Empower Cities, Empower People
This November 18,754 people from 700 cities and more than 120 countries descended on Barcelona to nerd it out for three days of smart city excitement, networking opportunities, and inspiring talks from 420 speakers and 675 exhibitors.
Welcome to the record-breaking Smart City Expo World Congress 2017!
An exciting glimpse of the global startup future
Wandering around the exhibits at the Smart City Expo, we saw a mix of industry powerhouses, including Microsoft, Huawei and Siemens – and they were, as always, very interesting.
But we were also pleased to catch a glimpse of the future, meeting a number of nascent tech companies and up-and-coming startups dotted around the exhibition centre.
The majority of these were in the 4YFN Village (4 Years From Now)—the startup business platform of the Mobile World Capital Barcelona. And we were lucky enough to speak to Esteban Redolfi, Director of the organisation.
He said that Barcelona is one of the main hubs of the technology industry in southern Europe and that it is “attracting talent and investment and becoming a leading city in the smart city sector.”
Natasha Dullaway, Social Media Executive at 4YFN, told us how the platform had given 40 startups from 14 countries the opportunity to exhibit and pitch their ideas to investors, town planners, experts and investors.
“The highlight of the event for me was seeing the startups take to the centre of the Agora stage and pitch their products to the packed-out crowd,” said Ms. Dullaway.
Meet the 4YFN Village People
After having walked what seemed like 10,000 steps, it was good to be able to sit down, have a coffee and friendly chat with different startup teams.
What we really loved about the 4YFN village was the intimate and relaxed environment. Much like a real village, it gave us some much needed respite from the intense buzz of the city (or in this case…conference).
We found a diverse array of entrepreneurs, CEOs and developers. They were stationed in the charming wooden booths and could not wait to tell us about their ideas and goals.
Don’t miss out on the 4YFN event of 2018, held at the Mobile World Congress Barcelona from 26-28th February.
Join more than 20,000 attendees to explore 600 exhibits, and watch and participate in over 150 hours of inspiring talks, activities, pitches and workshops from those who are pioneering the future of the digital world.
So who did we meet?
Company #1: Shotl – go carless
First, we spoke to Shotl. This ride-sharing app aims to solve rush-hour traffic, reduce pollution, and save people money, all at the same time.
It may sound impossible, but they assured us that it is quite a simple concept; download the app (on iOS or Android) and input where you want to go. The app does the rest, finding other people going in your direction and notifying them where you are. Then you are picked up on route by van, taxi or mini-bus.
It’s a bit like taking the bus, but much more direct and without those uncomfortable seats and sticky floors. Better still, by collaborating and sharing rides we can reduce the number of cars on the road.
If you want to take the stress out of your daily commute and help save the planet at the same time, download Shotl. Join the vehicle sharing revolution today!
Company #2: Live Cities – connecting challengers and problem-solvers
We also had the pleasure of meeting the team from Live Cities, another promising Catalan startup. It is a mobile crowdsourcing platform that allows individuals or organisations to connect with the talent and resources needed to complete a project.
Its aim is to make innovation accessible to everyone and not just large organisations or public administrations, empowering citizens so they can turn their ideas into reality.
The app is still in beta and not yet available to download. However, customised versions are available for universities, city councils and other organisations at a cost. This is helping Live Cities to finance the project until it’s ready to launch to the general public.
If you want to be the first to hear about its launch sign up to Live Cities mailing list.
Company #3: Bit4id – simplicity is the key to security
After spending most of the morning at the 4YFN village, we headed over to the Bit4id (Best Information Technology 4 IDentification) stand and spoke to Marco Scognamiglio and his team.
Founded in 2004, the company certainly isn’t a new kid on the block. Bit4id has offices in Barcelona, Naples, London, and elsewhere.
The company originally focused on a B2B model, developing and selling online authentication, e-signature and data protection solutions.
Bit4id introduced SignCloud at the expo. This revolutionary app, created in partnership with Uanataca, allows people to access their digital certificates from their mobile phones.
You often need a digital certificate to prove your identity and access confidential information online. For example, you might use one on government websites to submit your tax return or to complete other administration, without having to physically go to the office. Setting up and downloading one of these certificates can be an extremely painful experience. Thanks to outdated government systems you often need to make one on a PC using an old version of MS Explorer. Imagine.
SignCloud offers a much simpler solution to traditional digital certificates and is available to download now on iOS (Android coming soon!).
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