At Joint Webinar, Taiwanese and Czech Companies Unveil Smart Solutions for Urban Development
11/24/2020—Economic development experts and technology developers from the Czech Republic (Czechia) and Taiwan joined forces at the Expanding to Czechia, Taiwan and Beyond webinar on November 24 to share insights and investment opportunities into promising smart city solutions. The webinar was co-organized by the Asia Silicon Valley Development Agency (ASVDA) and the Czech Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei, and featured a mix of remote and local presentations by Czech and Taiwanese companies that threw light on the future of urban development. The event was livestreamed to viewers via YouTube.
Ms. Jessie Lieh-Jiun Chao, First Economic Secretary of the Department of Investment Services, Ministry of Economic Affairs, and Czech Economic and Cultural Office Representative Mr. Patrick Rumlar delivered the opening remarks. Chao stated that tapping into the power of startups to drive the development of next-generation industry and helping them link up with international markets has become a high priority task for Taiwan’s government. With the signing in August of a cooperation MOU, Taiwan looks forward to future cooperative ventures with Czechia. Rumlar pointed out that Taiwan is the 3rd largest source of Asian foreign direct investment into the Czech Republic, and Czechia is Taiwan’s 4th largest investment destination in Europe. With a total trade of USD 1.4 billion, Taiwan has become a major trade partner for the Czech Republic.
Keynote speakers at the event included Dr. Pin-Hang Fan, deputy director of Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, and Ms. Zuzana Vedralová, project manager of CzechInvest, a government investment and business development agency. In his address, Dr. Fan noted that with 41 startup hubs and 61 accelerators to date, Taiwan is an excellent location for start-ups to get their footing. Taiwan ranks 15th in the world on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index, 10th on the Heritage Economic Freedom index, and 12th on the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, and startup investment in Taiwan is increasing at a rapid pace, from 391 million dollars in 2015 to 699 million dollars in 2019.
Vedralová introduced the benefits of doing business in the Czech Republic (Czechia) as well as the resources and support the country offers to startups. As a business center, the Czech Republic benefits greatly from its strategic location in the heart of Europe and its membership in groups such as the EU, World Bank, and WTO. Czechia ranks 6th in the number of startups in Europe. Partly thanks to the country’s excellent R&D infrastructure, a number of major Taiwanese corporations, including Foxconn, Acer, and Pegatron have already invested in production in the Czech Republic.
Following the keynote speeches, special guest speaker Dr. Chung Yu (Steve) Huang, senior vice president and CTO of PEGATRON, graciously shared his company’s experience in manufacturing and production in the Czech Republic. He noted that Czechia is an excellent location for business collaborations, especially in AI, electronic vehicle, and 5G technologies.
During the second half of the webinar, representatives of four startups or spin-off companies from Czechia and four from Taiwan pitched their products and offered insights into the ways in which their solutions will help make smart cities a reality.
The first presenter was TAKTIK, a Czech company that specializes in media management and healthcare software, with a focus on cybersecurity, infrastructure and storage, backup technologies, and AI solutions. Of particular interest are Taktik’s unique deception technology, which prevents hackers from gaining entrance to a company’s production assets by rerouting them to a decoy, and iCure, an easy-to-use healthcare platform for electronic patient records that works on all connected devices and can be integrated into any IoT appliance.
Next up was MAINWARE, a spin-off from Czech company JHV that has developed a holistic solution that brings machine maintenance into the digital age. Mainware’s open platform is self-manageable and works with any machine from any manufacturer. It offers up-to-date technical drawings through 3D-modeling or AR, AI predictive maintenance, condition monitoring, remote support, and e-learning, as well as a smart factory that connects all the data layers of a company into a single complete digital ecosystem.
Mainware was followed by VISIONCRAFT, which offers customers a complete traffic monitoring and parking management solution that can be installed anywhere quickly and economically, with minimal resource requirements. In congested urban centers such as Taipei, where NTD 1.75 billion was meted out in parking fines in 2019, Vision Craft’s platform can save money and time, and decrease air pollution.
The final Czech presenter was Veracity Protocol, which has developed a method to create a microstructure-based, tamper-proof physical code for any object based on its unique physical structure. Using this solution, companies can trace an item’s identity through its physical properties, without the need for a serial number, RFID, or barcode. The code can also be used to verify product authenticity to prevent counterfeiting, and to ensure product integrity, even for items as small as computer chips. There is no need for special hardware; verification can be done using only a smartphone.
First on the roster of Taiwanese startups was Brocere, which has created a real-time fire detection IoT system for hotels and other businesses as well as individual residences. Brocere’s smart sensor uses an AI algorithm that distinguishes between different types of smoke. The sensor activates every ten seconds, and if a fire is detected, sends an alarm immediately to both the occupants and firefighters. The accompanying app automatically provides maps of open escape routes and fire-fighting routes. Hotel guests can use the QR code beneath the sensor to access escape route information. The sensor provides users with up to ten years of use time without the need to replace batteries.
Taiwanese start-up MOOVO has developed the Orion Platform, an end-to-end solution for electric bikes and scooters that is ideal for urban environments. Orion is bundled and sold as a total package that covers everything from vehicle design, an online data platform, and an online operating platform to shipping, maintenance, and spare parts. The high-quality bikes and scooters are good for up to 20,000 kilometers and share standardized core components that can be swapped out during upgrades or changes to the fleet to save money, streamline the supply chain, and cut back on waste.
Third among the Taiwanese companies was Droxo Tech, which produces drone applications for commercial and agricultural use. Droxo’s agricultural drones offer a wide range of solutions for farmers. The smart agricultural app includes an agricultural database, AI pest identification, and soil monitoring. After analyzing the field data, it directs the drone to carry out precision spraying using autonomous flight optimization. Droxo also produces a solution for drone-based bridge and wind turbine inspections that cuts costs and time by up to 80% and nearly eliminates the risk of human injury.
The final start-up at the event was KIWI New Energy, whose Solar Sharing Platform is designed to connect green energy prosumers with the company’s smart microgrid projects to enable them to sell their surplus electricity at a competitive cost. This fully decentralized web-based platform allows anyone to get 100% green energy directly from renewable local power sources. Businesses will be able to use their purchases of green energy from the platform to help gain green certification, since the company will validate all data using blockchain technology.
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