Sensibo: When A/Cs smartly adjust to people’s lifestyle

1) Uncontrolled A/C systems in transportation and public buildings is a major issue that makes daily life uncomfortable and unhealthy for many New Yorkers in the Summer. In addition, public and private air conditioning systems are energy intensive and cost a lot to customers each year.

2) Article:

  • Sensibo is a start up that commercializes climate control devices/pods, making existing remote controlled air conditioners smarter and controllable from anywhere
  • Sensibo is a small IR compatible pod that contains different sensors (temperature, humidity, iBecons, Light sensor, IR receiver) and that is fixed on existing air conditioners and connected to an app. It makes the air temperature and fan speed vary thanks to location-based activation (it turns of when you leave the room or home) or timer settings (you can cool your home before you arrive), or temperature and humidity-based A/C level optimization
  • Sensibo enables different A/C units from different types to be all controlled using one simple interface – to manage an entire building heating/cooling systems
  • The major benefits of the technology are: saving up to 40% of energy and reducing electricity bills AND enhancing thermal comfort in home or public indoor environments

3) I work for Sensibo and plan to deploy the Sensibo device in public buildings and university campus to benefit from the temperature and humidity-based A/C level optimization.

The stakeholders that will need to use the technology found are:

  • NYC Department of Buildings
  • Building owners/operators
  • Building Operation Manager in charge of Building Energy Management System (BEMS)
  • Thermal Systems Engineers
  • Sensibo

4) 3 implementation steps

  • Propose a partnership to the NYC Department of Buildings to launch a SMART A/C program throughout the city, targeting public buildings and university campus and launch pilot project on Columbia University Campus
  • Survey and report all existing remote controlled air conditioners in each of the campus’s building and facility and install the pods on each A/C unit to build a centrally controlled system at the university level
  • Measure energy cost reduction on pilot campus and expand the program citywide to other campus and city buildings and infrastructure.

IoT and Smart Lighting : using LED-based lighting to transmit data

1) In streets and public places, Wi-Fi connection is not available everywhere, often drops at irregular intervals and creates electromagnetic waves interferences and pollution.


  • Li-Fi (Light Fidelity) is a connected LED lighting solution founded by Harald Haas from the University of Edinburgh. OLEDCOMM Lize is a French company that provides smart lighting systems and devices for mobile Internet connexion through LiFi.
  • Li-Fi is a more efficient wireless alternative to Wi-Fi that enables high-speed data transmission (100 times quicker than Wi-Fi, data rate of 10-Gbps) via pulsating light source, transforming any existing private or public light network into wireless communication systems – street lamps, traffic signals, can be used to provide Li-Fi hotspots.
  • OLEDCOMM also produces the routing devices, USB keys as well as Li-Fi compatible smartphones, tablets and laptops.
  • In terms of security, Li-Fi makes hacking almost impossible (data flows circulating through visible light communication) and is useful in electromagnetic sensitive areas such as planes, hospitals, petrochemical plants where it reduces the radio electromagnetic wave pollution.
  • Since 2012, OLEDCOMM partners with the train company SNCF to settle Li-Fi in all French trains and the popular Lyon’s Festival of Light uses the potential of the technology during the event.

3) I work for OLEDCOMM Lize and plan to deploy Li-Fi in NYC subways as an answer to New Yorkers’ demand. The stakeholders that will need to use the technology found are:

  • The MTA
  • The NY DOT
  • The NYC subways’ lighting system providers
  • Mobile, tablets, laptops and other electronic devices developers
  • NYC subway and the wireless Internet users

4) 3 first implementation steps

  • Propose a partnership to the NY DOT and MTA to bring Wi-Fi in NYC subway infrastructure – cars and stations.
  • Review the different NYC subway lighting systems and replace cars’ traditional lights with Li-Fi Led bulbs. In the process, work on improving the electric system to prevent light from fluctuating when cars move.
  • In parallel, partner with personal electronics developers, especially mobile phone, to promote and spread Li-Fi devices among New Yorkers.

How the blind led Warsaw to the Internet of Things

1) The problem is an asymmetry of information in cities – between visually disabled residents and other residents, tourists and residents – which eventually makes city life more complicated for some city dwellers than others.

2) The article :

  • The Virtual Warsaw app is a $15 beacon-enabled urban navigation project developed in 2013 by Polish start-up Ifinity and the Warsaw Office for the Disabled
  • The smartphone app was built to help the visually impaired get around municipal offices easily and can call out a person’s queue number on their phone or read out text on municipal signs using Siri or Google Talk
  • Beacons are micro and low energy transmitters that work like a light house and send encoded information on users’ phone via Bluetooth or a radio signal.
  • In September 2014, the project placed as a finalist at the Bloomberg Mayors Challenge organized by Bloomberg Philanthropies Foundation
  • The next step is to provide other urban dwellers with contextual real-time information on public transport, indoor navigation in public buildings, and details of tourist attractions, all based on a user’s location.

3) The stakeholders that will need to use the system are:

  • Ifinity and value-added resellers to develop the app to adapt to other municipal use and maintain existing beacons
  • The City of Warsaw and other cities that might want to adopt the infrastructure to ensure smart living
  • Specific City and State Offices (ex : Tourism, Urban Planning) to identify a user need that can be solved with the app
  • Bluetooth Low Energy to ensure the efficiency and continuity of the beacon-phone transmission and to work on Bluetooth reputation and users perception
  • Any third party responsible for data storage and security

4) I work for the City of Paris Office of Technologies and Innovation

  • Study the risk/opportunity profile of a Virtual Paris project and identify potential benefits for all Parisians – resident, tourists and businesses
  • Partner with a start-up from Paris&Co incubator that will develop a tailor-made micro-localisation app for Paris
  • Contract with Ifinity to install and maintain beacons in Paris’s transportation infrastructure, streets and buildings

A Shazam-like App for plant identification to raise awareness about urban biodiversity

1) New Yorkers lack of information and awareness about their city’s plant species and scientists need help with plant location & identification to measure biodiversity loss.

