Tourists visit the Christ the Redeemer statue with Sugarloaf Mountain (R) in the distance in Rio de Janeiro.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Research firm MarketsandMarkets estimates the “smart cities” sector will reach revenue of $1.1 trillion in 2019. What makes a city “smart”? A series of technologies which provide improved resource management in an urban environment. The first level of this industry includes defense firms which help security services handle terror attacks, protests, fires, and other disasters.
In recent years, the smart cities trend has expanded to also include monitoring companies which measure resource utilization like lights on public streets. When there is no vehicular or foot traffic on a given street, these companies can decrease the amount of lights that are active, thus offering the city significant savings. Other monitoring firms track water usage in public parks, trash collection, and other city services.
In most cases, the smart technology is fitted to existing cities, but the Brazilian government has recently decided to take a different approach and build a smart city from scratch in its northern territory. The city will house 20,000 residents of low socioeconomic status, meaning the planners cannot simply choose the best tech solutions, as they must consider their costs.
Twelve Israeli tech firms participated in the 3C Smart Cities Challenge held in Tel Aviv with cooperation from the Brazilian government, Italian group Planet Idea, the Tel Aviv University center for entrepreneurship Startau, and the Israeli innovation center from global security conglomerate Tyco.
Three ventures won the challenge, with the first-place winner invited to conduct a pilot in the future city.
The winner of the competition was Magos, which is taking part in a program by Tyco Innvation. Tyco is helping the startup distribute its product around the world. Magos offers civil security solutions, developing perimeter protection radars that smart cities can use to defend their borders, compounds, and strategic installations, thus replacing the need for manned patrols or CCTV in small spaces.
The technology makes available for the first time high-resolution, compact security solutions with low energy consumption and a simple installation at affordable rates to a variety of clients on the civilian market.
GreenIQ placed second. It develops solutions for smart management of green spaces, offering up to 50% savings in water consumption. Third place went to Pixtier, which develops an engineering system to build and plan smart cities.
The companies won grants of €3000-7000 and tickets to Brazil.
Tyco Innovation VP Ofir Bar Levav said, “Israel has positioned itself in recent years as a hub for smart city technologies, so it is natural we would take part in this unique project, which has significant impact for proving the feasibility of the technology and the vision. As part of Tyco’s commercialization program, which helps companies attain global distribution, we are exposed to dozens of innovative startups working in the “smart environment” sphere for buildings, stores, commercial and industrial complexes, and, of course, cities which will be vital to the future management of businesses and communities worldwide.”
The government will be joined by the local authorities, startups, and VC firms in establishing the city. The hosts of the challenge said, “Israel was selected as the destination for the challenge because it is a center of innovative technologies and many companies with innovative solutions for smart cities.”