Teams pitch smart cities solutions for Vietnam
Team GridComm, pitching a smart street lighting solution for cities, along with their partner G Element, a 3D software company focusing on smart cities and buildings, won first place and a prize of US$5,000 at the Smart City Innovation Challenge (SCIC) Demo Day in Ha Noi on Monday.


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The judges award the prize for the first place winner. 


The Smart City Innovation Challenge, launched in July this year, sought smart city solutions in 12 key focus areas identified by the city governments and the smart city steering committees of Viet Nam. Fifteen teams from around the world were selected to pitch their smart cities solutions for Viet Nam at the SCIC Demo Day.

XRVision, a facial recognition software that works in highly variable, unpredictable environments, and MimosaTek, a Viet Nam-based urban agriculture startup providing irrigation solutions for all crops, won second and third place with prizes of $3,000 and $2,000 respectively.

Other finalists were also matched with local mentors who are influential within the Vietnamese smart city and local business ecosystem. These connections aim to help them grow and accelerate their sales pipelines, develop business plans and receive valuable corporate insights regarding market strategy in Viet Nam.

TNB Ventures, a venture capital partner for Smart City Innovation Challenge Viet Nam, will consider Series A funding for high-potential companies.

The categories in which the teams presented solutions include affordable housing, energy efficiency, traffic management and smarter parking, waste management, urban agriculture, water purification and delivery, public security and monitoring of natural disasters, ecotourism and environmental planning, health care, education, e-government services and more greenery and public spaces. The call specified that solutions should be specifically suitable for Viet Nam’s cities.

The competition received 197 submissions from over 30 countries. A selection committee of industry judges short-listed the 15 finalists.

They come from the United States, Singapore, Switzerland, Turkey, Israel, China, Australia and Viet Nam.

Mike Holt, CEO of GridComm, said his company’s streetlight control system dramatically reduces cities’ overall electricity cost. It also includes a sensor network that provides data insights that can help urban planners.

“Once this infrastructure is in place, Viet Nam will then have the ability to deploy other smart city projects such as traffic management or urban planning much faster and easier,” Holt said.

Dominic Mellor, head of the Mekong Business Initiative (MBI), said that the demand for innovative solutions to develop cities in Viet Nam has never been higher, as rapid development has pushed urban infrastructure beyond its capacity.

John Tran, MBI’s project coordinator for ecosystem development in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Viet Nam, said that the 15 finalist teams displayed a genuine desire to improve local lives.

 “As a local, I can say that Viet Nam has reached a critical point of inflection where drastic measures are needed to address real urban issues. The attendance of representatives from over 30 provinces in Viet Nam expresses serious interest and need for deployable solutions,” he said.

The Smart City Vietnam Demo Day was organised by MBI in cooperation with The National Agency for Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialisation Development (NATEC-MOST), HCM City Department of Science and Technology, Da Nang Business Incubator (DNES), Viet Nam Angel Investor Network (iAngel) and Viet Nam Software Association (VINASA). — VNS

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