Thursday, February 28, 2019

Startups That Want to Run Smart Cities

Right now money should probably be directed at the established companies, chips and other 'brains', IoT sensors, 5G networks, data center equipment and data center REITS etc.
Down the road some of the companies listed here or their competitors will be of interest but between now and then the shake-out will be brutal.

From Nanalyze:

Future City of Tomorrow To Be Powered by Smart Technology
We recently told you about the building boom behind spaceports, where sci-fi visions of high-tech rocket bases straight out of Star Wars are overlaid on existing airports or old industrial sites. Most of the “boom” is still on paper only, with spiffy illustrations of spaceports inked by artists likely taking a break from drawing oversexed warrior maidens for graphic novels. Let’s face it: Any self-respecting future city of tomorrow will need a spaceport, as part of its overall strategy of applying smart technologies and other innovations like flying cars to make the lives of its citizens better – or at least look cooler.

What is a Smart City?
We’ve profiled so-called smart city technologies before, especially for applications in transportation. While there’s not one official definition for the term “smart city,” we’ll defer to the bright minds of CB Insights with this concise explanation:
A city is considered to be ‘smart’ when it can collect and analyze mass quantities of data from a wide variety of industries, from urban planning to garbage collection. In a smart city, a complex network of interconnected sensors, devices, and software must be built and maintained.
About two-thirds of cities are investing in some sort of smart city technology, according to the National League of Cities. About a quarter of those cities still living in the Dark Ages are thinking about hiring some overpriced consultants to help them implement smart technology.
Hundreds of startups have emerged offering smart city solutions.
Hundreds of startups have emerged offering smart city solutions. Credit: CB Insights

This seems to be a particularly good time to dive back into the topic, as the looming introduction of 5G is expected to help connect smart cities like never before. Add in the power of artificial intelligence to analyze and detect patterns in all of that incoming data from sensors and devices, and we can start to see the future city of tomorrow beginning to take shape. Below we profile some of the key technological sectors of the smart city and a few recently funded startups behind them.

Smart City Management
Cities are complex organisms, with many moving parts. The person usually tasked with the day-to-day operations of overseeing the unruly beast is the city manager, a position with an average salary of more than $95,000. Sounds like a white-collar job just waiting to be replaced by artificial intelligence. Enter Atlantis, an AI-driven platform from San Francisco-based startup Quantela, which was founded in 2010. The company recently hauled in $10 million on a Series A round in November. Quantela bills Atlantis as a platform for “smarter urban infrastructure utilization decisions.”
Quantela smart solutions
Source: Quantela

Atlantis aggregates and integrates both historical and real-time data from millions of sensors and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. It then applies machine learning to help humans make better decisions about how to run their cities. For example, it can suggest the optimal time to schedule trash pickup in a neighborhood based on traffic patterns or even predict areas where pollution may be particularly bad. At least that’s what all the flashy, buzzword-filled marketing says. Still, the company claims offices in India, Europe, and the United States. It also recently entered into a partnership with the University of California, Berkeley, to incubate smart city startups by providing access to Atlantis.

Smart Mobility
We’ve often heard that the average commuter spends 42 hours a year stuck in traffic. While 42 might be the answer to the universe, that’s still a lot of time that could be better spent honing your esports skills. Fixing traffic congestion might just be job No. 1 when it comes to building the smart cities of the future. That’s why we see so much money being poured into technologies such as self-driving cars, electric scooters, and delivery robots.
Computer vision at a street intersection.
Gee, we don’t know why so many people die at this intersection. Credit: Numina
New York-based Numina – which claims support from a number of well-known accelerators and foundations, including the Clinton Foundation, as well as BMW – is all about driving less. Toward that goal, the startup has developed a sensor platform, mounted to street infrastructure such as light poles, that uses computer vision to measure how people and objects move throughout streets and public spaces. Numina’s platform counts each type of traveler or object, as well as their speeds, paths, directionality, proximities to one another, time spent in key locations, and more. City governments can then take that information to help unlock gridlock or improve bicycle networks, for example....