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European Satellite Navigation Competition to Reward Ideas for a Connected World

The Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 are currently top of the list for both the digital economy and traditional industrial sectors. Indeed, localisation technology has become essential for either of these realms. In an interconnected world, constant and reliable localisation is crucial to the communications taking place among countless “things”. Satellite navigation is thus also an integral component of these forward-thinking areas.

The winners in 30 categories will be award prizes in a festive Awards Ceremony in autumn 2015

The winners in 30 categories will be award prizes in a festive Awards Ceremony in autumn 2015

Each year, the European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC) recognises the best products, services, and innovations that leverage satellite navigation in our daily lives.

“Satellite navigation is an essential element of modern mobility and a key technology in particular, in the age of a data-driven economy. This is exactly where the European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC) comes in. It provides a public platform to the creative community in order to help promising ideas turn into solutions that are commercially mature and generate added value for society. ” affirms Alexander Dobrindt, Germany’s Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI).” I was delighted to once again assume the patronage of the ESNC this year and I am glad that I can now play my part in continuing its success story.

In addition to taking home prizes worth a total of EUR 1 million, this year’s winners will become part of the world’s leading innovation network in global satellite navigation systems (GNSS). In addition to cash prizes, winners of the 30 prize categories in the ESNC 2015 profit primarily from the assistance they receive in implementing their business models. A jury of international research and industry experts will then select the year’s overall champion from among the winners of these categories, which comes with an additional EUR 20,000 and access to a six-month incubation programme in the champion’s preferred region.

“Those who enter the ESNC benefit in particular from our global network, which provides them with tailored support in developing their business concepts and bringing them to market,” explains Thorsten Rudolph, managing director of Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen.

Meanwhile, ESNC entrants particularly benefit from the chance to work closely with worldclass institutional and regional partners. The competition is geared toward individuals and teams from companies, research institutes, and universities across the globe. Those interested can participate from 1 April to 30 June 2015 at www.esnc.eu. “As the Galileo satellite constellation continues to expand, efforts to promote corresponding applications will become increasingly important. This is where the ESNC is already playing a key role,” points out Matthias Petschke, the European Commission’s director of satellite navigation programmes. “As such, the Commission is definitely looking forward to seeing the creative and innovative GNSS-based applications submitted this year.”

ESNC 2015 participants can choose from more than 20 participating regions that stand ready to help them make their business ideas a reality. They also have the option of entering their ideas for one of the special topic prizes on offer, which will increase their chances of being named the overall champion. This year’s special topic prizes are being sponsored by: the European GNSS Agency (GSA), the European Space Agency (ESA), the German Aerospace Center (DLR), and the Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) in cooperation with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). In addition, entrants are welcome to submit prototypes to the GNSS Living Lab Challenge, while the University Challenge specifically addresses students and research assistants.

All of the information on this year’s prizes, partners, and terms of participation is available at the ESNC website, www.esnc.eu.

Joint international Kick-off event for the ESNC and Copernicus Masters on 21 April 2015 at the House of Commons in London

International kickoff scheduled for 21 April at the House of Commons in London

International kickoff scheduled for 21 April at the House of Commons in London

 For the very first time, the starting signal for these two leading innovation competitions in satellite navigation and Earth observation is to be sounded at a combined kickoff event. This gathering, which is scheduled to take place on 21 April from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the House of Commons in London, is expected to draw high-ranking representatives from both of the networks involved, including from the European Commission, ESA, GSA, BMVI, Airbus Defence & Space, T-Systems, Innovate UK, and SA Catapult (more information on programme). Meanwhile, numerous other national kickoff events will be taking place across Europe in April and May.

Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen – an experienced organiser

Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen (AZO) has been organising the ESNC in close cooperation with an international network of research, industry, and regional entities since 2004. By leveraging its extensive experience as a specialist in building and maintaining global innovation networks and organising related competitions, AZO supports product innovations and the creation of new companies, particularly in the field of commercial aerospace applications. www.anwendungszentrum.de

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BMW, Audi and Mercedes to acquire HERE ? Facebook also interested.


Two weeks ago we’ve reported that Nokia is searching for a buyer of their mapping division HERE. The list of potential buyers included Microsoft, Apple, Alibaba, Amazon and Uber. Yesterday evening Wall Street Journal reported that German carmakers including BMW, Audi and Mercedes in a consortium with Chinese mapping giant Baidu are preparing a formal to acquire majority stake in HERE.

European car makers are worried that such companies as Google or Apple would gain a control of a key part of the technology needed to run self-driving cars and in-car digital services. A detailed map is a key element of a future autonomous cars and there are only three global players who are working on such a detailed, 3D map: TomTom, Google, and HERE. Car makers consider it as threat to the automobile industry if Google developed an operating system for self-driving cars and made it available free to everyone and it seems that they are able spend over $2 billion to prevent it.

Meanwhile Facebook seems to be showing an interest in HERE as well. This week the social media giant has quietly switch from Bing Maps to HERE Maps in couple of their strategic products including the mobile version of its site, Messenger app, Instagram on Android. Facebook seems to be also using HERE’s geocoding API to better geotag locations in posts. Does it mean that Facebook is joining the list of potential buyers? HERE has an enormous database of location and business data, something that might seem quite attractive for Facebook – a company which is experimenting with location but it could never learn to find an optimal model of monetizing it.

Back in 2008 Nokia spent $8.1 billion buying Navteq, but the maps business appeared to be unprofitable in the era of free Google Maps. Today HERE is worth around $2 billion but it seems that the various industries from social media and advertising, to car manufacturers are seeing a significant value in a detailed location data.

Stay tuned, we’ll report all the updates.

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