Cities

Can Israel Be the Tech Capital for the Next Five Billion?

In partnership with Campus Tel Aviv (powered by Google Entrepreneurs), Techonomy will facilitate a series of conversations on June 5th in Tel Aviv about Israel's emerging role as a tech superpower. The two-hour event will begin with a talk by Techonomy's David Kirkpatrick, followed by a panel discussion entitled "Can Israel Be the Tech Capital for the Next Five Billion?" The panel will include Israeli innovation experts Yosi Abramowitz of Energiya Global Capital, TheMarker's Guy Rolnik, GetTaxi's Shahar Waiser, and Yahal Zilka of Magma VC. Kirkpatrick will moderate the discussion.   More

Business Cities

New Yorkers Can Now Hail Yellow Cabs with an App

New York City’s yellow taxi riders can now legally hail a cab with a smartphone app. Tuesday evening, San Francisco-based Uber announced that its cab hailing services were approved for use throughout the city, a move that positions Uber as the first and only cab-hailing app currently approved for use in New York. This follows a recent dismissal of a lawsuit filed by the livery car industry in New York, which opened the doors for app makers to offer electronic hailing of taxicabs throughout the city, a service Uber initially began testing last fall.   More

Business Cities

From the Model T to P2P: How Automotive Innovation is Changing Detroit (Again)

San Francisco's Uber has turned the limo and cab industry upside down by offering a car service that books rides on demand from smartphones. Users can request vehicles and complete transactions entirely through a mobile app. This method creates efficiencies that don't exist in traditional limo/cab offerings: upon request for a vehicle, the app sends the picture, name, and direct contact number of your driver to your smartphone. GPS enables real-time tracking as the driver approaches your pickup location, and upon reaching your destination, payment is automatically processed (gratuity included) through the app. In short, Uber has radically streamlined the customer experience for both driver and passenger.   More

Cities Security & Privacy

Now, Everybody’s an Investigator

As the real-time manhunt continues in Boston—with the city on lockdown and one suspect still at large—we’re witnessing a profound shift in the role of the crowd. Since the Boston Marathon attacks on Monday, the public has been asked for by law enforcement officials, and taken it upon themselves, to help solve the crime. Having a plethora of evidence from a variety of sources—photos, video, and eyewitness accounts—has been key in the effort to apprehend the perpetrators. But where it gets hazy is when the public, emboldened on sites like Reddit and 4Chan Think Tank, becomes judge and jury, and ends up wrongly implicating lookalikes.   More

Cities

Rock-Bottom Real Estate Creates Opportunity in Detroit

Jerry Paffendorf and Dan Gilbert have radically different visions of urban renewal, but both seek to leverage the depressed Detroit real-estate market to spur entrepreneurship and opportunity. Paffendorf, a refugee from the Silicon Valley startup scene, created a website called "Why Don't We Own This?" which offers prospective buyers an information-rich online map of auction property. The idea behind the site is to encourage innovators to buy and renovate inexpensive properties to use for creative or entrepreneurial endeavors.   More

Cities Security & Privacy

Investigators Will Crowdsource Clues to Boston Attack

Tracking down the perpetrators of Monday's Boston Marathon bombing will depend in part on determining the techniques they used, an aspect of the investigation that will rely heavily on evidence gathered from videos and photos of the crime scene. The New Yorker's Paige Williams spoke with former crime-scene analyst and Boston University School of Medicine instructor Adam B. Hall about the types of clues investigators will be looking for, and why. Forensic chemistry, explains Hall, lets investigators put together chemical evidence in crimes that involve drugs, arson, and explosives. To learn about the devices used in the Boston attack, Hall says investigators will be collecting every piece of evidence they can.   More

Cities Security & Privacy

Google’s Person Finder Launched Moments After Boston Explosions

Within moments of the explosions at the finish line of the Boson Marathon today, Google put its Person Finder into action to help friends and family locate loved ones who might have been affected and were unreachable by cell phone. At 7:00 pm, the app was tracking about 3,000 records.   More

Cities Global Tech

Alibaba, Baidu Invest in Chinese Taxi Apps

The rapid rise of location-based services (LBS) on the Internet is spawning a new generation of start-up companies, with taxi finders one of the latest to join the trend. Such apps use GPS technology to create services that rely on a person’s location, such as helping that person to find nearby restaurants or shops. Just this week a friend was telling me about one such new LBS to help frustrated consumers find taxis, and now we’re reading about two other companies that are moving onto the investor radar with their own new tie-ups.   More

