Helping people connect with their communities: Open competition

By Simon Napper

Local media play an important role in people’s lives. They tell users what is going on where and when, as well as helping them to connect with their local community. Digital technologies offer a potential revolution for very local – hyperlocal – media. Hyperlocal media provide online news or content services relevant to a town, single postcode or other small, geographically-defined community.

The competition will invest in projects across the UK. Some will be deployed in specific geographical areas, but all are intended to develop the enabling technologies, platforms and services which build up the businesses of the future and help the UK become a world-centre for hyperlocal media.

Research carried out by Nesta has found that 45% of all UK adults have accessed hyperlocal media. Broadcasting regulator Ofcom estimates that nine out of ten UK adults regularly consume local news or other content through television, radio, newspapers or the internet.

Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, said: “Digital technologies have the potential to connect people more closely with their local communities. Innovative businesses can use the power of these technologies to strengthen existing bonds and provide more detailed, local information and services.”

Kathryn Geels, Destination Local programme manager, Nesta, said:“People feel attached not just to their city, town or village, but also to their neighbourhood and street. A new wave of technology innovation offers a potential revolution for very local – hyperlocal – media that can deliver at this level and closer. We know that there are real opportunities for organisations to create compelling local information and content, and develop sustainable revenue streams."

Competition

For more information on the background to the competition, the opportunities for creative and digital media businesses and to register to attend the briefing session go the Creative Industries Knowledge Transfer Network (CIKTN) website: http://bit.ly/GNol6g  

Entries to the competition can be submitted by technology-, content- and community-focused organisations of any size that will go on to form business-led partnerships. Successful competition applicants will develop projects that will lead to or focus on one or more of the following:

• Technologies that support urban hyperlocal media services, as a potential alternative service to local digital television, targeted at mobile consumption

• Services that deliver valuable hyperlocal services to rural areas

• Platforms that enable new advertising system

• The development of geographically-based application programming interfaces (APIs) that can feed third-party services

• Interactive platforms that aggregate current (and evolving) content and information services pointing to a geographical location, and that have the capability to track audience demand and engagement

• Connected devices (Internet of Things) that enable geographical technologies

Competition Opens: 4 November

Competition Closes: 18 December (1st stage application)

The Destination Local demonstrator competition is one of a package of initiatives within the Technology Strategy Board’s recently-launched Creative Industries Strategy. http://www.innovateuk.org/creative-industries

About the author

Simon Napper is PR for the Technology Strategy Board, the UK’s innovation agency, which aims to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation. Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy. For more information visit www.innovateuk.org  

Nesta (www.nesta.org.uk ) is the UK’s innovation foundation, which helps people and organisations bring great ideas to life, providing investments and grants and mobilising research, networks and skills. Nesta is an independent charity and our work is enabled by an endowment from the National Lottery.

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