July 17, 2018
A new government initiative will allocate some NIS 2.5 million ($689,000) to a national program to help make cities in Israel and around the world smarter.
The program, called CITYZOOM — Smart cities in Israel, aims to create a local ecosystem that will encourage entrepreneurs to address the problems that haunt cities, from cybersecurity threats to traffic jams and smart parking. At the center of the program will be a database that will match local authorities with startups and companies that have technologies that can address their issues.
The database will include issues experienced by other cities, including Chicago, London, New York and Barcelona, a statement announcing the initiative said.
The program will aim to boost the number of startups whose technology can help run cities, for example those operating in the fields of big data, WiFi infrastructure, cybersecurity, search-and-rescue technologies, smart parking, services for residents and senior citizens, and precision agriculture for city spaces.
Israel has not reached its potential in technologies that can help create smart cities, the backers of the initiative — including the Economy and Industry Ministry, the Interior Ministry and the Social Equality Ministry — said in the statement.
The reason for this is the large number (255) of small local authorities, which each deal with multiple government ministries, making it difficult to implement a long-term municipal policy. Tech entrepreneurs are deterred by the bureaucracy.