A Smart City Is Led By Smart People: Insights From Jounieh Smart City 2018

Posted on October 9, 2018

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Berytech organized a Startup Village part of the Jounieh Smart City 2018 conference entitled “Digital and Smart Transformation in Arab cities: Reality and Outlook.” The 6 Lebanese startups chosen to showcase are working on developing smart solutions to increase the wellbeing of citizens while decreasing the negative impact and emission with the use of technology.

By 2050 more than 68% of the world population will be living in urban areas which constitutes less than 2% of the world surface (UN, 2018). Having an increase in the flow of population will automatically lead to an increase in challenges, to name a few: pollution, infrastructure access, traffic congestion, decrease in mobility, safety and health. In other words, the level of wellbeing and the quality of life of citizens will be affected.

Many questions can thus be asked: Who is responsible for solving these challenges? What can be done to anticipate these challenges? What means can be used? We are indeed at a time where it is crucial to anticipate and prevent these challenges and it is not only the responsibility of the public sector but also of each person that can make a change.  there is no better way than allowing the public and private sectors along with entrepreneurs and the civil society to work hand in hand and develop solutions using new technologies such as artificial intelligence and internet of things.

Digital and Smart Transformation in Arab cities

In light of such awareness, Berytech took part in the Jounieh Smart City 2018 conference entitled “Digital and Smart Transformation in Arab cities: Reality and Outlook”, organized by the municipality of Jounieh in collaboration with the Arab Forum for smart cities, under the patronage of the His Excellency Mr. Saad Hariri.

During the gathering, that focused on the status of the municipalities to study ways to implement a strategy for digital transformation, Berytech invited 6 startups, working on developing smart solutions while providing products and services that can actually enhance the quality of life of the citizens, to participate in the Startup Village and showcase to the attendees composed of municipalities, private companies, ministers and deputies.

What is a smart city

According to the European commission, a smart city is “a place where traditional networks and services are made more efficient with the use of digital and telecommunication technologies for the benefit of its inhabitants and business” (European Commission, 2018). In other words, it is a city that wants to improve its services and become more efficient with the use of technology aiming at improving the quality of life of its citizens while being more efficient and sustainable by reducing consumptions, emissions using technology.

H.E. Dr. Inaya Ezzeddine, Lebanese Minister of State for Administrative Reform stated that technology and innovation together are the best means to solve challenges in the best and sustainable way by having public and private players work together.

Startup Village

Forbes Technology Council members suggest smart cities need to focus on several aspects with their tech investment such as: transportation, storm drains, IoT lighting control systems, sustainable energy, high speed internet, affordability and safety (Forbes, 2018). The 6 startups – that were showcasing during the conference and part of the startup village organized by Berytech, are working on many of these aspects; to mention a few, reducing traffic, improving well-being of citizens, reducing pollution, and reducing time of construction.

  • Towbe– a Road Assistance System and app allowing for the first-time insurance companies and towing professionals to have one system to communicate, dispatch, order, track etc… It makes communication between third party professionals easier and faster with a better end-user and client experience. This system also allows to help clients in need of assistance that are not covered by insurance, through other professionals like garages and all in a one system.
  • YallaBus– a platform that aims to revive public transportation in Lebanon. The app helps people find the right bus to move around based on GPS tracking technology: by choosing a destination, users will receive live directions on which bus to take, where and when to wait for it, while tracking it in real time.
  • Carpolo-a community-based carpooling app; it acts as a searchengine for un-used car seats. It connects users with trustworthy individuals thus having a positive Impact on the environment by reducing CO2 and emission and is economical on users by decreasing their fuel and parking costs.
  • Waynak– a platform allowing users to create their personal digital address in a personalized, more detailed map to solve Lebanon’s complicated address system. Users will be able to use Waynak’s address on various other platforms without going through the hassle of re-filling the same information.
  • H2 Eco Design & Contracting s.a.r.l.– a fully integrated professional Architecture and Engineering firm based in Lebanon with the aim to embrace the well-being of the environment through environmentally-friendly designs and solutions. One of their solutions is Smart Bus stop to improve the people experience by organizing the public transport system, offering a respectable and secure bus stop, integrating solar power to ensure sustainability in urban design and giving opportunity to people to recharge their phones in a public place. Such initiative will reduce traffic by 30% and enhance road safety.
  • BuildInk– a cable robot concrete 3D printer to disrupt the construction Industry. This technology reduces time of the construction by 75% comparing to traditional building process and ensures cost savings, and construction in a safe manner.