Using technology to help make cities more efficient is one of the fastest growing use-cases for companies to solve for, and a new program has just announced its first group of businesses that will aim to make Toronto a smarter city.
UPPlift: Toronto has selected the winning companies that will now be able to pilot their technology in test-beds across the city through the first ever Urban Pilot Program. The initiative launched earlier this year and is set on helping infrastructure and real estate operators find the right kinds of smart city technology to bring into their buildings or organizations that will help enhance overall livability.
These selected companies will receive technical support and expertise from both Microsoft and Intel, as well as a startup program legal service package from Fasken. Some of the solutions will also pick up a $25,000 cheque from the IESO (Independent Electricity System Operator) to cover pilot costs.
“We are thrilled to see excellence in local innovation shine through in the UPPlift: Toronto program,” said Michael Kolm, chief transformation officer for the City of Toronto. “Toronto is looking forward to piloting ground-breaking new ideas and smart city solutions to drive improvements in the city’s connectedness, efficiency and sustainability. These solutions have the potential to make city living easier and more inclusive.”
These new technologies will be piloted in properties owned by QuadReal Property group as well as City of Toronto buildings starting this month. Some of QuadReal’s biggest buildings in Toronto include Commerce Court and Bayview Village, and overall the real estate company has 18.5 million square feet of office space and 5.3 million square feet of retail space in Canada alone. On the municipal side, Toronto’s city hall boasts a 27-storey and 20-storey tower, among dozens of other buildings spread across the city.
Below are the first UPPlift: Toronto technologies to be piloted in QuadReal properties.
- ArgosAI is a digitized data stream activated through video cameras that can be used to count people, manage the use of space, see if advertising tools are working, and automate and manage parking spaces without sensors.
- Binners Junk Removal is an app that simplifies item removal and sustainable disposal.
- VSETA is smart facility software and sensors that enable real-time facility monitoring through wireless sensor networks independent of wifi or other wires.
- Spark EV is both a group of charging stations for electric vehicles and a network management platform that can help building owners install and manage their own stations while also even running ads or other notices through the hardware.
- Eddy Home is IoT technology installed directly on a water main that offers intelligent leak protection and water monitoring with the intent to conserve resources.
The City of Toronto also selected three of their own technologies to help make the city a more livable and innovative hub. One of their selections was Spark EV, which is described above. The other two are below.
- Infranovate builds products in the infrastructure space such as sustainably-constructed solar-powered smart benches that offer analytics, wifi and mobile charging.
- Intuitive Robotics provides smart AI modules to help route and guide the right items into correct waste categories. This offers the city real-time insight into waste analytics.
As the companies may show, the City of Toronto’s selections lean more towards holistic smart city infrastructure (EV charging, smart benches and waste disposal) while QuadReal’s choices focus more on what an individual, family or business owner might deem important.
“Through UPPlift: Toronto, we help resolve challenges in the built environment. Toronto’s innovation community has an abundance of solutions to enhance the city’s existing infrastructure,” said Mikele Brack, CEO of Urban Living Futures and creator of UPPlift: Toronto. “Our winning innovators are now able to participate in the city’s first living lab to deploy ‘smart’ and resource-efficient technologies to address those challenges.”
These companies and solutions represent a “smarten from within” attitude that triumphs the growth and scaling of real tangible solutions that can be added to existing buildings, rather than always building new properties and tearing down infrastructure when it gets old or outdated. With these new initiatives and other third-party goals, Toronto is continuing their goal to become one of the smartest cities in North America.