding the challenge area 

The consortium set out to address the challenge areas of ‘physical and mental health’ and ‘community and social environment’ to improve the health, wellbeing and independence of older adults. The aim was to identify innovative ways of enhancing social connections among older adults living in urban and rural areas of Northern Ireland, using digital technology. 

The consortium engaged with older adults and local experts in the community to gather useful insights on the most prominent challenges facing socially isolated older adults. The testbed explored three issues: 

  • how to create tailored approaches that allow older adults to develop meaningful connections 
  • how to rebuild the confidence of older adults who have lost their social activities/hobbies due to COVID-19; and 
  • how to remove the barriers of getting online for older adults who would benefit from being digitally connected. 

Real-world testing: 10 digital solutions   

Ten businesses were selected, following an open call, to join the Northern Ireland testbed. They tested their solutions with older adults from the local community over a 1-3-month period. A few of the companies ran a ‘demo day’, which was attended by over 80 older adults, where they presented their solutions and received useful feedback on their products and services from the people they were designed to support. 

  • Thriving AI: a digital application that enables integrated care communication, coordination & monitoring 
  • Walk With Path: wearable technology with online coaching and community building around physical exercise 
  • Civic Dollars: a community currency app that encourages users to be more active by incentivising activity 
  • Ethel Care: a digital platform that supports remote care for vulnerable people 
  • Kraydel: a TV-based service that enables social connectivity and internet of things monitoring 
  • Treasured Times: an easy-to-use digital application keeping families connected 
  • Living in Fitness: health and quality of life through exercise classes 
  • Companiions: a platform providing a simple, trusted way for people to arrange support, assistance and company from a pool of local, trusted, and vetted companions 
  • Storii: a platform helping people to build life stories and connect with loved ones, 
  • Wanatok: an app that brings people together in person to talk in real-time in their current location.

Throughout the process, the businesses learnt and got advice from experts within the region, including the Loneliness Forum, Queen’s University, Ulster University, and Age NI. The opportunity to engage directly with older adults was a notable part of the testbed experience, as the businesses were able to gain a better understanding of the lived experiences of socially isolated adults in Northern Ireland, and challenge their assumptions on characteristics amendable to older adults in a digital product or service. These insights enabled them to improve or add additional functionalities, helping them improve their solution for specific user groups and cater to a wider range of end users. 

On 17th June 2022, the Northern Ireland consortium hosted a successful in-person showcase event. This event brought together local stakeholders (including community leaders, commissioners, academics, and health and social care experts) to learn more about the Homes for Healthy Ageing Programme and the innovative solutions brought forward by businesses. It was also a great opportunity to network with the businesses and hear valuable insights from the testbed.

Next steps for the consortium 

The Homes for Healthy Ageing programme was well-aligned with Belfast City Council’s Smart Belfast: Urban Innovation Framework which seeks to bring universities, businesses, local government, and citizens to collaborate, innovate and experiment using cutting-edge technologies and data science. 

The next step for the consortium is to work together to expand on the testbed learnings and insights to find ways to create new opportunities for businesses to test and scale their solutions in Northern Ireland.  

It’s been a great experience for us in Belfast to work with Connected Places Catapult. It’s been a fantastic collaboration and we’ve all brought together various skills and energy to the project. We hope that the relationship will continue on to further projects to benefit the city and our citizens  
Deirdre Ferguson of Belfast City Council
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Bristol Temple Meads to become testbed for passenger tech

A multi-million pound programme will turn Bristol Temple Meads into the UK’s first ‘Station Innovation Zone’, trialling new technologies designed to upgrade passengers’ experience.

Connected Places Catapult, the UK’s innovation accelerator for cities, transport, and place leadership, and Network Rail, have announced today (Monday 17 October 2022) that Bristol’s iconic train station is to host trials of innovative passenger technologies thanks to a new partnership between Network Rail and Connected Places Catapult.

The programme is selecting start-ups aiming to test new ways to improve various aspects of the passenger experience: from making journeys smoother with smarter ticketing, to making stations more accessible with wayfinding apps; from using AI to improve people flow, to designing better facilities using human-centred design principles.

The Catapult is directing millions of pounds of Innovate UK funding into the programme, which sees Bristol Temple Meads named as the UK’s first Station Innovation Zone. The five-year programme will pioneer the approach and plans are in place to roll out the model to other stations as it succeeds.

“We’re delighted to be partnering with Connected Places Catapult on this new programme which will provide SMEs with crucial funding opportunities and Network Rail with new, innovative ideas on how to further enhance the experience of our passengers.”

“We are committed to developing Bristol Temple Meads into a world class transport hub for the benefit of our passengers, the city of Bristol and wider West of England region, so it is fitting Bristol Temple Meads has been chosen as the UK’s first Station Innovation Zone.”
Francis McGarry, Network Rail Wales & Western region Investment Director
“Innovate UK is strongly committed to partnerships to deliver future transport systems that are connected, accessible, sustainable, and safe. So, we see this partnership between our Connected Places Catapult and Network Rail as an important step to support delivery of passenger technology for the future.”
Indro Mukerjee, CEO, Innovate UK
“Innovation is tough in any industry and rail is especially hard because of the number of assessments and permissions required. The net effect is that it takes too much time and costs too much for most small businesses to engage. Partnering with Network Rail to create a multi-year Station Innovation Zone in Bristol’s vibrant Temple Quarter will enable us to support numerous small companies in navigating these challenges and benefit passengers’ experience of the station.”
Nicola Yates OBE, CEO, Connected Places Catapult

Applications opened today for start-ups with ideas that could be trialled in the Station Innovation Zone. Passengers are likely to see the first trials beginning early next year.

