Deutsche Telekom


Livable Smart Cities powered by Deutsche Telekom

Deutsche Telekom invites you to help make cities more livable for everyone.

This challenge is closed

Winners attend Deutsche Telekom's Innovation Day.

This challenge is closed


Challenge Overview

Deutsche Telekom challenges innovators to be creative and invent digital services that make smart cities more livable for everyone.

By 2050, 66% of the world’s population is expected to live in urban areas. How will cities supply these populations with basic resources like safe food, clean water, and sufficient energy, while also ensuring overall economic, social and environmental sustainability?

The convergence of smart devices with big data and the internet of things offers an opportunity for cities to reimagine how they provide municipal services to growing populations. Sensors and smart city infrastructure can provide information about the local municipality, easy access to public transportation, intuitive navigation aids, and user-friendly tools for civic participation. Vast amounts of information on virtually any topic are now accessible, at any time, through personal devices.

How can digital technologies and sensor data make cities more livable for their citizens, especially those that are disadvantaged? Such users include those:

  • Who are newcomers to an area (unfamiliar with local terrain or not fluent in the local language)
  • Who have small children (navigating public transportation, learning about available services)
  • Who struggle with digital literacy (elderly, learning disabled)
  • Who are blind, deaf, or physically handicapped
  • Who are elderly -  as the population ages, more and more people will experience reduced mobility, diminished hearing, and loss of visual acuity. 

Possible services that could be addressed are as varied as:

  • Navigation services
    • That guide a user to his/her destination in the best way, taking into account current conditions, user handicaps, and public transportation options
    • That identifies nearest available parking spaces, both commercial and municipal
  • Accessibility to municipal information and services
    • By identifying and aggregating the correct sources of information
    • By providing instant translations into other languages or other formats (read aloud, infographic, etc.)
  • Services that enable people to live independently
    • By creating an AI-like interface to more intuitively connect people to digital services
    • By linking home sensors to municipal services for emergencies, utility disruptions, etc.

Proposed solutions should have supporting evidence and/or a strong rationale for their validity.  Approaches that can be demonstrated are of particular interest, but ideas are welcomed too.  A prize purse of $25,000USD will be shared among the top innovators.  Winners will travel to Germany to present their solutions at Deutsche Telekom’s annual Innovation Day forum in September 2018.  This exciting opportunity will introduce the winners to the broader technical community within Deutsche Telekom.  Additionally, winners may be invited to develop their solution with Deutsche Telekom’s engineering team.


What Can You Do Right Now?

  • Click “ACCEPT CHALLENGE” to sign up for the challenge and view the submission form.
  • Share this challenge on social media using the icons above. Show your friends, your family, or anyone you know who has a passion for discovery.
  • Start a conversation in our Forum to join the conversation, ask questions or connect with other innovators.

Challenge Guidelines


Deutsche Telekom will select the top three winning solutions.  The first prize winner will receive $15,000, second prize $7000, and third prize $3000.  All prizes are cash awards. 

Additionally, all three winners will present their solutions at Deutsche Telekom’s Innovation Day on September 17, 2018.  Winners will attend this event as guests of Deutsche Telekom.  This unique opportunity will introduce the winners and their solutions to the broader technical community within Deutsche Telekom.  There may be further opportunities for winners to develop their solutions with Deutsche Telekom’s engineering team.

Each winner will retain intellectual property rights to winning solutions, but winners agree to grant Deutsche Telekom a royalty-free, non-exclusive license should the sponsor choose to use the solution.



Pre-registration begins           June 21, 2018

Open to submissions              July 5, 2018

Submission deadline               August 13, 2018 @ 4:59 pm ET

Judging                                    August 14 to August 31, 2018

Winners Announced               September 3, 2018


How do I win?

To be eligible for an award, your proposal must, at a minimum:

  • Satisfy the Judging Scorecard requirements
  • Thoughtfully address the Submission Form questions
  • Be scored higher than your competitors!

Solutions must, at a minimum:

  • Improve the livability and sustainability of a city through its usage
  • Make municipal services more available to everyone
  • Assist a user in some way to manage his/her life via a digital service, e.g. ease handling of administrative tasks
  • Create more value for the user, e.g. by combining existing services
  • Be technically feasible


Judging Scorecard


Overall Weight

Customer Need

Which customer need does the solution address? How did the innovator identify it? How important and urgent is it relative to other needs?




How unique is the solution? What makes it so unique compared to other solutions? Who are the most relevant competitors? What’s the potential competition in the future?



How simple is the solution? What is the customer journey? How user-friendly and intuitive is the solution, especially for elderly and handicapped users?



How scalable is the solution? What are the key drivers for its scalability? How do you envision collaborating with Deutsche Telekom? How will you address standardization?


Business Potential

What is the business plan? Who do you envision using your solution and why? How could you monetize the solution? What are the potential opportunities and risks?


Technical Maturity

How technically mature is the solution? e.g. ideation, proof of principle, proof of concept, prototype, modification of existing technology, reduction to practice, beta-testing, commercialized. How does the solution integrate with mobile technologies?



To view the submission form, click ACCEPT CHALLENGE above.



Participation Eligibility:

The challenge is open to all adult individuals, private teams, public teams, and collegiate teams. Teams may originate from any country. Submissions must be made in English. All challenge-related communication will be in English.

No specific qualifications or expertise in the field of Smart Cities is required. Prize organizers encourage outside individuals and non-expert teams to compete and propose new solutions.

