The inauguration of Tel Aviv's CityZone innovation laboratory and field experiment center.
(photo credit: OMER HACOHEN)
Israel’s first smart-city innovation laboratory and field experiment center opened its doors to entrepreneurs this week at Tel Aviv’s Atidim Business Park.
CityZone – a joint initiative established by the Tel Aviv Municipality, Atidim Business Park and Tel Aviv University – will enable early-stage start-ups to develop technologies and solutions relevant to the real needs of the modern city.
Urban entrepreneurs will be able to experiment with real scenarios and real data at the 20-acre gated business area, accompanied by real customers, both from the municipality and from multinational companies partnering in the project.
Among the multinational companies that have joined the project are Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi’s Israeli innovation lab and Dell Technologies. “The purpose of the lab is to enable us to better understand the future of the city, the challenges it poses and how we should try to tackle them, thereby advancing smart-city technological solutions,” said CityZone CEO Gaby Kaminsky.
“For this purpose, the Atidim Business Park in Tel Aviv was chosen as the ideal arena for this laboratory, as it is home to many urban scenarios: thousands of visitors every day, thousands of vehicles, parking lots, garbage, gardening, kindergartens, hair salons, gym, sewage, water meters, street lighting and more.”
Selected start-ups will receive a well-equipped and subsidized office in the laboratory, and access to training by experts in various fields, including Tel Aviv Municipality officials, university researchers and representatives from multinational companies.
Key challenges faced by modern cities, said Tel Aviv Municipality chief information officer Liora Shechter, include the loneliness of the elderly, monitoring security incidents and sanitation hazards through an extensive camera network, encouraging cooperative and autonomous transportation and smart-city cyber protection.
The CityZone program will also expose the chosen start-ups to local authorities throughout Israel and to other cities around the world, with whom CityZone has cooperation agreements.
“Joining CityZone is a natural step for us, as part of the group’s increasing involvement in the local system,” said Antoine Basseville, director of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi’s innovation lab in Israel.
“In the coming months, we will inaugurate the facilities of the innovation lab at the Atidim Business Park, built with the support of the Israel Innovation Authority, and will provide the start-ups with the ideal conditions for carrying out feasibility studies.”
Four start-ups have already been accepted to join CityZone: EdgeCase, an artificial intelligence and class data labeling company; Moodify, an artificial empathy-based stress reduction system for drivers; LightApp, a smartphone application connecting volunteers to the elderly; and Trailze, a predictive navigation platform for micro-mobility.
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