Global property and design consultancy Arcadis has opened a digital innovation hub in central Amsterdam as part of plans to spearhead its smart city ambitions.
The facility will house the three-month Arcadis City of 2030 Accelerator run in collaboration with Techstars, as well as a new incubator for its internal product and service development group.
Arcadis said the moves form part of a broader digital transformation drive underway at the company and a “city-centric vision and strategy of continued digital innovation and growth”.
Patrick Van Hoof, global director of innovation at Arcadis, said: “We have to establish both internal and external initiatives to identify and carefully grow ‘the new’.
“We are serious about being a digital frontrunner in our industry, and therefore we have to develop certain value propositions ourselves, as well as co-create and buy into what happens at the frontier through early stage ventures.”
Creating future cities
Having selected 10 companies to take part in the programme, Arcadis will help them design and create technologies that can revolutionise the way people live, work and travel in cities. There’s an onus being placed on solutions that will “transform the natural and built environment and improve the quality of life”.
Supported by American tech accelerator specialist Techstars, which also runs the Colliers accelerator in the property sphere, Arcadis will work with the startup teams to iterate concepts, grow their businesses and prepare for fundraising opportunities. The programme will conclude with a demo day at the end of May, allowing the companies to showcase their ideas and network with experts.
Each of the companies will receive $20,000 stipend to fund pilots, prototypes, etc., and a $100,000 convertible note for use if needed.
Many of the startups are applying technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, parametric design software, task management software and GIS to city-related themes like urban planning, mobility, resiliency, citizen-city engagement, housing shortage, field collaboration, and workplace wellness.
The 2019 cohort includes:
Urban Data Eye, Spain | Uses artificial intelligence and thousands of live streaming cameras to analyse public space in real-time.
ModelMe3D, Netherlands | 3D real-time master planning platform helping cities, businesses and citizens to make more informed decisions.
Iomob, Spain | Combines open source and blockchain technology to enable decentralised mobility.
Etalyc, US | Software provider that aims to improve traffic operations by integrating technologies like IoT, machine learning and big data analytics.
Senscity, Australia | Decision support platform that monitors climate change and environmental performance using IoT data, with the aim of informing investment decisions on cities’ green spaces.
CAALA, Germany | Develops solutions to optimise carbon footprint and enable sustainable building design across the entire asset lifecycle.
City Flag, US | Citizen engagement platform and social network for city services that aims to bridge the gap between city governments and their people.
Kndrd CoLiving, US | Co-living management platform that helps agents build strong communities while increasing efficiency and profitability.
Mela Works, UK | Project and task management app that empowers field workers to collaborate and share information that can be leveraged by the company.
Pause, US | Develops medication pods and companion software for public spaces.
Speaking to PlaceTech, Van Hoof explained how supporting these startups will help Arcadis to leverage new technologies throughout its business.
He said: “For instance: One of our startups is Urban Data Eye: Data analytics on use of public space, by applying artificial intelligence on the life stream of cameras.
“In different places of our company, we are working on data analytics in the field of rail and road maintenance.
“We have several experts in different countries who are working on these topics. Bringing those kinds of people as a mentor to the new initiative can help them to accelerate in development.”