To be eligible to compete, you must comply with all the terms of the challenge as defined in the Challenge-Specific Agreement.


Registration and Submissions:

Submissions must be made online (only), via upload to the website, on or before 4:59 pm EST on August 13, 2018. No late submissions will be accepted.


Intellectual Property Rights:

As detailed in the Challenge-Specific Agreement, Competitors will retain all intellectual property rights to their solution. If awarded a prize, the Sponsor will require the winner to share a non-exclusive, royalty-free license to the intellectual property contained in the Submission. This allows both the Innovator and Sponsor to independently use the intellectual property for their own use.


Additional Information

  • By participating in the challenge, each competitor agrees to submit only their original idea. Any indication of "copying" amongst competitors is grounds for disqualification.
  • All applications will go through a process of due diligence; any application found to be misrepresentative, plagiarized, or sharing an idea that is not their own will be automatically disqualified.
  • All ineligible applicants will be automatically removed from the competition with no recourse or reimbursement.
  • No purchase or payment of any kind is necessary to enter or win the competition.
  • Void wherever restricted or prohibited by law.
Updates 16

Challenge Updates

Congratulations to the Livable Smart Cities Challenge Winners!

Sept. 3, 2018, 9 a.m. PDT by Kyla Jeffrey

We are proud to announce the winners in the Livable Smart Cities Challenge!


FIRST PLACE: Monitoring of road surfaces to improve road safety


Road repair closures not only cost congestion for everyday commuters but can be extremely costly! Kevin Lee’s Team proposed remotely monitoring road surface quality and detecting potholes using their proprietary Internet-of-Things (IoT) sensor attached to existing vehicles delivering real-time data.


SECOND PLACE: Smart Cities Bus Plan AI Mobile App


Robin Rowe suggests a mobile app using AI and GPS to track bus locations regardless if they are urban or otherwise. This app would show precisely where a citizens bus is and when it’s expected to arrive. City managers and bus companies use the system to track where their buses are and for resource loading, adding or removing buses from routes based on how many people are waiting.


THIRD PLACE: Smart City AI Assistant for Citizens & Visitors


If you’ve ever moved to a new city, or live in a developing city - knowing where things are can be quite the Mess. Cliff Edwards says that a smart city assistant personalizable for every citizen and visitor is the solution! His submission says it would use any language, and be accessible through mobile devices & public kiosks.




WalkSide maps the presence and accessibility sidewalks and provides optimum routing for people with disabilities and pedestrians. 


Livable Smart Cities powered by Deutsche Telekom

We are excited to welcome the top three winners to Germany in September 2018 to the annual Innovation Day forum where they will meet the broader technical community!

Deutsche Telekom would also like to take this opportunity to thank the 350 innovators and 52 teams who accepted our challenge to make our cities smart! It was not an easy process for selecting these winners. Thank you all for giving your best solutions and making this project a huge success!

To our judges, Ole Schilling, Melanie Kubin-Hardewig, Henrik Faelsch, and Andreas Bentz; your support is not without great thanks! Your contribution to refining our innovator's submissions was no simple task. This project’s delightful outcome is due to your efforts!

8 Hours Remaining to Submit!

Aug. 13, 2018, 6:59 a.m. PDT by Joeana Lutha Mae Villo

If you're still assembling your submission, you have exactly 8 hours left to complete it!

Here's a Tip: HeroX recommends innovators plan to submit with at least a 3-hour window of time before the true deadline. Last-minute technical problems and unforeseen roadblocks have been the cause of many headaches. Don't let that be you!

Two Day Warning

Aug. 11, 2018, 1:59 p.m. PDT by Joeana Lutha Mae Villo

This is your official two-day reminder!

That's right, the Livable Smart Cities powered by Deutsche Telekom will be closing this coming August 13th at 4:59 pm Eastern Time (New York/USA).

Please be sure to complete your submission form well before the exact cut-off time.

At exactly 4:59 pm ET, we can no longer accept new submissions!

Got questions?

Now is the time to speak up! Comment directly on this update with any questions about the submission process and we'll get back to you right away!

McKinsey Report: Smart cities: Digital solutions for a more livable future

Aug. 10, 2018, 5 a.m. PDT by Kyla Jeffrey

Until recently, city leaders thought of smart technologies primarily as tools for becoming more efficient behind the scenes. Now technology is being injected more directly into the lives of residents. Smartphones have become the keys to the city, putting instant information about transit, traffic, health services, safety alerts, and community news into millions of hands... Continue Reading


Read the full report from McKinsey here. 

Five Days Left to Submit (TIPS)

Aug. 8, 2018, 1:59 p.m. PDT by Joeana Lutha Mae Villo

We are quickly approaching the final days open for submission to the Livable Smart Cities powered by Deutsche Telekom. The deadline is August 13th at 4:59 pm Eastern Time (New York/USA.)

Here are a couple of last-minute tips for a smooth entry process:

1. Begin your submission process several days before the cutoff time. This allows you to ensure everything you have been working on can be seamlessly integrated into the form.

2. Your submission will not be reviewed until you click the orange "Submit Entry" button at the top of the final review page. Please remember to do this!

3. Review the Challenge Guidelines to ensure your submission is complete. Pay particular attention to the judging criteria which will be the scorecard used to evaluate your entry.

4. Have any questions? Head over to the challenge forum and we would love to help you out.

Thanks so much, and good luck to all!

Forum 9
Teams 356

Frequently Asked Questions

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