Cognicity challenge canary wharf smart city
The Cognicity Challenge is a pioneering project aiming to accelerate the development of the "world's leading smart city". Cognicity

A major new initiative to encourage the development of smart cities technologies has been launched by Canary Wharf Group.

The Cognicity Challenge will see companies and startups involved in the development of smart cities compete across six categories, with the most promising companies offered the opportunity to pilot their technologies within the Canary Wharf estate.

"The launch of this ambitious series of international competitions is an important milestone in delivering our future vision for Canary Wharf as one of the world's most technologically-advanced and innovative destinations," said Sir George Lacobescu, chairman and CEO of Canary Wharf Group.

"Canary Wharf was the original smart city in London (and) we want to continue this evolutinoary process to become a globally-renowned smart cities innovation cluster."

The initiative was announced on Tuesday at Level 39 in Canary Wharf, and 36 successful applicants will move in to Europe's largest fin tech accelerator in Early 2015 for a 12-week accelerator programme.

Applications open today in the six categories, which include 'sustainable buildings', 'integrated transportation', connected home', 'virtual design and construction', 'integrated resource management' and 'automated building management'.

Smart London

Mayor of London Boris Johnson first announced his Smart London Plan last year, established with the intention of using new technologies to "serve London and improve Londoner's lives".

Smart technologies have since been introduced and trialled in London, including a smart parking system in Westminster that alerts drivers to free parking spaces through a smartphone app linked to ground sensors

Earlier this year, it was announced that London would become the first city in the world to introduce SCOOT, an "intelligent" pedestrian crossings intended to manage busy crowds at pedestrian crossings.

Other trials announced include wirelessly charged hybrid buses that are capable of recharging their batteries while waiting at a bus stop, and free public Wi-Fi on London buses.

"Four in five people in the UK live in towns and cities, so it is crucial that Government and industry continues to support businesses developing new technology that will improve the quality of life in these areas," said Ed Vaizey, Minister for the Digital Economy.

"The Cognicity Challenge launched today aims to help talented tech companies to develop revolutionary new solutions to the challenges facing modern cities (and) provide these companies with an enourmaous city-scale testing ground here in the UK in which to pilot their ideas."