DCU initiated this successful “Smart-Stadium” collaboration with Intel Ireland and Croke Park, which has now expanded to include Microsoft Ireland and over 30 SMEs in Ireland.
This project began in early 2014 through Prof. Noel O’Connor of DCU, Mr. Philip Moynagh VP of Intel’s Internet of Things (IoT) Group, and Peter McKenna Stadium-Director of Croke Park. The core mission of the collaboration was to establish a “National Test-bed for IoT Technologies.” The primary motivation was to drive IoT research and technology deployments in real-life environments, accelerate the companies in Ireland active in this space. IoT is a strategic priority for Intel worldwide and is of significance to Intel Ireland. The Quark™ technology was developed in Ireland, their “IoT and Wearables Group” is headquartered here, as is their IoT “Ignition” lab.
The initial test-bed was established in 2015 with direct investment from Intel. Through DCU’s partnership with Arizona State University (ASU), the test-bed was also replicated in ASUs Sun Devil’s stadium with support from Intel US (Chandler Arizona). DCU and Intel researchers worked closely together to develop a number of demonstrator projects that were showcased at an industry event in Croke Park in late 2015. These initial projects were crucial in attracting interest from Irish companies who are active in the IoT space.
In early 2016 the project took a huge leap forward when Microsoft Ireland came on-board as a formal collaborator. Investment in the test-bed from the two industry partners increased significantly with Intel sensor networks connected to Microsoft’s Azure cloud infrastructure and DCU’s analytics software providing a complete end-to-end solution.
A pipeline of over 30 companies have already expressed interest in using the test-bed. DCU is engaged in a collaborative research project with Croke Park and both Intel and Microsoft have commercial projects in process.
Phase-1 of the “Smart-Stadium for Smarter Living” test-bed was rolled out in 2015. A successful industry event hosted in Croke-Park, where DCU and Intel researchers showcased their innovative technology demonstrators, resulted in a broad set of technology companies in Ireland lining up to use the facilities. 2016 was the year where real commercial impact was realised. The catalyst for this was the funding of an independent consultant by DCU Invent in January 2016 who validated the business case and defined the process for test-bed access. This validation facilitated Microsoft coming on board as a partner and made their Azure cloud infrastructure available giving the project huge additional momentum. This was a major breakthrough as the combination of Intel’s newly-scaled sensor network, Microsoft’s cloud, Croke-Park’s IT-infrastructure and DCU’s analytics provide a complete end to end IoT pipeline – “sense-aggregate-analyse-feedback”. In 2016 Microsoft signed an agreement to fund a project manager for the initiative through DCU.
A number of significant commercial milestones were achieved in 2016:
- Sonitus a noise monitoring company was the first of up to 30+ potential trial-users. Through the engagement Sonitus also generated new business with Croke Park and with ASU for their Sun Devils-Stadium.
- Croke-Park funded contract research project with DCU exploring the use of cheaper light sources to improve the growth of grass which is a solution with global potential.
- Intel ran an all employee competition to generate new IoT business ideas. One of the ideas was developed as a commercial product and is now showcased at Croke-Park.
- DCU has submitted a proposal to EI on crowd monitoring analytics to create a new spin-out company in 18 months – relating to retail, transport and recreation - with clear integration into a smart stadium.
- Intel US are currently trialling a DCU “crowd counting” technology with a view to licensing.
This is a multi-year project so the relationships remain strong and engagement is on-going.
- DCU researchers engage regularly with their counterparts in Intel Ireland
- Croke Park and DCU are actively working on a contract research project
- Microsoft and DCU have recently initiated discussions on a broad co-marketing initiative combining Microsoft cloud with DCU’s analytics. DCU has been set up as a formal business partner to facilitate this. Microsoft Ireland sees this as strategically important in the company’s promotion of Azure
- DCU will continue to engage the subset of trial partners with an interest in R&D collaborations.