Fireworks light up the sky in Singapore on New Year's Day.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
After bringing the smart-city concept to places like Singapore, Barcelona and Stockholm, AGT International and Israeli telecommunications company Cellcom plan to bring the same to Israel.
The two companies announced plans on Wednesday to begin work on various IoT projects in Israel in the upcoming years.
The IoT, or Internet of Things, refers to the interconnection of electronic devices across a network so that data can be shared without need of human input.
“We are bringing this revolution to Israel together with Cellcom,” Ronen Hammer, senior vice president of smart-city and IOT solutions at AGT, told The Jerusalem Post
. “We started this strategic partnership, bringing our IoT and advanced analytics technology together with Cellcom’s vast communications infrastructure and experience in Israel, in order to embed our capabilities in Israeli cities.”
Smart city is an urban development that aims to integrate multiple information and communication technologies with the IoT technologies in order to manage a city’s assets safely and efficiently. IoT is the technology of interconnected devices, or “smart” devices. The IoT field goes beyond everyday products such as cellphones and smart household appliances to a wide variety of devices with the ability to communicate with each other.
AGT is considered a pioneer in IoT and Big Data integration, advanced analytics, and machine-learning. By gathering information from numerous and various types of sensors and analyzing it, the company is able to transform information into knowledge and implement that knowledge in order to run cities more efficiently in several fields. AGT has executed billion dollar projects around the world, and has been selected by the European Union to embed its technology in three European cities, including Barcelona.
While AGT is a privately held company headquartered in Switzerland, it was founded by an Israeli entrepreneur – Mati Kochavi – and has many Israeli high-ranking executives.
It has a research and development center in Herzliya, with two other such centers in New York and Frankfurt.
“Our platform takes data from tens of thousands of sensors around a city, all that data is uploaded to the cloud, where it runs through the analytics we developed,” Hammer said.
“For example, just one small aspect of what we do with traffic: We gathered information from thousands of video cameras, environmental sensors and parking sensors in one of the world’s busiest metropolitans,” he said. “We now know the city’s traffic DNA in a sense, which gives us the ability to also spot abnormalities and alert the appropriate authorities. Or we provide efficient parking solutions by directing the city’s drivers only to available spots, we have the ability to predict if a free parking spot will be taken by the time a driver reaches it, and direct him elsewhere.”
Other proven applications of AGT’s tech include monitoring city lighting, which allows cities to conserve energy; advanced waste management systems; pollution reduction in industrial zones; smart irrigation systems and more. AGT and Cellcom have said they will create projects in Israeli cities that include these applications.
Despite the fact that Israel is a global leader in irrigation and water conservation technologies, Israeli municipalities use rather basic systems for watering public gardens. Even the most sophisticated and computerized system for the watering of municipal gardens is based on timers. Smart city technologies and IoT can tell a specific garden’s irrigation system if it needs to dispense water and how much, thus saving the municipality both money and resources.
“This is the direction cities are going to, and in the upcoming years we will see more and more smart cities in Israel, it is an inevitable trend,” Hammer said.
At this point, he said the companies cannot publicize which cities will be first to receive the technologies.
“Whole countries will eventually be measured by the quality of their cities,” Kochavi said. “The world of IoT allows us to build new urban life. This partnership with Cellcom will enable us to provide IoT connections that would improve our quality of life.”
“Cellcom believes that IoT solutions will soon be an integral part of the services provided by commercial companies,” Cellcom CEO Nir Sztern said. “Cooperating with AGT, which is a global leader in the field of smart cities, is an opportunity to efficiently manage the vast data that our communication systems create and transmit.”