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Funding boost to help make promising technology a business reality

A screen shot of the digitalStadium app, showing the match day menu

A University of Sussex academic who has developed software to overcome poor smartphone data connectivity in crowded places has been awarded an £85,000 grant.

Dr Ian Wakeman from Informatics is one of eight British researchers selected by the Royal Academy of Engineering to receive mentoring support and investment to help turn their good idea - identified as having “outstanding real-world potential”- into a business reality.

Dr Wakeman is managing director of TribeHive Ltd, a spin-out company set up to commercialise work on software that enables smartphone apps to crowd-share data bandwidth in congested areas such as stadiums.

The innovation does this by building a network directly between smartphones and using them as the basis for distributing information.

With the technology, apps can reliably deliver match-related content and social media feeds to football fans in stadiums, for example.

TribeHive has already successfully trialled the technology with fans at Brighton & Hove Albion FC.

Comments included one from a fan who said: “I never used to have a strong enough signal to check scores when at the football. But with this app I can.” Another agreed: “Great to be able to check scores and tweets when mobile signal often doesn't allow.”

The new funding and mentoring from the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Enterprise Fellowships scheme will help to turn TribeHive into a viable business.

Arnoud Jullens, Head of Enterprise at the Royal Academy of Engineering, said: “Business-minded academics need investment and support from experienced industry practitioners to exploit their research, which could become the commercial success stories of tomorrow.”

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Posted on behalf of: Informatics
Last updated: Tuesday, 28 January 2014

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