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Nokia targets industrial automation startups via innovation challenge

Finnish vendor Nokia announced the launch of its Nokia Open Innovation Challenge (NOIC), through which the company aims to attract technology startups with innovative and disruptive solutions for the industrial automation segment.

Nokia said that the winners of this global competition will be provided with up to $175,000 in financial assistance and the opportunity to collaborate with experts from Nokia and Nokia Bell Labs to help grow their businesses.

This year’s NOIC specifically targets startups with disruptive ideas in industrial automation categories such as multi-robot collaboration, virtual- and augmented-reality-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,” said Marcus Weldon, president of Nokia Bell Labs and corporate CTO for 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,” Weldon said.

The global competition is organized in partnership with NGP Capital, a global venture capital firm, backed by Nokia.

“We have met thousands of founders, invested in over 90 companies, and helped several all the way into IPO or M&A. In the NOIC competition we will pay attention to great founding teams, who can demonstrate their deep domain expertise and prove they have the abilities to scale their business globally,” said Bo Ilsoe, partner at NGP Capital.

Startup businesses that want to enter need to submit their entries by June 30, 2019.  The NOIC competition’s website contains the complete rules and guidelines. Finalists will be brought to a mentoring event this autumn at Nokia Bell Labs in Murray Hill, New Jersey, 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.

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