The winners of the 2020 Swisscom StartUp Challenge are here

Fotokite, HEGIAS AG, qiio AG, Robotic Systems Lab (ETH) and ZaiNar Inc have won the 2020 Swisscom StartUp Challenge, which this year focused entirely on 5G. In March 2021, they will have the chance to spend a week performing test cases on their 5G applications and prototypes at Swisscom’s 5G lab and in different locations and regions across the live network.

For the first time, this year’s Startup Challenge with partners Ericsson and Qualcomm CDMA was open to start-ups and project teams from across the world involved in the development of 5G applications and prototypes. Applications were received from a total of 125 start-ups from 30 different countries.

The winners are: 

Fotokite provides public safety teams with live on-site and remotely streamed situational awareness solutions around a tethered drone. Fotokite systems are mounted on top of public safety vehicles and do not need a dedicated pilot. They operate with the single push of a button, streaming aerial thermal and RGB video to help them size-up emergency response scenes. Fotokite is a 50-person ETH-Zurich spin-off with offices in Zurich, Syracuse, and Boulder.

HEGIAS VR is world’s first browser- and cloud-based and automated solution for visualization and communication using virtual reality for the construction and real estate sector. It enables architects’ 3D plans to be viewed and altered in a virtual world by one or more people from any location at the touch of a button, at any stage of planning or construction. HEGIAS was also the public’s choice, with 25 percent of the votes.

qiio provides plug and play, edge-to-cloud secure cellular IoT solutions optimized for bidirectional connectivity through the cloud. The Zurich-based start-up provides customers with everything they need to securely connect, monitor, and control their industrial assets. qiio’s technology is ideal for high-security IoT applications requiring remote management, monitoring and predictive maintenance in hard-to-reach places.

Robotic Systems Lab (ETH Zurich) brings cutting-edge technology in teleoperation and automation for heavy machinery to a product level - and provides a solution to work in places which are too dangerous or too remote for humans to operate. The unmanned solution enables safe clean-up of the ammunition, tree harvesting in remote forests, removal of rockfalls and mudslides on roads and allows continued work during pandemies.

ZaiNar, Inc (USA) provides real time location for any 5G device to within a meter in 3D. ZaiNar location is powered by patented advancements in signal processing for tracking phones, cars, drones and IoT without hardware changes and without additional battery drain. ZaiNar uses an order or magnitude less spectrum than other positioning techniques and is flexible across frequencies and protocols.

Exploration program

In March 2021, the five winners will have the chance to carry out testing and development as part of a one-week exploration programme in one of the world’s most advanced 5G networks and in Swisscom’s 5G Lab. They will be supported by mentors and experts from Ericsson, Qualcomm CDMA Technologies and Swisscom. Swisscom will also consider potential business partnerships and investment by Swisscom Ventures.

Friederike Hoffmann from Swisscom says: “I have been greatly impressed by the vision and innovation of these start-up companies! The Exploration Programme gives us the chance to experience at first-hand the opportunities offered by the latest 5G technology. You have to see the applications in action to grasp the true potential of 5G. I am really looking forward to it.”

Since the launch of the Swisscom StartUp Challenge in 2013, around 1,300 start-ups have applied to take part. The efforts have boosted innovation transfer with Swisscom and launched numerous successful collaborative projects. Swisscom Ventures has invested in ten of the start-up companies. 

(Press release / SK)

Picture: winners and finalists