This post is part of our Future of Smart Cities series in which we interview the leading founders and executives who are on the front lines of the industry to get a better understanding of what problems the industry is facing, what trends are taking place, and what the future looks like.
1. What’s the history of eLichens? Where and how did you begin?
MA: While I was living in Asia, the idea of the company eLichens was crystallized in late 2013, with a creation at the end of 2014. The name was chosen for the properties of some lichens as bio-indicators of pollution.
From its genesis, eLichens has the objective of addressing the individual citizen needs of understanding, monitoring and forecasting air quality. Wahid Issa and I, the founding team by our past experience, had a similar successful activity in our previous startup, related to physical activity and sleep quality of people by measuring their movements. eLichens activities will complement that experience by objectifying the last of the four major pillars of “aging well”:
– Sport: Regular physical activity
– Sleep: Ensure good quality sleep
– Food: Eat well
– Environment: Breathing clean air
Our strategy is to associate technological breakthroughs to monitor air quality.
2. What specific problem does eLichens solve? How do you solve it?
MA: Air pollution is now affecting nearly all of us; million deaths are associated with air pollution. We know that even if actions are taken to improve the situation, it takes several years to measure their impact. There is currently a real need among citizens to understand how to live in an environment which pollution is making more and more hostile to good health and wellbeing.
At eLichens, we have developed a highly-optimized, quick-to-deploy and high-resolution platform for analysis and prediction of hyper-local air quality for Smart Cities. eLichens’s platform is powered by the Best in Class gas dispersion model, and our patented cost-effective smart sensor stations network.
Our turn-key solution provides relevant air quality services (pollution monitoring, gas leak detection, etc.) that are both spatial & temporal and introduce a set of inputs that favor the decision making processes for individuals, communities and government agencies in an eco-aware environment.
3. What’s the future of smart cities?
MA: Today, more than half of the population live in cities. Given their very high urban population growth, cities face many issues: transportation, treatment of water and waste, housing, pollution, and so on.
The city of tomorrow will need to be adapted to the requirements of the present while preserving resources for the future. Connected, autonomous and eco-aware, the smart city will have to solve the equation of improving the comfort of its inhabitants, providing more efficient transportation, and respecting the environment.
4. What are the top 3 technology trends shaping cities of the future?
MA: I see technology trends based on creating new hyper-local streams between citizens and, among their cities, the citizen will be in the center of the city of tomorrow.
Thus, the city will be built according to their concerns and will provide better health, soft modes of transport, short circuits for food, better air quality, more security, leisure and housing, the creation of local and sustainable jobs, and much more.
The city of tomorrow will be rebuilt around the needs of its population, a people which is no longer considered as consumers of services but as partners and stakeholders in its development.
Resulting of this reconstruction, the top 3 technology trends that will shape cities of the future are…
Trend #1: Blockchain technology to facilitate secure transactions between citizens.
Trend #2: Hyper-local services like the air quality monitoring and forecasting at the citizen level and…
Trend #3: Electric or hybrid eco-aware transportation modes.
About Marc Attia
Marc has over 25 years of technology marketing & business development experiences and a track record of bringing high-tech innovations quickly to the market.
Marc has spent his career in the computer graphics and high-tech industries after attaining a Masters in Business Management from IAE-Aix-en-Provence, France. He was co-founder and VP of Sales for Movea until its acquisition by Invensense.
He created eLichens with Wahid Issa in 2014, and Marc is currently the CMO for eLichens, based in San Francisco.