Such a week! From 3rd to the 7th of February, the SOL Mobility bootcamp brought 25 startups from 13 different countries to present their solutions for urban mobility to the public and corporate partners of this Smart Open Lisboa (SOL) vertical edition. Urban mobility is a context where convergence is absolutely crucial to make change happen, so the collaborative innovation approach managed by Beta-i on this Open Innovation program just fits like a glove.
And after five days of intense collaboration between corporates and startups, always under Beta-i guidance and experts team support, 17 out of these 25 startups were invited to keep working with the companies, in order to develop the stunning number of 30+ pilots from now on. Check this quick video:
Such achievement was only possible because of the partner’s vision and commitment to tackle some of Lisbon’s biggest mobility challenges: from E-mobility to Digital & Personalized Mobility, from Smart Parking to Fleet, Asset and Traffic Management. They were able not only to select promising solutions from international startups but also to set up joint pilots – the best metric to translate the true collaborative innovation culture enforced by Beta-i on a daily basis.
“Our challenges are so big and diverse. That’s why this is a very good program since it enables us to work with different companies, partners and people to get different solutions“, points out the Head of the Municipal Mobility & Transport Directorate in Lisbon, Francisca Ramalhosa. She adds that “think and act like a startup” is also a huge cultural challenge – a common topic shared by some other partners, such as CP, which is currently implementing a strategic planning and innovation area. “It is crucial for us to be aware of the changes in our industry and stay open for a dialogue with a new generation of mobility solutions, so programs like this are really important”, adds CP Sectorial Supervisor, Teresa Sousa.
International and fully private companies also acknowledge the need for mutual collaboration to boost new models. “You can’t solve problems being isolated or alone. We must converge our efforts and combine solutions”, says Director for Connected Mobility at Siemens, Andy Gill. “So getting to know these high-quality startups during the program, and partnering with those who see us as a valuable partner to move forward is a fantastic model”. His thoughts also resonate on Galp, the Portuguese-based energy company that recently announced its shift as the biggest solar energy player in the Iberian Peninsula. “We’re diversifying our energy sources, and this shift must be accompanied by other strategic moves”, adds Galp Head of Innovation and Energy Efficiency, Nicolle Fernandes. “That’s what we understand SOL Mobility as a valuable program to help us see new ways of doing things and push for tangible innovation, perceived by our final clients”.
Lisbon has won the title of European Green Capital 2020, and one of the reasons is that Lisbon has a cohesive city-wide vision for sustainable urban mobility. This is achieved through measures to restrict car use and prioritise walking, cycling and public transport, and also by promoting programs like Smart Open Lisboa. This year the City Council also signed a Corporate Mobility Pact with several local partners (companies and institutions) with a set of commitments designed to make mobility in Lisbon more sustainable, through means such as creating conditions for employees to adopt new solutions and mobility behaviours.
So get ready for May, when all the pilot development impact results will be presented during SOL Mobility Demo Day: stay smart & open – oops, stay tuned 🙂
I confess that as a young girl I truly believed that by the time I turned 40 teletransportation will be a common way to avoid traffic jams. As the date is fast-approaching, and although teletransportation is still a mirage, I believe that we are evolving fast enough that transportation will no longer be a pain and, something that a young Joana never worried but now keeps me up at night, better for the environment.
As environment goes electric transportation is allowing us to keep moving without polluting the air with tons of CO2 per mile. Some Governments seem more committed than others in providing the conditions for the expansion of electric vehicles: Amsterdam has pledged to ban all gasoline and diesel powered cars by 2030 and is now offering charging stations to those moving to e-vehicles.
Shared mobility is another big trend. As an epic road rager, I am a fan of not owning a car and only drive when I really, really must, using car sharing services and being a fan of uber. However, at Beta-i we always like to verify what customers really want of each product and in Japan Orix found out that youngsters are using shared cars as a place to crash and spend the night almost as much as they use them for moving around.
Finally, a trend I am most fan of: all the tricks and knowledge on how to get from point A to point B as seamlessly and fastest as possible. That is why I am a huge fan of Meep, one of the startups that participated in the first edition of SOL Mobility, and that allows me to choose the fastest, cheaper or more environmentally friendly way of moving around.
It’s not teletransportation, but sounds good enough for me!
Smart Open Lisboa continues to unite the biggest players in different sectors in Lisbon with the most innovative startups to create a better user experience of the city for Lisbon’s citizens. Rethink spoke with Guillermo Campoamor, CEO of Meep, to get to know their work in the program and the future of mobility.
Meep App is a multimodal journey planner that combines all modes of transportation available in a city into a single app. With Meep, users can plan, book and pay for rides, eliminating the need to use more than one application.
Through the app, customers can choose the best way to reach their destination, according to their own priorities: being able to choose between the cheapest, the faster or the greener routes.
SOL Mobility Piloting
For their SOL Mobility pilot, Meep partnered up with Carris, Emel (specifically Gira, the bike sharing component) and CML (Câmara de Lisboa) to aggregate all transportation resources into a single app. Lisbon locals and tourists would be able to plan their daily routes using bicycles and buses. The Meep app would display real-time information for both the bus stops and bike stations so users will have the opportunity to combine both modes of transport in a single route, based on their preferences. Through this pilot, they hoped to improve the mobility ecosystem, making public transportation more attractive and increasing the accessibility of the city by creating routes that no one has previously provided.