2) The article :

  • LeafSnap is a mobile app, developed by Columbia University, the University of Maryland, and the Smithsonian Institution, that identifies trees species from a photograph of its leaves and provides information about its fruits, flowers, seeds and growing conditions
  • The app works with a snapshot modeled on a face-identification system like a Shazam for plants and delivers a service similar to a Monument Tracker for plants
  • Not only does the app provide information to the photographer-resident about his local green assets but it also shares the picture and location of the plant with other users and scientists that can use this data to advance their research on biodiversity
  • Constrains: the system requires photo shooting the leaf on a white piece of paper and the database only provides information about Northeast US, New York City and Washington DC’s species of trees.

3) The stakeholders that will need to use the technology found are:

  • Columbia University that can partner with NYC to promote and further develop the app
  • The NYC Department of Parks and Recreation to promote the app on their website and make it available to residents
  • All residents that will use the app to play or develop their knowledge
  • The NYC Department of Education can promote the app to middle schools and biology teachers

4) I work for one of the app developers, Columbia University

  • Build a partnership with the NYC City Parks and Garden for them to
    • promote “LeafSnap; the number one App that reconnects New Yorkers with their environment” on their website during the summer when reaches a high frequentation
    • make LeafSnap available to download
    • and integrate the LeafSnap database in the NYC Parks system
  • Measure app success through figures about the total number of downloaders during the first summer
  • Use initial success to source funding and develop a GIS for mapping tree species in NYC and making it available to the public
  • In the long-term, develop FlowerSnap, InsectsSnap and databases for other cities in the US

How adaptive traffic signals can help reduce GHG emissions?

1) Sustainability issues : Wasted fuel and money, extended commuting time, unlivable streets and related GHG emissions due to traffic congestion. It is an Energy, Health and Mobility issue.

2) Technology Article :

  • The technology is an adaptive traffic signal system called SCATS that has been deployed in the city of Bellevue, outside of Seattle. It has been first developed by the Australian Transport Roads and Maritime Services for the City of Sydney and distributed by Australian companies.
  • How does it work? The timing of the intersection signals fluctuates in real-time with traffic conditions using a series of wires embedded in city streets and boulevards
  • Benefits : The system saves drivers $9 million to $12 million annually and enables a decrease of 36% to 43% on heavily trafficked streets during rush hours!
  • State of the art : Only 3% of the nation’s traffic signals are currently adaptive, the largest number being in Los Angeles.
  • Condition : The system works in smaller cities with particular problematic corridors and prevent from widening the lane and creating a bigger infrastructure impact.

3) I work for the NYS DOT

The stakeholders that will need to use the technology found :

  • The NYS DOT will have to promote this solution
  • The Department of Transportation in smaller cities of the State of New York
  • The technology distributors and deployers
  • The New York State Sustainable Business Council might be concerned since smarter road lights will enable a more efficient, sustainable and vibrant business life in the State


  • Choose a medium size city around NYC with a specific corridor with traffic issue, partner with a SCARTS distributor and deploy the solution as a one-year pilot project on its more congested streets
  • Measure and promote the savings in fuel consumption and decrease in CO2 emissions to other medium size cities in the State AND to commuters (residents and companies) – through a state-wide PR campaign for example
  • Scale-up the initiative simultaneously in 10 new cities and celebrate results in terms of GHG emissions reduction at the state scale, translating it into quality of life net profit and households savings

Residential Energy and Water Management using Monitoring Tablets

1. The Sustainability Problem is the lack of real-time information for residents about their home energy and water consumption.

2.  Technology

Source: Energy pass, a new tool to monitor service charges in new buildings, Le

  • The Energy-Pass Tablet is an energy, water and heating monitoring tool to optimize residential consumption and lower low-income residents’ utility bills.
  • The technology is part of a broader service offer that includes residents teaching programs and maintenance services.
  • Other relevant information can be uploaded to the tablet to improve residents quality of life (public transportation schedules, weather…).
  • The technology is being tested in 54 social housing units in Paris area and this pilot project has been approved by the ADEME (French Energy Management and Environment Agency).
  • Proposed by Bouygues Bâtiments Ile-de-France (Bouygues Construction). Similar products -though web-based and energy-focused – are proposed by the Californian Agilewaves or The Energy Detective.

3. Stakeholders

  • Building owners and architects to adopt the technology and integrate the device upstream in social housing construction and budgeting process – in order to have a coherent financial and technical system at the building scale
  • Electricians for setting up, updating and maintaining the hard and software in individual home
  • Customers-residents to use the monitoring device daily and keep track of their consumptions in order to change their habits and reduce their utility costs
  • The technology seller, Bouygues Ile de France: to teach customers how to use the tablet, propose updates and collect customer feedback (directly from the tablet for example)
  • Energy and water suppliers are indirect stakeholders that might experience a decrease in demand due to an efficient use of the tablet. They could also collect consumption information directly from the tablet

4. Deployment steps

NB : the technology being currently tested, the 3 steps start from the real stage of the technology deployment

1 – Collect customer feedback on tablets and services and actual consumption reduction data from the pilot project; then improve the technology soft and hardware accordingly.

2- Communicate on successes to convince major social landlords and architects to partner, in France and internationally, so the technology becomes a must-have in social housing offers (before making it a legal requirement).

3 –Scale it up to other uses:

  • other new buildings (beyond low income housing)
  • existing buildings (during retrofitting operations)
  • commercial buildings (part of employee awareness)