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BT to hold a Dragons’ Den for startups in search for new apps and services

By Ellie Burns

BT is looking to find new apps and services for BT customers in the UK with a competition aimed at start-ups.

Innovation is the driving force behind BT’s competition, which is looking for smart devices, services and apps that will help people stay in contact and feel connected to their family, friends and communities.

The winners will receive support and mentoring from BT, a possible trial of the service and six months’ membership of the TechHub entrepreneur community. Applicants are asked to complete a simple online form to describe their product or service and are strongly advised to provide a short video.

Shortlisted companies, chosen after each submission is reviewed by BT, will be called to present at a “dragons’ den” of BT executives at an event in January 2017.

David McDonald, director of Broadband and Bundles, said: “BT’s voice, broadband, TV and mobile services connect millions of families. We’re looking for new services that help families, friends and communities share experiences.”

“Examples could be connected devices for different age groups, family safety apps, the btlinking of digital presence with the real world environment, and location information and services. They could include new ways of supporting or sharing life at home and on the go, or ideas to make the web more accessible.”

This is the 10th innovation challenge run by BT’s Infinity Lab. The programme aims to identify potential innovation partners. BT does not invest or take equity in the applicant companies as part of this process. Past winners include SeenIt, which is working with BT Sport to bring the voice of the fan into the studio.

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This latest innovation drive follows a recent showcase held by BT and Toshiba on secure quantum communications. Quantum cryptography delivers secret keys over fibre optic cable. It uses the tiniest possible packets of light, allowing the user to easily identify any eavesdroppers, because any monitoring will disturb the photons sending these keys and lead to errors in encoding.

The technology has been in development for the past two years at Toshiba’s research lab in Cambridge.


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