Soracom and Nordic Semiconductor Are Looking for The Next Breakthrough in Sustainable IoT

Nordic Sustainability design challenge, competition

At Soracom, we believe that a more connected world can help bring about meaningful change. Whether it is advancements in medical technologies or helping connect people displaced by war, we believe that IoT can improve the lives of people throughout the world.

Climate change remains the biggest challenge facing humanity today, leading many developers to seek out ways to make IoT devices and their associated processes more sustainable. To this end, Soracom is proud to sponsor Nordic Semiconductor‘s Connect for Good: Low Power Wireless Sustainability Challenge, hosted on the Wevolver community.

This competition challenges engineers, entrepreneurs, inventors, and developers to create projects utilizing low-power wireless technology to address four of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Let’s take a look at what this all entails.

What are the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals?

Developed In 2015, the SDGs are 17 aspirational goals intended to be accomplished by 2030 that were created as a “shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.” They cover a wealth of social, economic, ecological, and technological solutions that can help raise the standard of living for the world in general.

For this competition, the focus will be on the following goals:

  • Goal 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy: As the number of people across the globe with access to electricity exceeds 90%, there has never been a better time to invest in more efficient energy technologies.
  • Goal 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities: Two-thirds of all humanity reside in cities, so making urban areas more efficient and accessible can improve the quality of life for upwards of 6.5 billion people.
  • Goal 13 – Climate Action: This goal impacts many of the other goals in the SDG, and aims to mobilize US $100 billion to address the needs of developing countries to both adapt to climate change and invest in low-carbon development. 
  • Goal 15 – Life on Land: Protecting the world’s natural habitats and biodiversity is essential to protecting the longevity of the global population.

How Does the Competition Work?

For the challenge, we call upon the IoT community at large to create innovative solutions that help reduce our ecological footprint while using low-power connectivity and the nRF9160 Development Kit as the core development platform.  Built for ultra-low power consumption, the nRF9160 is globally certified, easily integrated with other components, and designed to help get projects off the ground with minimal time to market. 

Each project entry is invited to use Soracom’s global cellular connectivity where available (check Soracom’s global network coverage here). This includes Soracom’s award-winning low-power cellular connectivity, as well as any additional services, such as Soracom’s secure provisioning tool Krypton, or its remote access service, Napter.

Field, Smart technology, Un sustainability design competition.

How Will this Competition Be Judged?

Once submitted, entries will be reviewed by a five-person jury made up of leaders from the competition’s sponsors: Nordic Semiconductor, Mouser Electronics, Crowd Supply, Soracom, and Wevolver. Judging will take place from October 13th to October 27th, 2023, and entries will be judged based on the following criteria:

  • Feasibility of solution, technically and commercially.
  • Level of innovation in the use of the technology deployed.
  • To what extent does the project impact the SDG’s. 
  • Utilization of cellular technology from Nordic Semiconductor.
  • The use of submitted videos & images to support the idea.

After reviewing the submissions, the judges will select the “top 10” entrants, each of whom will be asked to deliver a 30-minute presentation demonstrating which of the sustainable goals the project addresses, and forecast the potential impact it could have on those goals.

What Could I Win?

There are numerous prizes available for successful entrants. 

The First 100 Entrants – The first 100 valid entries for this competition will receive an nRF9160 Development Kit. SIM cards will be issued with the development kit.

The Third Place entrant will be awarded a prize that consists of: nRF Cloud Services 1-yr subscription for up to 100 devices for an nRF9160-based device (covering everything from location services to device management). Up to 100 global SIMs from Soracom, each of which includes 2GB/month’s worth of data for a year’s worth of service.

The Second Place entrant will be awarded a prize that consists of: nRF Cloud Services 1-yr subscription for up to 200 devices for an nRF9160-based device (covering everything from location services to device management). Up to 200 global SIMs from Soracom, each of which includes 2GB/month’s worth of data for a year’s worth of service.

One Grand Prize Winner will be selected to enter into a partnership with Nordic Semiconductor to develop their idea in a way that enables them to scale or improve their current model. This will include $20,000 cash and support from each of the competition’s sponsors to help accelerate the development of the winning technology. This partnership can cover product development, cost prognosis, overall business projections, and more. Furthermore, Soracom will provide up to 500 global SIMs, as well as 2GB/month worth of data for a year’s worth of service, as well as access to Soracom’s connectivity platform.

Each of the winners will also receive a customized public relations package, including a feature on Winners will be announced via social media and an industry-wide press release by November 8th, 2023.

smart agriculture, farming, Tech students, UN sustainability competition

Who Should Apply?

This competition is ideal for engineers and students with sufficient engineering capability to develop a working prototype. This is a particularly grand opportunity for individuals, companies, or consultancies currently working on projects that address the key elements of the challenges. 

The entrants best set up for success will have actionable ideas, submitting PoCs, MVPs, and real commercial projects rather than abstractions, concepts, and proposals.

How Do We Submit Our Design?

To enter, submit a detailed explanation of your project here Each project submission should include:

  • Project name
  • Details of the person submitting
  • Details of the organization represented by the entrant
  • A detailed description of the project: What is the solution? Who are the users and customers? What stage of development is the project in?
  • A description of how the project utilizes/could utilize the nRF9160
  • Which UN SDG goal(s) the project addresses
  • Images, renders, or technical drawings of the project
  • Optional video content – to support the montage created at the challenge close

The contest will begin accepting submissions at Noon (GMT) on April 13, 2023, and entries must be received by midnight (GMT) on October 12, 2023. Individuals can submit more than one project or idea, but only one prize will be granted per person.


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