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Colorado Tech Incubator Lab Names Inaugural Cohort Companies

Twelve companies have been selected to participate in the inaugural Smart Futures Lab at the University of Colorado, Denver. The companies bring a range of smart city and transportation expertise.

Smart Connected City
Twelve companies have been selected to participate in the inaugural Smart Futures Lab at the University of Colorado, Denver, in partnership with Innosphere Ventures and the Colorado Smart Cities Alliance.

The cohort companies will have access to new research space equipped with a private 5G communications network and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. The Smart Futures Lab is part of the College of Engineering, Design and Computing at CU Denver. Seven companies will be part of the Smart Futures Lab incubator program, while five companies will make up the accelerator program. Forty-two applicants were considered.

Caliola Engineering, an advanced communications technology company, will join the accelerator cohort. The company plans to further develop its OverKey serverless mesh VPN technology for 5G applications, said Jennifer Halford, CEO and president of Caliola.

“As a woman-owned small business, this gives our company exposure to a broader set of potential government and commercial customers, as well as valuable 5G lab access to stress-test OverKey,” said Halford.

The company’s technology aims to harden communications infrastructure, often a top concern for the public and private sectors.

“As we watch our communities and infrastructure grow and, in some respects, become more vulnerable to critical communications denial, our OverKey solution will enable trusted, Department of Defense-grade security on top of 5G infrastructure,” said Halford.

GridMatrix, a transportation data analytics company, will also join the accelerator cohort. The company collects data on multiple road users — light, medium and heavy-duty vehicles as well as fleets and vulnerable road-user classes — and uses a cloud-based software platform that works with existing infrastructure. The technology receives data from cameras, radar, lidar and processes the data to deliver metrics in what are called “impact areas,” which can be areas like congestion, signal performance, emissions and safety.

The technology can review data from near-misses, which may show a higher propensity of near-collisions between scooters and freight delivery vehicles at a particular intersection, explained Nicholas D’Andre, CEO for GridMatrix. This level of analysis could signal to transportation planners the need for safety measures at this intersection, which would prompt the city to work with the micromobility operator as well.

“Those sort of effects, you may not realize, go into where your scooter dock is, let’s say,” said D’Andre, speaking on a panel last month organized by CivStart.

Earlier this year, GridMatrix began a yearlong pilot project with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to use perception and machine learning software to improve operations on the Holland and Lincoln tunnels, as well as the George Washington Bridge. The technology uses data coming from existing Port Authority cameras and sensors, which GridMatrix is able to process in real time, to see, for example, when a pedestrian enters a subway tunnel.

“If they [Port Authority officials] were able to identify that happening, and [got] an alert, they’d be able to respond more quickly to that incident, because it creates a safety hazard,” said D’Andre.

Other companies to join the accelerator cohort include: AD Knight, also focusing on traffic safety by better understanding vulnerable road users; inCitu Inc., an augmented reality company; and Lazarillo Holding Inc., a mapping company aligned with the needs of making cities more accessible for disabled users.

The seven companies accepted into the Smart Future incubator include: Blind Institute of Technology, Electrafide, GlobeWater & Solar Technologies, Hurculean Feats, SNOWBOTIX, SWAP and Tappy Technology.

“We’re ecstatic to invite these incredible companies into the Colorado Smart Cities Alliance, partner them with innovative local governments across the state, and help them bring solutions to issues Coloradans are frustrated with every day,” said Tyler Svitak, executive director of the Colorado Smart Cities Alliance, in a statement.
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 Yreka, Calif.