IA and Big Data: Village By CA presents its three winners

A few weeks ago, we relayed the call for applications from our partner Village By CA Nord de France. Now that the recruitment campaign is over, it’s time to talk about the winners. Two of the three lucky winners wish to fully participate in the introduction of tomorrow’s transport systems, while the last one puts the IoT and Big Data at the service of beekeepers.

The Village By CA Nord de France announced on September 26th the winners of its call for nominations IA and Big Data. Located in Lille, the Village launched this recruitment campaign on 1 June 2018.

Village By CA Nord de France welcomes three new startups

The theme of this campaign was none other than ” Artificial Intelligence and Big Data at the service of tomorrow’s challenges”.. Supported by its 24 partners, including Microsoft, Village By Ca Nord de France has selected three startups from the eight pre-selected carriers based on two challenges: transport and the city of tomorrow, and connected beekeeping.

When we talk about the transport of tomorrowit’s not just about the deployment of the autonomous car. Citymagine and We Breathe are two startups that offer related and complementary solutions to the future of the automobile, while Hostabee is transforming beekeeping through IoT and analytics.

Citymagine: intelligent road maintenance at 360 degrees

Citymagine is a startup located at Euratechnologies in Lille. It was founded by two serial entrepreneurs, Matthieu Levivier and José Costa. Founder of Giroptic, the latter is one of the first to have developed and focused a 360-degree camera. The meeting of the two men sparked a spark. Together, they used José Costa’s expertise to propose a pragmatic solution to a complex problem for motorway managers.

“Road maintenance costs about €15 billion a year. Despite this colossal sum, more than 1,500 people die every year in France because of their poor condition,” says Matthieu Levivier. “We are developing a tool that must change the methods of road infrastructure maintenance. Today, all the companies involved in road maintenance practice curative maintenance. We are committed to a preventive approach.”

This tool is based on three technologies designed in collaboration with CEA Tech. First of all, Citymagine installs a 360-degree camera on a standard vehicle. This one acquires data at the speed of the road traffic. A layer of artificial intelligence and more precisely computer vision allows to analyze the video flows looking for objects (road signs, direction signs, road markings, railings, etc.) in post-processing. Finally, the aim is to make “the information readable, intelligible and easy to handle by maintenance operators,” says Matthieu Levivier.

By combining these technologies, Citymagine strongly wants to Reduce the number of errors in records from 5-10% to 1. How? By combining the capabilities of its proprietary computer vision algorithm with human verification. With its vehicles, Citymagine has already covered more than 10,110 kilometres on the road networks of France. It has counted more than 5 million objects (equipment, markings, etc.). It works in particular with motorway managers in the Nord Pas de Calais region and has around ten customers who hope to optimise their maintenance expenditure.

In the near future, Citymagine intends to facilitate the introduction of autonomous vehicles. “Most autonomous driving systems use road markings to position a vehicle. Without road markings, it will lose its bearings,” says the co-founder of the startup. “There is a real challenge in terms of safety, mobility, ecology and economic development. We want to prepare the roads for the arrival of autonomous vehicles”.

Now the question arises: why participate in the Village By Ca’s call for applications? Matthieu Levivier answers: “Crédit Agricole is France’s leading bank, it has a local presence and knows local communities well. It made sense for us to take part in this call for projects around AI in order to benefit from this network. We hope to take advantage of contacts with these players: companies, authorities and elected representatives. The other advantage for Citymagine, the locals. The Village By CA offers “a flexibility of the square meter that allows a startup to recruit quickly, but also to set up wherever the Village is located”.

We Breathe: improving passenger comfort with AI

Let’s now move on to the second winning startup in the IA and Big Data call for entries, which is striving to modernizing public transport. Founded in April 2018, We Breathe is an offshoot of Wenius, an engineering firm specializing in railway engineering. It helps SNCF Réseaux to modernise its infrastructure, energy management and passenger comfort.

It is in the last mentioned theme that We Breathe, a startup involved in the intelligent people flow management. According to Nasrédine Chenoufi, the founder of both companies: “Today, no one is really able to know in real time how many people are in a given place, space or transport.”

This is a major problem because it causes huge congestion on public transport and long queues in shops. “We are helping operators and transport companies to manage these flows in order to fluidify the user experience“, says Nasrédine Chenoufi.

