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Space: A New Frontier for App Developers and Tech Entrepreneurs

Tech entrepreneurs

Alexander Oviawe is a London born, former West Ham United Strength & Conditioning Coach who now counts himself as a member of the UK’s Space industry. Alex is not a rocket scientist, or astronaut. He’s an entrepreneur with an idea of using the latest satellite sourced data to track sportsmen’s movements during training and provide a low cost, easy to use tool to avoid player burn out and prevent injuries.

Having been spotted through the UK Satellite Navigation Competition, Alex is now turning his idea, Precision Sports Technologies into a real product through government funding and business mentoring.

He is an example of the wide variety of tech entrepreneurs that the UK Space industry is reaching out to. The application of our satellite infrastructure, and in particular the data it can provide for tech entrepreneurs and budding app developers is an area with real potential and significant government support, at a critical time for the sector.

A bit of background from 62 miles up

GPS, the most commonly known form of satellite data is a US owned satellite technology designed purely for military applications, not actually for finding your nearest restaurant or quickest route home. As a result Europe has spent the last couple of decades designing and developing a counterpart, Galileo, which in April provided its first positional readings.

In future, Galileo will offer European users a more accurate and reliable service to underpin a new generation of highly intuitive sophisticated apps and consumer technologies.

It’s not just about better resolution for your TomTom in city centres. With higher quality satellite data we are potentially looking at a revolution in technologies to create more personalised experiences, wherever you are in the world with applications across consumer and industrial sectors. To encourage this, Galileo will provide the world’s first specially developed commercial signal to try and boost private sector exploitation of its data.

New support to turn your ideas in businesses

To take advantage the University of Nottingham’s GRACE centre of excellence in satellite navigation along with the Satellite Applications Catapult, the Technology Strategy Board, UK Space Agency and EADS Astrium have launched the UK leg of the European Satellite Navigation Competition.

The competition is on the lookout for new ideas from the public of how we use these precise positioning and timing signals to create new technologies back here on Earth. The best will be helped to turn their ideas into reality through financial prizes and business support, patent advice, and introductions to industry partners and further funding opportunities.

Running this competition we have seen everything mobile social networks for the biker community to last year’s winning entry iGeolise – the world first journey time search platform that allows you to search for location specific information such as jobs, restaurants or houses by the time it takes to get there, not the distance ‘as the crow flies’.

So in fact, satellite data is really open to anyone because the prospects for growth in UK space are not restricted to 62 miles above our heads in the cold darkness. The key point is we are not looking to unearth more satellite engineers or space experts and UK app developers and consumer technologists are in a great position to take advantage.

Doug Watson is the organiser of the UK Satellite Navigation Competition at the University of Nottingham. Register your business idea before the end of the month to stand a chance of winning £10,000 of funding and business support.

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