Swisscom launched the inaugural 5G StartUp Challenge at the end of August 2020, alongside its partners Ericsson and Qualcomm CDMA Technologies. The previous Swisscom StartUp Challenge was only open to Swiss start-ups; this year, start-ups from across the world were invited to participate.
Applications were received from a total of 125 start-ups from 30 different countries. The top 10 has now been chosen. With the top 10 now selected, they will have to pull out all the stops in the online final on 17 December. Only the best five start-ups will travel to Switzerland in March 2021 where 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. They will be supported every step of the way by mentors and experts from Ericsson, Qualcomm CDMA Technologies and Swisscom.
Around half the finalists are working on applications using autonomous drones and robots across a wide range of application areas, such as protection and rescue, tourism and agriculture. The other start-ups are developing applications and prototypes for artificial intelligence, virtual reality and the Internet of Things. Around 80 percent of applications came from Switzerland, with the remaining 20 percent from the rest of the world, including China and Argentina. As a consequence, eight of the top 10 start-ups are Swiss, along with one representative each from Germany and the USA. As in previous years, this cohort of 5G start-ups features a number of companies with strong links to the Federal Institutes of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ) and Lausanne (EPFL).
A panel of judges comprising 5G experts, innovation and product managers and senior representatives from the partner companies selected their top 10 start-ups. The judges scrutinised each start-up’s overall potential and examined whether the use cases were actually based on 5G technology. They also evaluated the likelihood of effective collaboration with StartUp Challenge organisers and the implementation of the different technologies. The panel was particularly impressed by the submissions from the following ten start-ups: Aero41, Perspective Robotics, Hegias, Morphean, qiio, Rigi Technologies, Robotic Systems, Smart Mobile Labs, Somniacs, ZaiNar (click here for more information on the start-ups).
From today, the general public can cast their vote for their favourite start-up. The start-up or research team that wins the public vote will travel to the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona – if circumstances in summer 2021 allow.
On 17 December, the top 10 start-ups will appear in the final of the Swisscom 5G StartUp Challenge. Each will give a short pitch aimed at impressing the highly qualified panel of experts which includes Martin Bürki (Managing Director Ericsson Switzerland), Enrico Salvatori (Senior Vice President & President Qualcomm EMEA), Christoph Aeschlimann (Chief Technology Officer Swisscom) and Roger Wüthrich-Hasenböhler (Chief Digital Officer Swisscom).
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