Startup Streetline Wins First IBM SmartCamp Innovation Award
Business people will attest to the fact that when you're in a time crunch,
there are few things more important than finding a parking place-preferably an
inexpensive one-when you really need it.
Well, IBM thinks that solving that problem is important enough to award its highest honor for innovation to a California-based startup, Streetline, which does exactly that.
Big Blue on Nov. 18 named Streetline the winner of its Global Entrepreneur of the Year award. The finals of the international IBM SmartCamps competition were held in Dublin, where the company has a large development and manufacturing facility.
This is like the "American Idol" competition of IT innovation. Streetline was selected from more than 600 SmartCamp candidates worldwide during a competition that lasted several months.
It's been said that innovation usually happens elsewhere. Well, IBM is making sure that it finds the innovators before they get discovered by somebody else. Through the SmartCamps competition, IBM folks take a lot of notes and get sneak previews on a number of new ideas.
Streetline was the one that caught the most attention in this first competition. The company uses sensor- and GPS-based software that allows drivers to find inexpensive parking fast. At the same time, its Smarter Cities product helps cities large and small manage their parking resources more efficiently as more vehicles show up on the streets.
"With our smart sensors, we can dramatically reduce the amount of drivers' time looking for parking, and improve the efficiency of a city's traffic and parking network," said Zia Yusuf, president and chief executive officer of Streetline.
"Smarter Cities will change how people work and live. Parking sensors are only the first step, and we look forward to working with IBM to help make cities 'smarter.'"
SmartCamps, which are part of IBM's Global Entrepreneur initiative, bring together startups from around the world with new ideas to tackle some of the world's most pressing issues, such as the environment, energy efficiency, traffic congestion and personalized health care.
Companies that make it through to the SmartCamp World Finals receive mentoring, access to industry experts and technology, and deeper partnership opportunities from IBM, venture capital firms and industry partners.