Bournemouth IoT Challenges


About the Programme

Digital Catapult has partnered with WND-UK to establish a regional extension of the Things Connected LPWAN network, adding Sigfox technology to their portfolio. The network consists of 30 free-to-use Sigfox base stations deployed across the Bournemouth area for the use of testing, experimentation, demonstration and piloting of IoT products and services.

The Latest RNLI Challenge

Applications taken up to 14th of February 2019

The Royal National Lifeboat institution is the national charity that saves lives at sea, supporting 238 Lifeboat stations around the UK and Ireland, 4,500 volunteer crew and seasonal lifeguards on more than 240 beaches. The RNLI has saved over 142,200 lives since 1824. The RNLI volunteers operate a fleet of more than 450 vessels, with the largest All-Weather Lifeboats having large marine diesel engines that burn Marine Gas Oil / Diesel fuel.

The RNLI has a duty to report its carbon emissions under ESOS and SECR regulations, of which emissions from the burning of MGO / Diesel fuel is a significant part (approximately 33%). Fuel purchase and delivery to RNLI fuel stores located at All Weather lifeboat stations are triggered and monitored locally. Levels in fuel stores are monitored through sight gauges, pressure dials or dip sticks. Fuel logs are held at lifeboat stations but their completion and reporting to HQ is variable.

Challenge Statement

A safe, cost-effective and accurate fuel store monitoring solution proposal is required to remotely monitor and report the fuel volumes across the RNLI estate of 115 lifeboat station fuel stores. Monitoring data should ideally be remotely accessible and potentially integrated with the RNLI Microsoft AX enterprise management systems. Any system should require minimal maintenance and comply with all regulation and best practise in high risk environments (Fuel store) such as DSEAR. This monitoring data should enable NLI to build a near live single view of current and historic fuel levels across the estate. This would enable the easy determination of total organisational fuel burn for environmental reporting and to facilitate the central verification of fuel delivery against invoices before payment. The demonstration of a solution for two Poole Bay all-weather lifeboat stations, at Yarmouth and Swanage could act as a pilot study to inform future solutions for fuel store monitoring at 115+ sites across the UK and Republic of Ireland. Beyond fuel level monitoring there could be additional opportunities for fuel quality monitoring (Water contamination) or bund alarms where the tank leaks into the bunded area.

Who should apply?

Start-ups and SMEs who have an interest in developing their business technically and commercially through IoT technology and would like exposure to real-life challenges and events set by public and corporate partners.

How to get involved

If you would like to find our more about the programme please contact

If you are interested in finding out about how you can get involved.

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Our Challenge Owners


A not for profit housing association, VIVID offers a choice of housing options including social, sheltered, extra care, supported, shared ownership, market sale and market rent.

Nationally social housing takes up 17% of the UK’s housing stock. VIVID is Hampshire’s largest provider of affordable homes, owning and managing over 30,000 homes, and is one of the major builders of new homes amongst UK housing associations, with plans to build at least 1,200 new homes a year.

VIVID’s vision and purpose VIVID has a clearly defined social purpose; to build more homes and provide bright futures. The company aims to do this by maximising opportunities to make more housing affordable and available to everyone, to ease the housing shortage and meet local needs and aspirations.

The latest research shows that social housing plays an important role in aiding wellbeing, therefore VIVID need to understand how technology can reduce their operating costs to enable them to invest more into building new homes, create brighter futures for their customers and bridge the housing shortage gap.

As a leader in the housing sector, VIVID’s approach of working in partnership to develop solutions, will help to shape future delivery for not only other housing associations and local authorities, but also schools, hotels, hospitals and other businesses that own and manage properties.

VIVID’s challenges

Smart compliance

Compliance is an important part of VIVID’s business, not only due to its legal obligations and risk prevention, but also their moral duty of care to their customers in ensuring they live in a home that is safe and secure.

Compliance checks cost us them £3.8 million a year. By using smart infrastructure in and around the company’s properties it is envisaged that it will be able to remotely monitor fire safety, legionella, emergency lighting and more. This will mean it’ll be able to carry out regulatory checks cheaper, removing the need to send people out to every property, but also improve the data quality with improved record keeping.

The company also envisages that this technology will enable it to identify ‘real-time’ non-compliance concerns, enabling us to take preventative action to fix issues before they cause any risk to the safety of our customers. Some of the questions it is posing to its challenge are:

  • How can IoT reduce the costs of carrying out compliance property checks by removing the need for human intervention, providing savings that can be invested in building more homes and tackling the housing crisis?
  • How can IoT enable the company to deliver more effective and timely compliance checks, improving its compliance record keeping?
  • How can IoT enable early notification of non-compliance risks and enable interventions to be put in place, improving the safety and wellbeing of customers?
  • How might it present compliance data from its properties in a useful manner to the end user, operating remotely, to aid decision making?

Avoiding critical failure

VIVID has a responsibility to ensure that its customers are provided with a home that is safe and secure. This includes providing them with hot and cold water, heating and components that are well maintained and in working order.

Attending to failures, especially where these are complete failure and/or affecting its vulnerable customers, is expensive and can cause distress to its most vulnerable customers.

By using smart infrastructure in and around its properties, VIVID envisages that it will be able to pick up warnings proactively and predict potential critical failures before they happen enabling the company to take preventative action to fix issues before they cause distress to customers.

