Image | Siemens

Entrepreneurs and startups from the smart cities sector had the chance to explore innovative, latest-gen solutions at the fifth edition of the Smart City Expo World Congress, a landmark event in the industry, which on November 19 closed its doors after three frenetic days.

Electric, self-driving vehicles for public transport, applications that warn the blind of urban obstacles, and microphone systems able to sense accidents and notify emergency services were some of the breakthroughs showcased for the professionals and citizens on hand at the event.

4 Years From Now, the Mobile World Capital Barcelona business platform for the world’s burgeoning community of technology startups, could also be found at the Smart City Expo World Congress. For the first time 4YFN rewarded entrepreneurial talent in the area of smart cities with an unprecedented competition at the Congress: the Smart Cities edition of the 4YFN Awards. Mapillary, a startup based in Malmö, Sweden, had the honour of being recognised by 4YFN’s panel of experts as the top mobile technology solution related to smart cities. Mapillary is an application to capture, share and explore street-level images; through the contributions of its community of users, the app makes it possible to conduct virtual visits of different sites.

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Among the competition’s finalists were two other international startups: Israel’s BreezoMeter, a platform drawing on Big Data to deliver information on air quality in cities; and The Netherlands’ The City Game, an app promoting the carrying out of good deeds in exchange for rewards offered by different brands as part of their CSR strategies. Completing the line-up of startups participating in the competition’s final was the Madrid-based DriveSmart, with an app that analyses and improves driving and behaviour behind the wheel, and Barcelona’s SmartCityLink, with a management system that connects users, workers and managers of city services via phones and tablets.

Aleix Valls, Director of Mobile World Capital Barcelona’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme, and also of 4YFN, stressed that “the more than 120 startups that entered the competition illustrate mobile technology’s business potential in the area of smart cities.” He added that events like the 4YFN Awards “help to bring entrepreneurs and industry together, essential to our area’s economic and social transformation.”

Another one of 4YFN’s major contributions to the Smart City Expo World Congress was the establishment of a space just for entrepreneurs and startups focused on smart urban solutions based on mobile technologies: the 4YFN Village drew together 28 startups from 9 countries, including Adaptive City, The Social Coin, Snappclick and Chiemo.

The mobile startups platform also featured two talks as part of the Congress’s line-up of activities, aimed at analysing the impact entrepreneurs and startups have on smart cities. At the first Daniel Doctoroff, CEO and President of Sidewalk Labs, and Menny Barzilay, CEO and a Cybersecurity strategist at FortyTwo, analysed the transformative potential of new startups in the realm of smart cities. At the second, a round table entitled “How startups are innovating cities” representatives of international acceleration programs, institutions and foundations discussed the challenges startups face and the roles they play in this industry.

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