Smart City Innovation Testbed launches to capitalise on post-Covid opportunities

13th Jan 2021

A groundbreaking Smart City Innovation Testbed has been launched at Salford’s MediaCityUK,  to discover and test how cities can use technology to adapt to a post-Covid world.

The programme sees MediaCityUK partner with Connected Places Catapult, leading experts on emerging technologies that accelerate future cities and transport solutions.

Led by innovation specialists UP Ventures it will: 

  • Coach a cohort of six start-up companies from across the UK to develop and prototype their products with the aim of securing investment at the end of the programme.
  • Explore how cities can evolve by using the Internet of Things (IoT) to transform the way we live, work and play in new ways.
  • Allow the cohort access to MediaCityUK’s unrivalled technology infrastructure to deploy and test their products in a ‘living lab’ environment.
  • Comes hot on the heels of the ‘Future of Health’ accelerator programme which will also took place at MediaCityUK

The six companies taking part in the testbed, which runs from January to April 2021, will benefit from masterclasses, online coaching and access to engaged decision makers from industry and the investment community. 

Based at MediaCityUK, the UK’s largest tech, creative and digital hub, the testbed will also take advantage of its campus-wide WiFi provision which operates at 200mb per second allowing the connection of hundreds of devices at the same time as well as the Vodafone 5G testbed incubator space in The Landing. 

The six trailblazing companies taking part in the Smart City Innovation Testbed are:

  • Atmo Technology ( is an air quality data company that uses IoT devices and advanced algorithms to help employers monitor the pollution levels that their staff are exposed to.
  • Hello Lamp Post ( ) has created a novel way for people to tell town planners how they think their built environment can be improved with the company now allowing people to converse with street furniture in over 25 countries around the world.
  • Secure Sensor Innovative Design ( )  have built an IoT system that allows organisations such as care homes and housing associations to monitor temperature and humidity levels and can also detect sudden falls from elderly residents.
  • R-Com ( ) has developed a  comprehensive Smart City solution with a suite of sensors that can count passengers on public transport, measure air quality and monitor vehicles on roads with the firm also providing real time analysis and IT support.

  • Pulse Systems ( have built an IoT platform on top of UK made and designed sensors that help businesses make a building ‘smart’ allowing for better understanding of workspaces and how they affect people and the environment.

Managing Partner of UP Ventures, Steve Thomas, said: "Working towards a post-pandemic world we have an opportunity to create a profoundly positive impact on the way people adapt and thrive. At the heart of our smart city innovation testbed is a passion for technology, the role of places and how they can adapt to support how people live, work, play and learn.

"This is a challenging time for business however there it has never been more important to innovate and that is why we intend to press on with supporting this talented group of innovators."

Stephen Wild, Managing Director of MediaCityUK said: “This latest testbed will really build on the success of previous incubator and accelerator programmes hosted and supported by MediaCityUK. As an established innovation district we’re very proud to be working in partnership to support this talented new cohort of technologists in their quest to deliver visionary projects. These cutting edge innovations will pave the way in our Smart City ambitions as well as make a positive difference to the way we lead our lives in a post covid world.”

Neil Fulton, Chief Delivery Officer at Connected Places Catapult said, "The Covid-19 pandemic has stimulated huge demand for innovation in the ways and places we live and work. At Connected Places Catapult we focus on supporting businesses to respond to that market demand. We know however that being able to test and demonstrate solutions is essential to commercial success, so we are very pleased to be partnering with UP Ventures Group and MediaCity to deliver this testbed which will allow important innovations to be proven and refined, speeding their journey to market."

To find out more about the benefits of taking part in an UP Ventures programme as an established company or as a start-up visit .


For further information on this release or to set up an interview with the Managing Partner of UP Ventures Group Steven Thomas, email Stephen Emerson ( or call 07915661987 .


UP Ventures Group is based in Edinburgh and Manchester and aims to enable its partners to identify big opportunities, solve real-world problems and accelerate business growth.

Its innovation programmes are backed by governments and some of the world’s biggest brands who share their commitment to helping tech startups and scale-ups succeed.

For more information on UP Ventures Group contact Managing Partner, Steven Thomas ( )

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