VIVID believe that this technology could generate alerts when something out of the ordinary is detected, such as a lift about to break down, a power outage about to happen, or communal pumps or boilers are about to go.

Avoiding critical failures will enable it to provide greater reassurance to its vulnerable customers, making them feel safe in their homes.

Some of the questions it is posing to avoiding critical failures are:

  • How can IoT reduce the costs of managing critical failure repairs by reducing the reactive nature of this service and moving to
  • How IoT enables early notification of actual critical failure, removing the reliance on customers to report these failures and enabling ‘real-time’ responses to be put in place, improving the wellbeing of customers and minimising potential damage to components?
  • How can IoT enable VIVID to deliver more effective and timely component performance data, improving its component performance record keeping and inform its replacement programmes?
  • How might the company present critical failure data from its properties in a useful manner to the end user, operating remotely, to aid decision making?


The RNLI is the Charity that Saves lives at sea. Its volunteer lifeboat crews provide a 24-hour rescue service in the UK and Ireland, and its seasonal lifeguards look after people on busy beaches. The company’s Flood Rescue Team helps those affected by flooding.

RNLI crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,200 lives since 1824 but the company is more than a rescue service. It influences, supervises and educates people too. Its Community Safety teams explain the risks and share safety knowledge with anyone going out to sea or to the coast. And its international teams work with like-minded organisations to help tackle drowning in communities at risk all around the world.

However, despite these best efforts, over 170 people still accidentally drown in the UK’s coastal waters every year. RNLI needs to understand how technology can help it bridge this gap and save more lives.

RNLI's challenges

Smart Watersides

Due to resource limitations it is not possible to monitor every part of the UK’s coastlines and prevent people from behaving unsafely and falling into the water.

The falling cost, size and power requirements and hence, growing ubiquity of sensors in RNLI’s environment (e.g. in Smart Cities) offers a potentially highly disruptive means of reducing this risk.

By using smart infrastructure in and around its waterside environments, RNLI envisages that it will be able to monitor remote locations and non-invasively understand patterns of life, patterns of behaviour and environmental conditions. This will enable the company to understand where the risk is greatest and place lifesaving or preventative assets in place to prevent the loss of life and the adoption of safe behaviours.

Questions RNLI are interested in addressing include the following:

  • How might it leverage the IOT to increase situational awareness and better understand (and therefore potentially predict) patterns of life on our coast?
  • How might it leverage the IOT to deliver more effective, timely interventions? (e.g. Smart signage)
  • How might it leverage the IOT to manage and maintain the upkeep of our estate, made up of lifeboat stations, regional offices and support centres?
  • How might it leverage the IOT to better manage its current and future portfolio of lifesaving assets?
  • How might it present useful information to the end user, operating remotely, in order to aid decision making?
  • How might it minimise the perceived cyber risk of the IOT to the RNLI and increase likelihood of support for ongoing programmes?

This work is underpinned by a Digital Ecosystem Technology Roadmap, created by the RNLI Innovation Team.

Bournemouth City Council

Bournemouth Borough Council is seeking to use emerging and future digital technologies to deliver the aim of creating a vibrant, safe, healthy and prosperous city that meets the current and future needs of citizens, businesses and visitors.

To achieve the above ambition Bournemouth Borough Council, with its key partners Bournemouth University and the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership, has the aspiration of creating a first-class digital communications network within Bournemouth. This network will not only meet the needs of businesses but will also open up opportunities to develop new technologies that help support the lives of local people as well as benefiting those businesses developing the technology.

East Cliff Monitoring Challenge

The East Cliff landslide in 2016 was a catastrophic failure, occurring less than 20hrs after initial tension cracks had appeared at the crest. Following the discovery of the tension cracks, the site was closed off from public access. The failure happened in the early hours of the morning on 24th April-16, displacing a significant volume of material from the upper slope, which covered the East Cliff Lift carriage trackways, mortar terraces and lower buildings. A significant clear-up operation followed, involving the clearance of around 6,500T of debris from the cliff face over the following months

Since the Recovery Works, the Council has undertaken a variety of monitoring techniques to assess the condition of the slope. Methods include topographic surveys, visual inspections and groundwater monitoring. Most of these methods are manually intensive or involve health and safety challenges and none provide us with real time data allowing us to proactively manage events such as those at East Cliff.

Challenges we are interested in addressing utilising IOT include the following:

  • A monitoring method that can be used on East Cliff and other sites, including vegetated surfaces and brittle sandstones that can indicate a failure may be likely.
  • A solution for remote topographic monitoring (x, y, z) of multiple points on slope and terraces.
  • An application that would provide analysis and alerts associated with potentially hazardous events.

We would also like to understand how these risks could be mitigated utilising IOT and LPWAN technologies:

  • Further landslip movements at locations along the cliffs present a risk to members of public, further damage to buildings and the public perception of coastline.
  • Extreme Weather where significant and long-term rainfall could lead to further deterioration of the cliffs. Continued spillage of debris onto lower terraces blockage of lower terraces and weep holes.
  • Working at height and accessibility. All work on the slope or crest is undertaken by specialist Rope Access Technicians as the cliff height exceeds 35m above lower promenade level.