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Nokia launches contest for industrial automation startups to win $175K


May 1, 2019
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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May 1, 2019 – Nokia is hosting a global competition for technology startups offering solutions in industrial automation, with prizes up to $175,000 and the chance to collaborate with experts from Nokia and Nokia Bell Labs.

The Nokia Open Innovation Challenge (NOIC), now in its seventh year, specifically seeks out startups with disruptive ideas in industrial automation categories such as multi-robot collaboration, VR/ AR–driven human augmentation for industrial and enterprise use cases, digital personal assistants in enterprises, human-machine/machine-human communication technologies, edge computing, and artificial intelligence and related technologies.

“We believe that in the coming fourth industrial revolution, a convergence of operations technology (OT) and information and communication technology (ICT) will catalyze the wide scale automation in all industries and infrastructure – and our physical world as a whole,” says Marcus Weldon, president of Nokia Bell Labs and Corporate CTO of Nokia. 

“This will usher in a new era of productivity for many sectors of the economy. As we roll out end-to-end 5G around the world to deliver high-performance local and wide area connectivity services, we are excited to connect with innovative startups, to allow them to come and collaborate with our experts, and for us to be able to support them to help grow their businesses and shape the future of industrial automation.”

Last year’s winner was Spark Microsystems, a Montreal-based business that manufactures low-power wireless transceiver chipsets designed for the Internet of Things (IoT).

“This recognition provided credible validation of our innovation from a technology leader and pioneer in our field, and had a significant positive impact on our employees, partners, customers and investors,” says Fares Mubarak, CEO of Spark Microsystems. “We have already identified multiple collaboration opportunities within Nokia, with the help of the NOIC team, which is very timely as we are within a year of full productization.”

Interested startups must submit entries by June 30, 2019. Finalists will be brought to a mentoring event this fall at Nokia Bell Labs in Murray Hill, N.J., where they will meet with leading innovators in Nokia and have access to lab resources to help refine the pitch for their innovations.

The selected finalists will then present their proposals to an international jury at an event located at Nokia’s global headquarters in Espoo, Finland. The selection jury will be chaired by Marcus Weldon and be comprised of leaders from across Nokia, Nokia Bell Labs and NGP Capital.

The competition is organized in partnership with NGP Capital, a global venture capital firm, backed by Nokia. NGP Capital has 14 years of expertise in evaluating, investing and accelerating promising growth-stage companies from around the world.