Bringing brilliant ideas to life

BT has long recognised that the biggest and brightest of ideas can often come from relatively small beginnings.

We’ve seen how these concepts, once developed and refined, can go on to help transform the way people work or live their lives.

And that’s why, along with our partner TechHub, we have established the BT Infinity Lab programme.

It’s a shining star of our open innovation philosophy, providing a front door for BT’s engagement with entrepreneurs and the start-up community - across the UK and beyond.

Unleashing innovation

The programme enables BT to unleash the creativity and energy of the start-up community in a structured and highly-potent fashion.

It formalises our approach to identifying and amplifying the inventive ideas generated by free-thinking entrepreneurs.

We then use the power of collaboration to take those bright ideas to unexpected and exciting places.

BT Infinity Lab in action

The programme involves BT running a series of competitions and events.

Competitions

For Infinity Lab competitions we invite start-ups and entrepreneurs to submit their ideas around a core business theme.

Shortlisted finalists are invited to pitch to a panel of BT and industry experts. One or more winners will then have the opportunity to work with BT for six months to further develop and test their product.

Innovation in action

BT brings together three or four start-ups or small businesses we are already familiar with - for example, through the Infinity Lab competitions or our global scouting programme - for some focused hot-housing.

How start-ups benefit

Winning a BT Infinity Lab competition, brings hugely significant benefits for any start-up.

For example, winners receive:

  • Six months of monitoring and support from BT in areas such as technology, product, legal and marketing to develop technical and commercial strategy.
  • A six-month residential or flexible membership to TechHubs’s global entrepreneur community and events.
  • The opportunity to showcase their products/services in BT’s dedicated Infinity Lab space in London, and at our Innovation Centre at Adastral Park. This facility is visited by more than 200 CXOs of FTSE leading companies every year.
  • Access to BT’s marketing reach to develop and test products and services with BT’s customer base.  

How BT and its customer benefit

The Infinity Lab programme represents a major segment of BT’s innovation strategy. It’s designed to bring new and exciting capabilities in to the company which give BT the opportunity to provide an even better service for our customers.

Thanks to this programme, BT has been able to find and develop some fantastic new technologies, services and apps which have helped to augment our products and services portfolio and deliver some substantial operational efficiency improvements.

All of these are passed on to our customers - whether directly or indirectly.

BT Infinity Lab – The story so far

BT got together with partner TechHub to set up the BT Infinity Lab in 2013.

Tech Hub is one of the leading independent co-working spaces in London. It’s also a big player in Tech City UK – the epicentre of London’s vibrant digital, creative and technology start-up community.

TechHub also has locations in the Google Campus, in Shoreditch as well as international hubs in Bangalore, Boston, Bucharest, Riga, Madrid and Swansea.

Case study

Seenit

In January 2016, BT Sport ran an Infinity Lab competition to identify new production technology that would benefit the fans and viewers.

Video collaboration platform, Seenit won the competition. This gave the start-up an opportunity to work closely with the Infinity Lab to trial and test their products with BT Sport.

Seenit’s vlogging solution allows BT Sport to turn football fans with smartphones into a film crew and pundits. Whether the fans are at the match or watching at home, they can use the Seenit App on their phone to record their point of view and send it through to the production office for broadcast.

Refined solution

Seenit, the Infinity Lab and BT Sport began working together soon after the competition. The team from Seenit looked at how it could create the optimum platform solution for BT Sport programming while the Infinity Lab ran trials of the app at Moto GP events and European Rugby Union matches over the summer.

The finessing was successful and Seenit was integrated into BT Sport’s Premier League Tonight show in time for the new season. It was also introduced to The Score.