25-06-2020 | By Robin Mitchell

Point.Iot is a new programme set up to encourage upcoming engineers and entrepreneurs to develop tech solutions utilising IoT and the European Galileo satellite navigation system. What does this competition include, and what are the potential rewards?

The Galileo Navigation System

Global navigation systems have been deployed for a number of decades and have transformed many industries, including automotive, aerospace, and even consumer devices. While GPS is freely available for anyone to use, it is still owned and operated by the United States government. This means that, if they wish, could disable the satellites to prevent foreign powers from utilising it. Since no one nation likes to be dependent on a single system owned by one organisation, multiple countries have deployed their own GPS systems with Galileo being the European solution. The satellite system, which went live back in 2016, provides a low precision position system for free while paying customers have access to higher precision positioning. Being a newer technology that GPS, it is not as widely used as GPS, which is something that the European Union wants to change with their Point.IoT competition!

What is Point.IoT

Point.IoT is a competition aimed at start-ups and entrepreneurs who are tasked with finding solutions to common industrial problems. The nature of the problems involves the use of IoT and positioning technologies which is where the Galileo navigation system comes in. Ten teams are selected to compete in the competition, which involves a series of challenges. Teams are first given a two-day boot camp in Paris to learn about the Galileo system and other resources they may need to complete their designs. Afterwards, the teams have a 3-month virtual sprint whereby they solve the challenges and are given expert advice from industry leaders and experts. The last stage is a demo day whereby each team presents their solutions, and the winner is awarded 20,000 euros and a potential contract with a client as their first customer.

What are the challenges?

The first challenge is to create an asset tracking system for large-scale infrastructure. With more goods being transported than ever before, and the development of low-cost wireless SoCs provides industries with the potential to track all assets in motion whether it be a robotic system, an automated vehicle, or a parcel being shipped. The food industry is a prime example that would benefit from asset tracking; food in transport needs to be kept in strict conditions, and its journey carefully monitored. Being able to know exactly where all shipping containers are, and the condition they are in will allow food distributors to understand why batches of food fail quality control as well as spot incidences of tampering. 

The second challenge is to develop a personal protection system that uses asset tracking to minimise risk to employees. For example, an automated forklift truck moving around a facility may not detect an employee in its path, but if an asset tracker is worn by the employee, then an automated computer system can inform the forklift system to halt operation. Asset tracking also allows industries to better understand where injuries occur and why.

When to apply?

The deadline for Point.IoT is the 28th June and is open to start-ups, researchers, students, entrepreneurs, hardware, and software developers. Teams that apply must consist of at least two individuals who have complementary skills (i.e. an engineer and business developer) and must be in the UK or EU. Selected teams will be informed of their success in early July, and you can find out more information at https://point-iot.eu/.


By Robin Mitchell

Robin Mitchell is an electronic engineer who has been involved in electronics since the age of 13. After completing a BEng at the University of Warwick, Robin moved into the field of online content creation, developing articles, news pieces, and projects aimed at professionals and makers alike. Currently, Robin runs a small electronics business, MitchElectronics, which produces educational kits and resources.