startAD Hardware Venture Launchpad: Ten IoT platforms to rule us all

J.R.R. Tolkien gave three rings to the Elves, five to the Dwarfs, and seven to the humans, and one ring to rule them all. Now devices work together on IoT and rule us all.

Congratulations to Aeler, Ballbox, Nurai, Pulse Active, Twistar, ZestIoT, Nester, MUrgency, Zenbist and NileBot, the ten start-ups that got direct access to investors after pitching at Hardware Venture Launchpad in startAD, NYU AD.

Entrepreneurs who try to build a physical product from scratch are possibly fitting the hardest slot for creating a business, and that´s what the Hardware Venture Launchpad, the only entrepreneurial platform in the region with a hardware program, tries to help solving in the initial stage.

The second batch of Hardware Venture Launchpad presented inventions in IoT, ICT, Logistics, Enterprise Solutions, Health, Mobility, and Water & Energy. Let´s see the top ten:

NEURAi transforms your question into Business Graphs

NEURAi got the special prize awarded by Etihad. Shivakumar Kancharla presented this AI-BI (Artificial intelligence & Business Intelligence) analytics platform that helps to simplify data

discovery with natural language search and AI insights.

If we start with NEURAi´s WHY, as Simon Sinek always recommends, their reason to create it is to make data accessible to Decision Makers who need it. Users ask questions about their data in plain English and the platform will organize it the data into Business Graph, a solution that will reduce endless meetings and improve decision making process with better information at hand. This intelligent data modelling powered with machine learning features also finds hidden patterns that may reveal/guide new business directions, and point out to anomalies.

Heavy users would be, obviously, executives in corporate environment, but NEURAi´s empowers citizen data scientists, analysts, and data scientists by helping them with data analysis without coding, reducing report backlog and producing more insights in less time. I think journalists will be also very interested to use this great tool to produce better, higher quality information.

Ballbox, or how to save a day at the beach when you leave your stuff at home

Let´s be honest, families have to tick all the boxes in their to-do list of logistics if they want to enjoy a day off at the beach. The beach umbrella, the diving glasses, the SPF t-shirt, the inflatable ball, the floaty, the kids… except the kids, of course, we may forget any of the other items, and who wants to drive back home to bring it…. Ballbox is an innovative solar powered vending system born in the United States that will save us the day (and the face) by renting us the items we need, from chair lounge to footballs, and other items. The team wants to partner with parks, public beaches, campsites, hotels and universities. And forget to carry all the stuff with you!!

Aeler Tech, containers always safe

Logistics is one of the most benefitted sectors with the IoT and Blockchain applications thanks to the advancements in tracking systems. Aeler Tech brings a smart solution to track containers with their sensor-embedded composite container, whose information gets uploaded in the cloud to be traceable. Their projections are quite convincible for shipping companies: they save $6,000 per year per container. Several multinationals are supporting the Swiss start-up.

Pulse Active Stations, check your weight & blood while the metro comes

Another kiosk option, but this time focused in creating awareness about our lifestyle. Stop blaming the French fries if you want to be proud of your health and check 21 body & risk indicators and 12 lifestyle diseases in these IoT smart kiosks that Get Pulse wants to install in malls, metro stations, service stations, hospitals, and even near your ATM. Users can know better about their Height, Weight, BMI, Blood Pressure, SPO2, Pulse Rate with Body Composition Analysis for Body Fat percentage, Mineral Content, Muscle and Bone Strength, and Body Water content. Their mobile phone app customises nutrition tips and workouts to guide the necessary changes in our routines.

Their founders told us that one third of the world population is obese, two thirds if we consider population within the UAE, so let´s hope their initial 200 kiosks will be the first building block for a healthier, more natural lifestyle.

Twistar, deeply understand why your customers are laughing

Happiness is difficult to be tracked, but satisfaction, especially when eating, is easier to be felt. Restaurants don´t get much out of their customers´ eating pleasure unless they get their surveys completed at the end of the meal, exactly at the time that customers run and don´t care giving points to the right or to the left of the scale. And that´s the issue that Twistar’s founders want to tackle.