RT: What were your goals in joining SOL Mobility?
GC: Our primary goal with SOL Mobility was to create a feasible pilot in Lisbon that would become a successful product deployment, integrating all transport operators in the city. We recognized that the participating partners in the program are key players in the mobility ecosystem who could, therefore, help us establish a network in Lisbon, and make it possible to deploy Meep as efficiently as possible. A very important component to our goal was to be able to adapt Meep to the local market. Thanks to the insights and mentorship we received through SOL Mobility, we managed to quickly adjust certain features within Meep to accommodate the unique characteristics of the city like creating a custom button through which users can apply their monthly pass.
RT: How was developing the pilot along with the partners?
GC: Developing the pilot with the partners added a valuable perspective to our experience in deploying Meep. We were able to observe and learn from the developments along the path to launch, especially changes and needs in integrations. For example, at the beginning, Carris and Gira were the first to jump onboard as principal partners, while Camara de Lisboa joined as an observer. As we made progress and our positive impact on the city spread, other partners outside the SOL mobility program like ecooltra and emov joined the platform. We also saw some partners, who had expressed interest from the start, have to opt out due to technical difficulties.
RT: What is the impact you believe an app like Meep can bring to the city of Lisbon?
GC: All features of Meep aim to improve city life and travel by decreasing the use of private cars and making transport more accessible, user-friendly and ecological. Through more efficient, integrated travel, Meep will reduce travel costs and conserve much-needed time for Lisbon residents. Further, by creating previously unexplored routes, remote areas will become more connected and therefore more livable. Meep will also make life easier and more mobile with in-app ticketing and payments – the next step in deployment. As we continue to develop, we hope the platform will serve as a mobility marketplace within which users can interact with the information in the platform and with each other, giving the city of Lisbon the most accurate and updated user behavior and data with which it will better serve the people.
RT: Are there any first results of success you can share?
GC: Thus far, we have seen Meep users in Lisbon use the app to create endless combinations of different transport modes between buses, bikes, motorcycles, metro (Gira) and scooters. We are growing fast, and more and more people are choosing Meep as their preferred transportation app. Since our recent launch in November, we have more than a thousand active users per week. For now, they are mostly younger techies who want a better way to move around.
RT: What are the next goals for Meep?
GC: Next goals for Meep in Lisbon are to add kick-scooters to the platform and to progressively integrate payments for current operators.
We are also actively increasing the area that Meep covers in Lisbon so that we can connect to other municipalities. We believe this is important for current and potential Lisbon Meep users because many of them commute back and forth on a regular basis.
We are excited to see how the app progresses in the city, and how we can use the data to advance city living and tourism.
Mobility as a Service
Meep believes they are an integrating part of a new business model – Mobility as a Service – that is rising to meet the new challenges of mobility in the cities.
The pressure of population growth, pollution, and traffic in the cities demand that we re-think how transportation services are currently provided and used, to streamline one of the most important parts of city living: getting around.
We can’t wait to see where Meep and Lisbon’s mobility solutions go next, and we’re also very excited about the startups on SOL Housing, the new vertical of Smart Open Lisboa, that kicked its Bootcamp this week – read about it here.
CardioID’s goal was to produce a technology that would allow changing of routines of authentication and biometric identification of users and they did it by monitoring the heart signals. Each one of us has a heartbeat or a cardiac morphology that is unique – like a fingerprint.
CardioID’s core team, all comprised of electrotechnical engineers, first came into Beta-i’s fold when they participated in the first Lisbon Challenge. When the Beta-i’s team took the challenges of Smart Open Lisboa to them, they didn’t hesitate to put in their contributions towards better mobility in the city. They implemented their product CardioWheel: an Advanced Driver Assistance System that acquires the electrocardiogram (ECG) from the driver’s hands to continuously detect drowsiness, cardiac health problems, and biometric identity recognition.
We spoke with André Lourenço, one of the co-founders, about their path to the perfect product and their participation in SOL Mobility.
ReThink: What was your goal when you started CardioID?
André Lourenço: We had an ambitious goal – to have a base technology that could be applied to multiple scenarios. So we thought that authentication using the heartbeat could change our way of interacting with technology – from cell phones, computers, gaming consoles… anything where you can use your hands – we could identify the person and personalize the experience.
We talked with a lot of people but there wasn’t a go-to-market for that technology at the time – although we do hold the patent of the intellectual property – so we had to develop the technology further, to fit market needs. Because of our science background, we had a solution and we were trying to find the problem when usually it is the other way around.
RT: Is this how you got to your product, CardioWheel?
AL: Exactly! As CardioID evolved, we were looking for a market and we had always thought there was potential in the automotive industry, giving the user experience and the inherent problems of driving. So we started making changes to focus on the automotive industry.
RT: Did you change your vision to adapt to the market?
