BT Infinity Awards Looking for Small Businesses with Big Tech Ideas

BT Comp Infinity_Lab

Latest BT Infinity Lab Competition is calling for small to medium tech businesses to submit innovative solutions to boost digital public services, defence and retail.

The BT Infinity awards has a £30,000 prize pot up for grabs, which will be shared between three winning companies. In addition to winning £10,000, each business will receive support from BT’s industry and tech experts to develop their idea over a period of six months. Winners will also receive membership to TechHub’s global entrepreneur community, workspace and support programme. Winning ideas must harness both the data processing powers of technology and the expertise of human manpower.

The award was created by BT in partnership with the Cabinet Office and TechHub. David Wallace, BT director of public sector in Scotland, said: “It would be great to see an ambitious local business benefit from the incubation on offer for the winners. The BT Infinity Lab competition is an incredible opportunity for businesses working at the cutting edge of digital innovation to take their big idea to the next level.”

What the Judges are Looking For

The judges will focus on three key areas of innovation and competitors will be expected to provide unique solutions using the theme of augmented intelligence. Entrants  do not need to have previous experience of public sector, defence or retail to participate, the judges are more concerned with how they apply their thinking to the real world challenges across one or more of the following topics.

• Military operation planning
• Supporting humanitarian missions or disaster relief
• The application of robotics in retail to personalise customer experience or to improve a customers’ experience when they contact a public service.

Colm O’Neill, managing director of BT business and public sector, said: “Last year, our research found that AI had divided the opinions of IT decision makers over whether it would replace or create jobs.

“With that in mind, we launched this year’s Infinity Labs competition with the theme ‘Augmented Intelligence,’ as we believe that there’s still work to do to demonstrate that automated technologies and business processes can play to the strengths of both people and machines.

“I’m looking forward to seeing all the entrants to this year’s Infinity Labs competition and to working together on the innovations that we could see transform defence, public sector services and retail businesses in years to come.”

Entry Requirements and Key Dates

To enter, businesses will need to submit a three-minute video explaining why their solution could be the next big tech innovation to help transform public services, retail or defence. Entries close on the 12th of March 2018, shortlist candidates will be announced on the 6th of April and winners will be announced after a judging event at the BT Tower on the 24th of April 2018.

Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, said: “We want the UK to be the best place to grow a digital business and this partnership will give our dynamic, up-and-coming innovators the opportunity to develop the technology of tomorrow.

“I look forward to seeing these ideas become reality and help improve our public services so everyone can benefit from the technological revolution as we build a Britain fit for the future.”

Judging Panel

  • Colm O’Neill (Managing Director, Major & Public Sector, BT (chair))
  • Tim Whitley (Managing Director, Research & Innovation, BT)
  • Anthony Boyle (Director, Defence, BT)
  • Ian Caveney (Director, Purposeful Business, BT)
  • General Sir Chris Deverell (Commander, Joint Forces Command, MoD)
  • Alison Pritchard (Chief Operating Officer, Government Digital Service)
  • Kathy Quashie (Director, Major Corporate, BT)
  • Elizabeth Varley (CEO and Co-founder, TechHub)
  • Simon Bourne (Group CIO, The Co-operative Group)


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