To do this, Wenius has developed a hardware and software solution that allows to Accurately count incoming and outgoing persons in a given space. The startup uses 3D cameras placed at the doors to locate passers-by.

On top of this hardware layer, We Breathe adds a software layer in SaaS mode. This enables applications to be offered for different verticals. In particular, Wenius develops a dashboard that synchronizes the data corresponding to the fill rates of a bus with geolocation elements.

“We are capable to indicate very precisely the number of individuals on a bus. We display the filling level of this vehicle and indicate where it is located”, says We Breathe’s CEO.

By adding presence sensors in waiting areas, this allows carriers such as Transdev or Keolis to act on the use and loading of their vehicles. A vehicle can speed up the service by communicating with the empty shelters. On the contrary, knowing that a stop is very busy or that a problem has occurred on the line, the carrier can charter an additional vehicle and thus improve user comfort. “Our solution is first and foremost to match supply with demand,” says Nasrédine Chenoufi.

In addition, the solution can be adapted to metro lines, trains and shops. Each time, it is a question of finding the best possible solution to make the user experience more fluid: increasing the speed of the metro, adding wagons to the trains, chartering a vehicle or proposing an alternative route in the event of an accident, or opening an additional checkout in a store depending on the number of passengers.

WeBreathe advocates the scalability of its solution “We hope to use our technology to become a player in the smart city. Tomorrow, an autonomous bus can be managed automatically with this solution because we will have provided data and decision support,” says We Breathe’s CEO.

In the pursuit of its ambitions, We Breathe believes that Village By CA is an ideal ecosystem. “What we are interested in is the mature ecosystem that the village represents in terms of accompanimentin terms of partnership and network. This opens doors that would probably have remained closed if we had not applied for the IA and Big Data call from Village By CA Nord de France. Finally, it makes it easier to do business and support a company’s strategy”.

Hostabee: beekeeping in the age of analytics and IoT

Settled in the Aisne, Hostabee is the third and final winner… of the Village By CA Nord de France call for candidates. After its three and a half years of existence, two times at the CES, it does not have the same needs as its congeners.

The company has developed two connected modules for beekeepers. The first one, B-Keep, can be installed on a frame or between two hive frames and is sold for 96 euros. This sensor collects temperature and humidity data from the hives. The second product is called B Swarm, is equipped with a GPS and is sold for 135 euros. It is designed to fight against hive theft. Hostabee has deployed 1,000 devices in a dozen countries, including Germany, France, the United Kingdom and the United States.

B-Keep and B-Swarm connect in sigfox or Lora to an associated web application. It allows to record the history of the hive. With the hive life monitoring tool, the data collected from the frames are linked to the weather records of the nearest station. According to Maxime Mularz, founder of the company, “this allows us to obtain two signatures on the resumption and cessation of the queen’s egg-laying, as well as the colony’s ability to maintain a temperature of 33 degrees in the hive”.

These data are visible from a dashboard on the web application on a computer or mobile phone. L’beekeeper can set up alerts there. in the event of a rise or fall in temperature and humidity.

That’s just the beginning. “The end is to have a predictive mode in order to be able to know if a colony will spend the winter. In which case the beekeeper can take the decision to divide the swarm in two,” says Maxime Mularz. “It also means getting more out of the data collected through these two sensors.

“What we’re looking for are skills. We’ve got a lot of data from hives around the world, now we need integrate the analytical and predictive part of our solution. We need to move from simple graphing to Big Data and AI,” said Hostabee’s CEO.

At the moment Hostabee is exploring the possibilities of TensorFlow, exploiting the tools of Craft AI, but needs more experience to industrialize its solution for large bee farms of over 1,000 hives. “Now we have to set everything to music,” says Maxime Mularz. Hostabee hopes to deploy a first basic version of its analytics-driven solution as early as March 2019.

It is for this reason that Hostabee has responded to the call for applications from the Village by Ca Nord de France. Thanks to the proximity of Euratechnologies and the Village, the startup will be able to discover the work of startups specialising in AI and Big data which will probably help it to achieve its goal. The second important point for Maxime Mularz, “the network aspect of the Village”. “It’s really about to identify possible partnerships via the startups present in the network that can help us go into production”.

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