Twistar devices want to harvest as much data as possible of what is going on with our friends at our tables, how much we enjoy the food, if the speed service is fine or if the filet shall be medium or red. The device literally “reads” the emotions and asks for rating the service, and then sends the information on 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, BLE, GPS, and NFC to the user on real time. Their AI system recognizes the voice emotions of customers chatting but keeps it anonymous and secure.

Twistar is useful to measure customers’ moods at airport lounges, buses, coffee shops, institutes of learning, taxis, waiting rooms…

ZestIOT, saving time at an airport is possible

Time performance is a kind of art. At schools we get “trained” to solve calculus and write summaries in short periods of time, but when it comes to aviation, time performance means money, from reducing operational costs with a proper baggage handling, to fast terminal & ground operations. Every second we save –or at least not waste- to passengers, the higher the possibilities that they will be happier and willing to repeat the service with the same airline. Not in vain, one minute of delay means between five and ten millions dollars of costs to airlines.

ZestIOT is an aviation platform to improve time performance in many ways. It brings visibility to real time issues and identifies blind spots, keeping an eye on predictability in operations. Their passenger flow improvement reduces queues and the baggage tracking helps to reduce assets pilferage.

Nester, mix & match parking spaces

If you have a parking slot and I need a parking place every time I go to Dubai, we better get in touch, but how to do that? Nester proposes to parking space owners to list their spots availability so parking seekers can find a place to leave their vehicle while going to work, attend a meeting, or simply go home after a long day. Payment can be done directly from the mobile with a QR code reader, and in case you need the toggle to enter, it is also available. What a peace of mind the next time I drive for a meeting there!

MUrgency, have your beloved elder relatives traveling in safe hands

Memories from grandmothers are one of the most precious souvenirs from childhood, so when it comes to their time to fly to visit us, we all intend to make the flight the smoothest experience for them, especially if nobody from the family escorts them. MUrgency has successfully implemented a web and mobile app Airport service with applications as concierge, assistance, and meet &greet service, with an online real time monitoring system, in 626 airports in 136 countries. Their plan is to operate in 1,000 locations by the end of 2018. Their services, of course, are not limited to elderly citizens, but also available to corporates, travel agents and general consumers.

Fenbits, the unmanned drone to control water quality

It is irritable to take a day off the city to reconnect with nature and find out bottles, plastic wrappings and other floating, smelly stuff shake slowly on the water spot we choose for a splash, isn´t it? Things would get solved with manners, but until then, we have to get sure that water quality is acceptable if we still want to bath in.

Bluephin can give a hand at that. The only drone in the Hardware program is an aquatic tool to clean the layers of plastic trash floating on water channels, bays, and lake. It is an unmanned device that analyses water and track pollutant flow patterns. The dron

e also carries a bio water train – a bio filtering and sterilization pods for oil spill cleaning.

NileBot, an aquaculture application

Another application on water, this time in aquaculture, is Nilebot, a monitoring and alarming system solar powered that sends information about water quality by SMS to their users. Their main target is to reduce the cost of fish feed in fish farms in a 30 percent. With a market size of $4b in Egypt and the GCC, the idea makes sense and is scalable worldwide.

Want to know more?

The other participating start-ups are:

ODO Ride, a smart vehicle similar to the Indian tuk-tuk, adapted for the big cities.

Energy4Less, smart solar roller shutters able to generate 200 Watts/m2. You shall head to Spain, the most obsessed European country with shutters and one of the world leaders in solar energy.

SmartOASYS, an IoT real-time data collector of water quality.

Get Parking, to find your slot and reach your office on time.

VoxEra, a device to use your SIM card for calls and SMS with zero roaming fees.

Roborzoid, a platform that integrates voice and gesture recognition.

Matrix, a platform for accounting and services for hospitality industry.

Solva Technologies, the first electric motorbike supplier that brings your food without piston-polluting the air of your city.

SweepTEQ, a debris detection system for airport ramps.

Swae, a participatory decision-making platform that bridges traditional and modern corporations, allows suggesting ideas without disclosing the author´s name. It combines AI and crowd intelligence for better decisions.

SmartSend, a multicarrier shipping with AR and AI.

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