Just days after expanding its capability by announcing two new 5G innovation hubs in Aberdeen and Kilmarnock, the Scotland 5G Centre (S5GC) has launched its first innovation challenge, inviting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and technology entrepreneurs to share their ideas to address challenges in the health sector in the country.
The Shaping Digital Health & Social Care Innovation Challenge will support three projects to improve healthcare delivery, aiming to give selected companies the 5G know-how to get their solutions market-ready.
S5GC is being supported with this ground-breaking accelerator programme by two key challenge owners – Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership and Scottish Care – which have each identified the challenges they want to address. The partnership is designed to ensure that S5GConnect, a programme designed to deliver the Scottish government’s 5G Strategy, is assessing solutions that the market is keen to integrate.
The challenge invites businesses to respond to real problems and bring their 5G-enabled solutions to meet patient and care provider needs accurately, efficiently, conveniently, cost-effectively and at scale. The “call” is open to SMEs across Scotland and the UK which currently have a healthcare product or service in development or already on the market but require additional digital capacity to meet a need or improve performance.
To enter, companies are required to highlight a solution that addresses one of the following challenges:
- Enhance and develop digital access to health and care services across the region, particularly in rural areas.
- Digital ideas to help support people to manage their own conditions and care for themselves safely at home.
- Connectivity solutions that enable information to be shared with people and others involved in patients’ care safely and efficiently.
The programme will be delivered in person and remotely. The live testbed will be at the S5GConnect innovation hub at the Crichton Centre in Dumfries.
The winning companies will get access to the challenge owners’ expertise and insider knowledge throughout the accelerator programme, with support also committed after the programme to bring the solution closer to market integration.
The S5GConnect innovation programme also offers a package of support for the successful companies. This includes a 15-week development programme and access to its 5G testbed in Dumfries with one-to-one technical expertise to support technical development. In addition, companies will receive business and investment advice, introductions to potential customers, and ongoing access to S5GConnect business and technical support until March 2023.
Lara Moloney, S5GConnect
CGI, an additional challenge partner, will bring its “go-to-market” and scaling expertise to the programme. CGI’s support will continue with network introductions and a potential showcase at the CGI Innovation Centre’s 5G lab in London. Technical support will be delivered by engineering services and technology solutions provider AWTG virtually and through direct one-to-one sessions at the testbed.
S5GConnect believes the post-challenge opportunities through the network of challenge owners and partners will add real value to a company. “Private 5G networks offer organisations a new way to deliver services. This innovation challenge focuses on how we can support independent living and care to ease the burden on the NHS and care providers,” said the head of S5GConnect, Lara Moloney.
“Collectively, we are offering a real opportunity to businesses that can solve these difficult problems and that can be enhanced through advanced connectivity. This intensive programme will allow the acceleration of a business concept into a product that has the potential to transform how we care for people and change lives for the better,” she added.
“This is an ideal opportunity for businesses to access expert support to fine-tune their concept and assess it in a real environment. This will, in turn, lead to scaling up and commercialisation to create new skills and jobs and will make a positive and real difference to the economy.”
David Rowland, director of strategic planning and transformation for Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership, said it had launched a comprehensive sustainability and modernisation programme to address the growing pressures on local services.
“We recognise that adopting new and emergent digital solutions is critical to our success as it can help us provide our services efficiently and effectively,” he added. “This innovation challenge offers a fantastic opportunity for our partnership to forge the new alliances necessary to explore innovative and creative solutions to some of our key challenges.”
Details of the innovation challenge, including a link to the expression of interest form and Q&A event, are available here.