AL: Everything connected to the more operational side of the business was essential to make the product more marketable. Fleets and the managers are looking for lowering costs – those are the pains of a businessman. So, we had to integrate our base technology in a bigger idea that allows for optimization of a fleet.
But we really think this technology can make a difference and better our lives – there’s still so many car accidents. We know there are autonomous cars coming, but that’s not happening tomorrow. CardioID still maintains humans in command of cars but enhances our experience to be safer and smoother. But that is just one thing.
We believe this technology can go much further than cars.
RT: In which industries do you see CardioID in next?
AL: We have a base technology that is algorithms. We also made some hardware because it didn’t exist at the time. So we basically have a technology that can measure signals and process them locally, and that can be applied in anything. Namely, in the area of critical facilities and monitoring of “lone workers” – someone who has to climb a high voltage pole or inspect a pipeline, or other dangerous environments, by himself. Our tech can be embedded in a t-shirt or a band, and the process of analysis of fatigue and stress can be added. We can have these signals monitored by others or by the person themselves – giving him an awareness of his own conditions.
We saw immediately a slew of companies that we’d been trying to work with, giving that our product was ready to market. We needed a connection to them and SOL accomplished it very well.
RT: Why did you decide to join SOL Mobility? What were the main attractions the program had for you?
AL: The main attraction was the industry that was involved. We saw immediately a slew of companies that we’d been trying to work with, giving that our product was ready to market. We needed a connection to them and SOL accomplished it very well. It was an interesting deck of entities and companies, and we especially liked that several of them had national reach, even though the programme is “Smart Open Lisboa”.
RT: How was the process of working with a utility?
AL: Ferrovial in particular opened up for us, and they have been a great partner. We’re very happy to be working with them. We’ve made more contacts that are still on-going. It opened up a lot of doors for us that we are now developing relationships with. The programme aims to establish procedures and create visible milestones for both sides and it was really effective. The pilot was a real deployment of our technology with a big enough scale – that was important to us.
RT: You partnered up with Ferrovial – what is the pilot about?
AL: We are monitoring the whole driving experience of Ferrovial’s fleet. We’re using not only CardioWheel – which analyses the physiological signals of the driver – but also monitoring the car and the driving and the road itself. We applied complementary technological units to have a system that allows optimizing the costs of the operation and simultaneously greatly improve the safety of the driver.
It’s still early for the results, but we’ve observed some interesting things already. We have several driver profiles, that consider region, type of vehicle, driver’s physiology, route and incidents of the job. For example, there’s a big correlation between the number of incidents (weather, etc) and vehicle consumption.
RT: What were the biggest advantages you took from being in Smart Open Lisboa?
AL: The biggest advantage was the structure of the pilots and the contacts with the companies involved in the programme. The fact that we had all the entities and companies connected to mobility in the same room was very interesting – just having all the players in mobility there brought up ideas that connected with each other. That was a major plus.
RT: Would you recommend Smart Open Lisboa to other startups?
AL: Yes! There’s still so much to do in mobility. We’ve had so many ideas, we wish we had the time to it ourselves. But to take advantage of Smart Open Lisboa, a startup must be mature enough to develop the pilots and apply the technology on a national scale, that’s important to take notice.
You can take a look at CardioID’s pilot presentation below:
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Smart Open Lisboa is the open-innovation programme of the Lisbon Municipality that is bringing innovation to the city in several different verticals. The last edition was focused on the mobility vertical, and brought several startups who are successfully working with programme partners to implement pilots in Lisbon. Let’s get to know some of the on-going projects!
Eccocar wants to make your fleet more efficient
One of the programme’s startups, Eccocar, is implementing a pilot in partnership with Ferrovial and Lisbon’s Municipality to help increase the efficiency of their fleet with a car sharing principle. They hope to show their success by measuring KPI’s like management time (the time spent by the user booking the vehicle), fleet usage time, driver per car and fuel consumption. By digitizing the fleet, they hope to reduce costs, make better use of the cars and maintain the same level of service while reducing the fleet.
See the video below for a full explanation of the project:
Wall-i is creating sensors for better experiences
In partnership with Metro de Lisboa, Wall-i is installing visual sensors in key locations inside Metro stations around Lisbon.
The sensors create a heatmap to get more accurate data about the flow of users in the station, helping managers make better decisions. The sensors are also installed in entrances to detect and reduce fraud in the ticket validation gates.
This startup is also testing weather sensors all over the city, this time in partnership with Lisbon’s Municipality, to collect better environmental data in key points of the city: measuring things like CO2 level, humidity, temperature, noise level, etc.
This product is just one of many developed by this innovative startup. Get to know them here:
Shotl is changing the shuttle business
Another startup featured in this open-innovation programme is Shotl, who is trying to modernize the shuttle service.
Their mobility platform matches multiple passengers headed in the same direction with a moving vehicle. This service is especially thought out for suburban areas with less public transportation connections, and for passengers with reduced mobility, who are often confronted with fewer solutions and access.
In SOL Mobility, they have partnered up with Carris, the main bus provider in Lisbon, to implement their model in order to create an on-demand bus service for people with reduced mobility.