Cities

How Government Helped Turn Portland Entrepreneurial

In 1973, Oregon Governor Tom McCall established growth management legislation that has profoundly affected the evolution of Portland, its largest city. Now Portland is a boiling pot of collaboration, innovation, and entrepreneurship, nestled in a backdrop of lush green. This picture could have looked much different if the city’s urban renewal and economic development agency, Portland Development Commission (PDC), hadn’t pushed entrepreneurialism. After Portland adopted plans to contain urban sprawl, the government used taxpayer dollars to make existing infrastructure more efficient, livable, and business friendly.   More

Cities Global Tech

Shanghai Street View: Toilet Technology

China’s economic miracle has captured global headlines for much of the last 30 years, but a much quieter revolution has also taken place in that time at the nation’s toilets. As China’s leading commercial center, Shanghai has been at the edge of this quieter revolution, which has just flushed past another milestone with the announcement of a new mobile app to help people locate the nearest public toilet. The new app uses GPS technology to locate the nearest of 8,000 public toilets now operating in Shanghai for users who feel the call of nature while walking around or driving outside.   More

Cities

Venture for America Cultivates Detroit’s Innovation Greenfield

Following our first Techonomy Detroit conference last fall, we profiled Venture for America, a program that places young tech entrepreneurs at start-ups throughout the country, targeting cities like Detroit, New Orleans, and Las Vegas that are still grappling with economic recovery. We also profiled an innovative Detroit startup called Are You a Human, which offers a secure and entertaining alternative to CAPTCHA authentication technology, designed to verify that someone using a website is a real persona and not a robot with bad intentions. Max Nussenbaum, a Venture for America fellow who was placed by the program at Are You a Human, was among several VfA fellows who attended Techonomy Detroit. In his Huffington Post blog about his experiences in Detroit, Nussenbaum argues that the city is a greenfield for innovation and experimentation.   More

Cities Opinion

Shanghai Street View: Garbage Disposal

What started as local news of hundreds of dead pigs found floating in Shanghai's Huangpu River has suddenly morphed into a major story, captivating global audiences with its graphic images and air of mystery about where the corpses came from. The news has now traveled to much of the world, including the U.S. city of Denver, prompting even my brother to take notice and send me an email warning not to drink the Shanghai tap water.   More

Detroit 12 Cities Video

Why I Believe in Detroit

Four Detroiters share perspectives on life and work in their city, and where Detroit may be in 10 years. Full transcript below. Riley: How are you doing? I don’t know if you know this about Detroit, but if somebody asks how you’re doing or they ask how your mama is, you have to be a […]   More

Cities

A SimCity for Analyzing Urban Efficiency

New York University's new Center for Urban Science and Progress is launching an initiative to develop sensor and data-crunching technologies aimed at creating a smarter, more efficient city. With partners including I.B.M., Cisco, Xerox, and the New York City government, the center will research and deploy the kind of smart-city technologies already being implemented in cities like Stockhom and Singapore to better manage urban infrastructure, with an emphasis on quality-of-life improvements like noise reduction and traffic abatement.   More

Cities Jobs

Big Data Could Mean Big Jobs for Cleveland Area

Last year, Techonomy held a one-day conference in Detroit to tackle the issues of jobs, urban revival, and U.S. competitiveness in the global economy. While Detroit continues its road to recovery, thanks in part to a burgeoning tech startup scene nurtured by investors like Detroit Venture Partners and entrepreneurship accelerators like Bizdom, another Midwestern city afflicted by the loss of manufacturing jobs is also mounting a tech-enabled recovery. In Cleveland, Ohio, companies like Explorys, which helps healthcare systems manage and analyze their data, are helping to put the city on the map as a locus for quality jobs in the tech sector.   More

Cities Startup Culture

Portland’s Startup Renaissance

People have come and gone from Portland, Ore., but in the past decade more have come and stayed. Today, Portland is seeing a startup renaissance, made more apparent by this month’s Portland Digital eXperience and XOXO Conference. The city has become a forum where people share ideas they hope could redefine the local economy in the next 5-10 years.   More

Business Cities

Friedman vs. Florida, or How to Thrive in a World Both Flat and Spiky

The regional effect of technological advancement and globalization is a widely studied and hotly contested topic. