New innovation hub promises smarter future for towns of all sizes

For start-ups advancing smart city solutions, the center will serve as a platform to offer their technologies to a long list of municipalities, rather than approaching individual local authorities.

The new Municipal Innovation Center in Tel Aviv (photo credit: AVIV KORT)
The new Municipal Innovation Center in Tel Aviv
(photo credit: AVIV KORT)
From the country’s northernmost town, Metulla, to the southern Red Sea resort of Eilat, municipalities of all sizes and locations can benefit from embracing smart city technologies.
The implementation of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions by municipalities enables data-driven decision-making, improved resident communication channels, enhanced transportation infrastructure and safer urban areas. Yet identifying and funding such technologies can often prove challenging and even prohibitive for smaller towns with strict budgets.
Aiming to accelerate the adoption of technologies by all local authorities, the Local Government Economic Services Company – a subsidiary of the Federation of Local Authorities in Israel – inaugurated the Municipal Innovation Center (MIC), a central Tel Aviv hub offering smart solutions for aspiring smart cities.
The center will provide local authorities from across the country with relevant data and information to facilitate the implementation of smart city technologies, focusing on sectors including emergency management, cyber infrastructure and advanced communication systems.

The hub will also promote solutions in the fields of smart transportation, such as innovative urban traffic management and electric vehicle charging technologies, and environmental protection, including water conservation technologies.
A key objective of MIC is to assist the implementation of technologies by embracing economies of scale. While developing an advanced platform to track inner-city transportation may prove too costly for a single municipality, joint development for dozens of municipalities across the country can dramatically reduce expenditure.
For start-ups advancing smart city solutions, the center will serve as a platform to offer their technologies to a long list of municipalities, rather than approaching individual local authorities.
“If I try to develop any smart city application or technology to smart cities in my city alone, it will cost millions of shekels,” Haim Bibas, mayor of Modi’in-Maccabim-Reut and chairman of the Federation of Local Authorities, told The Jerusalem Post. “When we work together through the Federation of Local Authorities, we can save a lot of money.”
The Modi’in Municipality’s decision to install tracking chips in trash cans has saved the city approximately NIS 3 million to date due to increased efficiency, said Bibas, currently serving his third term as mayor. Extra funds can subsequently be reinvested into education and improving local infrastructure.
“We would like to bring technology to the weaker municipalities, to the periphery and to development cities. Even the strong municipalities can’t buy all the technologies, which would cost hundreds of millions,” said Bibas.
The new center has already attracted the attention of foreign municipal decision-makers, including the mayor of Hanoi and senior local officials from Florida and Italy, on recent visits to Israel.
“They came to learn about smart cities, smart city solutions and new technologies,” said Bibas. “Through that, we build partnerships with all the other cities.”