UK Contest in Search of Bright Ideas For Digital Cities

The Intelligent Community Challenge is a quest to find more creative ways of solving problems facing local governments across the UK.

From road safety to leisure space and driverless cars, councils are calling for digital solutions – so they’re calling in the digital generation to do it. They hope to uncover the future stars of design that could make waves in urban design. The challenge organisers are scouring universities across the country with the hope of finding teams ready to step up to the plate.

GE is the founding sponsor for the Intelligent Community Challenge. As the company is itself looking into ways of enhancing cities using intelligent LED lighting solutions, GE is keen to support ingenuity. The promising design, architecture and engineering students taking part in the challenge will be new voices to add to the conversation. At the same time, the challenge gives GE another chance to hear the challenges faced by local authorities. As GE’s own research found earlier this year, the path to smart cities is far from clear for the public sector.

Armin Mayer, Marketing Manager for GE Lighting EMEA, says, “The connected possibilities that LEDs offer have opened up a wealth of opportunities for urban regeneration that would have been unimaginable only a few short years ago. Today’s bright young students are the product of this digital world, so we’re hoping they will be able to bring unique perspectives to these age-old social challenges – leveraging the power of digital light connectivity through LEDs, sensors, controls and other technologies combined with data, analytics, software, smart phones and beyond.”

Urban regeneration sounds like an admirable aim but what does that mean for ordinary citizens? According to Mayer it helps to make everyday life better. In addition, it boosts local economies.

He says, “Smart cities are an enablement of people to live in a place where they feel comfortable from a safety and quality of life point of view. It should make them comfortable enough to invest their time in their jobs and their lives in a specific place. But that’s only if the place is able to help develop their capabilities. It’s of critical strategic importance for the municipalities across Europe to take into consideration that this will be an asset that they need to invest in, despite the challenges. It’s for security, competitiveness and future capabilities.”

The Intelligent Community Challenge embodies the Open Innovation ethos that GE has. Mayer says himself that GE can make tons of sensors but with this new era of smart cities, they are entering uncharted territory. It’s vital that the company looks outside its own four walls to find cutting edge solutions.

Although a leading innovator in everything from heavy industry to digital energy, GE isn’t afraid to admit that it doesn’t have all the answers in house. And according to those at the helm, the downfall of many large corporations is when they are too blinkered to collaborate with other companies and individuals. The Intelligent Community Challenge is yet another example of what is to come: embracing new perspectives that can challenge the status quo.

For more information about the challenge and to view the council briefs already available, go to  

For more information about GE Lighting please visit

24 Oct