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EDGE celebrates Cornish digital and tech businesses

University of Exeter sponsors EDGE awards

The University of Exeter is to be a major sponsor of one of Cornwall’s leading awards for digital innovation.

The University’s Smartline project, which is an EU-funded research and innovation project exploring the relationship between technology and the way people live in their homes and communities, is providing funding to support the awards, taking place this November.

Launched in 2017 by Cornwall Live, the awards for Excellence in Digital, Gadgetry and Entrepreneurialism (EDGE) celebrate Cornwall as one of the fastest-growing areas for digital and tech businesses in the country. From start-ups and small businesses to the biggest and most established businesses, the awards champion the work being done to put Cornwall on the map in smart energy, space technology, social entrepreneurialism, and the food and drink, marine and healthcare sectors, as well as highlighting the very best in software development and digital media.

“We are delighted to sponsor the award for the best digital innovation in health and wellbeing,” said Dr Tim Taylor, Senior Lecturer in the University of Exeter Medical School and Smartline Principal Investigator. “Our ground-breaking research into how technology can be used to improve the health and wellbeing of local communities is already supporting the development of new e-health and wellbeing products and services.

“These developments will have a dramatic impact on the quality of people’s lives in the future and it seems, therefore, very fitting for the University and the Smartline project to sponsor the category which celebrates innovation in technology.”

Smartline, led by the University of Exeter in partnership with Coastline Housing, Cornwall Council and Volunteer Cornwall, is collecting data from environmental sensors fitted in the homes of 290 social housing customers in Camborne, Pool and Redruth. 

Over the past 18 months these sensors have been collecting information on indoor air quality, humidity, temperature, and water and energy usage in one of the largest monitoring exercises of its type. The team is monitoring indoor as well as outdoor air quality, with sensors checking the impact of particles created by heating, cooking and smoking and nearby traffic, as well as those from new furnishings, cleaning products, paints and computer printers. Additional surveys on the health and wellbeing of residents have also been conducted.

This information is now being used to work with businesses and organisations to encourage them to design better systems for managing homes in the future, and to investigate new products and services to improve people’s day to day lives.

Smartline researchers are looking at developing simple solutions to these problems, as well as providing grant funding to support entrepreneurs to work up innovative ideas that explore new products, processes or services connected with health, wellbeing and digital technologies.

“Innovation in technology is bringing real change to our world,” said Dr Taylor.  “It is fantastic to see Cornwall recognised as one of the fastest-growing areas for digital and tech businesses and we are looking forward to hearing the inspirational stories of all the businesses and individuals which have been nominated for EDGE awards at the ceremony later this year.

“We are very proud to be at the forefront of exploring how technology can be used to help everyone live healthier and happier lives and this event, which celebrates everything excellent about technology, is something we wanted to be part of.”

Date: 29 May 2019

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