Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Canadian automation startup wins 2019 Nokia Open Innovation Challenge

November 25, 2019
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

A Canadian startup company that offers technologies to reduce energy consumption for Internet of Things devices has won the 2019 Nokia Open Innovation Challenge.

HaiLa was awarded €100,000 in financial resources and will be given access to researchers and product development teams at Nokia and Nokia Bell Labs to position it for business growth as the world moves towards industrial automation enabled by 5G networks.

HaiLa beat out more than 200 other startups from 70 countries around the world that competed in this year’s competition, which involved several assessment rounds. The company and four other finalists gave presentations and demonstrations at a grand finals event held Nov. 21, 2019 at Nokia’s global headquarters. German startup Wandelbots finished in second place.

Located in Montreal, HaiLa’s technology enables IoT device data to hitchhike on ambient waves, drastically reducing IoT power consumption. HaiLa’s technology allows reuse of the ambient signals in the environment and simply backscatter the modulated data on top, eliminating the necessity for dedicated single tone transmitters, making the technology easier to integrate with the existing infrastructure and reduce IoT power consumption.


As winner and runner-up, HaiLa and Wandelbots will also have the opportunity to collaborate with Nokia Bell Labs researchers to add to Nokia’s end-to-end 5G network architecture with the startups’ innovative use cases. Nokia has complete build-outs of its end-to-end network, complete with network slicing, at Future X Labs in Espoo and Murray Hill, NJ.

This year’s Nokia Open Innovation Challenge, which was launched in April, sought out startups with disruptive ideas in industrial automation categories that would help bring about Industry 4.0. The competition was organized by Nokia Bell Labs in partnership with NGP Capital, a global venture capital firm, backed by Nokia. This year marks the seventh year of the annual competition.

“Such an honour to be chosen as the winner, thank you to Nokia for this incredible opportunity,” says Charlotte Savage, founder of HaiLa. “However, this was never about the competition. The goal was to establish a real partnership with one of the leaders of the networking industry to enable sustainable wireless communication. We look forward to be at the forefront of carbon emission reduction with Nokia.”

The Germany-based Wandelbots, which won €50,000 for its second-place finish, is democratizing industrial robotics by enabling anyone to program any robot via smart input devices and example-based teaching.

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