This announcement of the Station Innovation Zone follows the Government’s levelling-up announcement of £95m for the Bristol Temple Quarter regeneration programme and the Catapult funding will complement the ongoing revitalisation of the station. Around £60m of the funding from Government will enable improvements in and around Bristol Temple Meads Station, including three new entrances to the station, as well as infrastructure works and new public spaces nearby.

“We are delighted that Connected Places Catapult and Innovate UK have chosen Bristol Temple Meads as the country’s first Station Innovation Zone. Temple Meads is at the heart of Temple Quarter, and the innovation funding from the Catapult, combined with recent funding of £95million Bristol secured from Government, matches our commitment to making Temple Meads and its surrounding area a world-class gateway to the city region. This is an exciting new chapter for Brunel’s iconic train station as we prepare for new sustainable homes, quality jobs and inclusive opportunities in Bristol.”
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol

The University of Bristol is developing its presence in Temple Quarter near the station, recently opening the Temple Quarter Research Hub, housing the Bristol Digital Futures Institute with a large scale data-center and a sector agnostic digital twin.

“Bristol Digital Futures institute is a cross-disciplinary research institute driving digital innovation with a focus on inclusion, prosperity and sustainability.  We look forward to working with Connected Places Catapult on the Station Innovation Zone to transform the way digital technologies are created, deployed and consumed by transport hubs such as our own railway station at Temple Meads.”
Professor Dimitra Simeonidou, Co-Director of Bristol Digital Futures Institute
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11 SMEs join three new healthy ageing testbeds

Connected Places Catapult is pleased to welcome 11 new SMEs to our Homes for Healthy Ageing Programme to test their innovations and technologies in our next three testbeds

After launching a successful open call for UK SMEs, we have selected 11 SMEs from a total of 56 applications. The 11 SMEs offer a range of products and services from Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven health tech solutions to innovative mobility solutions.

The next phase of the Homes for Healthy Ageing programme will explore themes around social connectedness and independence in later life, as well as greater efficiencies in formal and informal care provision for older adults.

Attendees of the SME on-boarding day in the Connected Places Catapults London offices

Leeds Cohort:

  • Centaur Robotics – A two-wheeled, self-balancing chair using intelligent software that supports day-to-day running. It has a powered lifting column that elevates you to eye level, extending your reach.
  • Treasured Times – The Treasure Book app and tablet helps to boost independence in a range of care settings. It provides personalised content, a messaging service, and sends important reminders.
  • Active Orbit – An app that tracks active minutes (walking, running, cycling) in exchange for Orbit Rewards. These rewards can be exchanged in local shops, businesses, clubs, and charities.
  • onHand – onHand make volunteering simple by offering services at a super low cost to businesses, and therefore gets everyone on the team volunteering and helping in the community.

Brighton & Hove Cohort:

  • Tendertec – A care assistant platform, ‘Hestia’, supports ageing well without the use of wearables. Through the power of AI, Tendertec aims to give one billion people a better ageing journey.
  • GG Care – Transforming an Amazon Alexa into a virtual care companion to help older adults complete everyday life activities, by breaking down tasks into digestible steps.
  • Kraydel – Konnect’ is a TV-based video calling system with a fully featured Internet of Things (IoT) platform. It is integrated with a range of medical and well-being devices, designed to improve social connectivity and support independence for older adults.

Essex Cohort:

  • Thriving.ai – A digital platform that transforms communication, coordination & data collection to save time, money and improve care.
  • MiiCare – A preventative care solution that leverages the power of AI and digital therapeutics. It uses a digital health coach and a holistic platform, to enable care providers to personalise and validate care efficiently.
  • Lilli – A software platform that encourages independent and safe living. It enables front-line workers to make more informed decisions using non-intrusive remote monitoring technology.
  • MyHelp – A digital tool that provides individuals with a personalised web platform and mobile app. It focuses on their needs whilst strengthening the relationship with professionals involved in their care.

Location Partners

Together with our new location partners in Leeds, Brighton & Hove, and Essex, we are demonstrating the role that innovation, collaboration and a human centred approach can play in accelerating the development of healthy, age-friendly homes. We will be delivering 3 testbeds to explore the following challenge areas:



“We are very excited to be working with our SME partners GG Care, Kraydel, and Tendertec in support of our ambition that everyone in Brighton & Hove will be able to age well and be helped to live independently in the community thanks to services and knowledge that connect them with their communities.”

Dr Theo Fotis - Reader, University of Brighton


“We’re looking forward in Essex to working with our chosen SMEs to trial new technology and further develop our Dengie Neighbourhood offer. This will continue to build on our ambition of integrated community teams across Mid Essex and build into our strategic aims as a local authority to level up the County and ensure Essex residents receive the best service from us as possible.”

Michael Farrell - Integration and Partnership Locality Lead, Essex County Council

To find out more about the Homes for Healthy Ageing programme, get in touch at homesforhealthyageing@cp.catapult.org.uk.