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Challenge Enel Challenge: Portable Communication System for Tunnels and Confined Spaces
Enel Challenge: Portable Communication System for Tunnels and Confined Spaces
STATUS: Awarded
Active Solvers: 472
Posted: Feb 12 2016
Challenge ID: 9933808
Team Project Rooms are available on this Challenge Team Share Challenge Share

Enel, a multinational electric utility, is seeking technology for a portable, wireless communication system to allow contact between work crews during the inspection of long underground tunnels. Communication must be bidirectional and the system should be removable/protected when not in use.

This Challenge requires only a written proposal.


While inspecting hydro-tunnels, work crews must be able to signal and call where assistance is needed. In turn, possibility to communicate among  workers inside tunnels together with team outside can improve effectiveness of operations and inspections . Two-way communication is quite difficult in an underground tunnel.

Normal modes of electronic communication are not compatible with very long underground hydro-tunnels. Currently, manual modes of communication and signals (for example, air horn blasts) are used to communicate problems. The Seeker would like to find a portable, wireless communication system that could work in long tunnels during inspections and keep workers in constant contact with rescue teams.

This is a Theoretical Challenge which requires only a written proposal to be submitted. The Challenge award will be contingent upon theoretical evaluation of the proposal by the Seeker. The solution may combine existing components, commercially available components and/or novel Solver solutions. Ideas leveraged from other industries with similar problems are encouraged.

To receive an award, Solvers will not be required to transfer their exclusive IP rights to the Seeker. Instead, Solvers will grant to the Seeker a non-exclusive license to practice their solutions.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on April 12, 2016. Late submissions will not be considered.

About the Seeker

Enel Research and Innovation, (Enel Ingegneria e Ricerca S.p.A) is part of Enel Group. Research and Innovation, within the Global Generation Business lines has the following responsibilities:

  • To define power generation technologies of interest as well as research and innovation project portfolio;
  • To manage R&I projects aimed at improving operational performances of existing power plants

Research and Innovation develops activities and projects aiming at developing advanced technological solutions for increasing power plants environmental and technical performances, flexibility and reliability and at identifying advanced integrated technological systems for power plants monitoring/diagnostic and safety management.

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What is a Theoretical-Licensing Challenge?

An InnoCentive Theoretical Challenge builds upon an idea but is not yet a proof of concept. A solution to a Theoretical Challenge will solidify the Solver's concept with detailed descriptions, specifications and requirements necessary to bringing a good idea closer to becoming an actual product or service.

This Challenge is a Theoretical-Licensing Challenge, meaning that the Seeker is requesting non-exclusive rights to use the winning solution. By contrast, Theoretical-IP Transfer means that Solvers must relinquish all rights to the Intellectual Property (IP) for which they are awarded. For these forms of a Theoretical Challenge, Solvers that do not win retain the rights to their solution after the evaluation period is complete. The Seeker retains no rights to any IP not awarded.

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