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Smart City Competition Seeks Startups, Companies with Eye on Public Sector

The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) and the Smart City Works Actuator are seeking applications from entrepreneurs, startups and companies with emerging products that are designed to make cities smarter, more livable and more resilient.

by / August 18, 2017
Participants hear presentations during the Spring 2017 Smart City Cohort session in Herndon, Va. The inaugural event attracted dozens of start-ups to pitch "smart city" business ideas. The Fall Smart City Cohort is set for next month. Photo Courtesy Kevin May

Entrepreneurs and others from the tech community are gearing up for the Smart City Fall 2017 Cohort session in Herndon, Va., next month.

The event, organized by the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) and the Smart City Works Actuator, begins Sept. 13 and is an expansion of the spring 2017 pilot program that was launched in March.

Applications will be accepted until all available slots are filled, organizers say. 

"We strongly encourage the applicants to apply as soon as possible but we will consider new applications until the point that all slots are full," said Kevin May, marketing and communications director for CIT, a Herndon-based, non-profit corporation that helps and invests in next-generation technology companies. "After our cohort is selected for this session, all new applicants would be considered for future sessions."

The program, he noted, is designed to provide participating companies with the skills and resources to become successful in an ever-changing and highly-competitive industry.

“The application process is highly competitive," May added. "Our management team fields applications and inquiries from dozens of startups from across the globe that are interested in participating in the actuator program."

Each class of companies that is accepted into the cohort goes through a 90-day program where they are coached on all aspects of creating a successful business.

“Our program brings together industry experts, veterans, buyers and customers into a platform that supports the rapid launch of the next generation of smart infrastructure companies,” said May. “At the end of the program, we host a Demo Day where we invite over 150 mentors, investors and industry experts to hear the companies' polished pitches.”

The spring event narrowed the field down to six companies that specialized in one of three high-demand sectors: transportation, construction techniques and public safety/resilience. The request spawned a competitive selection process that brought submissions from startups and entrepreneurs located across the world. The six companies selected were:

  • Greater Places – Arlington, Va.
  • UnomicEdge – Arlington, Va.
  • Integrated Health Solutions – Washington, D.C.
  • Infraccess – New York
  • Capital Construction Solutions – Chicago
  • PlanIT Impact – Kansas City, Mo.
The Fall Cohort is calling for entries from six areas:
  1. Transport – Solutions that reduce costs, extend serviceable life, reduce congestion, improve parking, improve inter-modalities, facilitate multi-modal transportation (car, train, bus, bike, pedestrian) and ubiquitous mobility, or leverage smart, autonomous and intelligent transportation solutions to improve the transportation infrastructure network.
  2. Resilience and Public Safety – Solutions and/or IoT technologies that address the safety and security of the urban public; that mitigate the impact of rising sea levels, extreme weather events, or other natural or man-made shocks; that protect critical infrastructure; or those solutions that allow cities to be more livable and sustainable. Of particular interest are unmanned aerial systems suitable for indoor use and indoor sensing suites that can deliver building renderings and post event change detection using video, imagery or other technologies. Additionally, solutions that provide sustainable-energy-based, clean-drinking water. 
  3. Construction Techniques – Solutions that improve the design, construction or maintenance of infrastructure; reduce lifecycle costs or improve safety, schedules or margins. 
  4. Urban Data and IoT Technologies - Solutions that utilize community, city, state, national or global data sets to better understand and solve for the most pressing urban issues; that utilize Blockchain methodologies to improve the value, use and trust of infrastructure data sets and supply chains; or that leverage IoT technologies and devices to improve urban outcomes.  
  5. Energy – Solutions that use metering, controls and IoT applications to reduce usage and waste of energy; alternative and renewable energy sources; alternative and improved transmission and distribution of energy sources; and smart lighting as a central core of intelligent services.
  6. Caring Cities – This fall CIT has reserved up to two slots in its cohort for qualifying not-for-profit organizations focused on at-risk communities. While the emphasis on smart cities is traditionally on reducing congestion, improving public safety and facilitating sustainable energy use, other critical challenges of growing urban communities for those most in need — the poor, the disabled, the homeless and those without access to the Internet — are sometimes ignored. Organizations with disruptive high-impact solutions to support those most in need are encouraged to apply as well.

Interested applicants are encouraged to visit for more details and to fill out the online application.

Skip Descant Staff Writer

Skip Descant writes about smart cities, the Internet of Things, transportation and other areas. He spent more than 12 years reporting for daily newspapers in Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and California. He lives in downtown Sacramento.

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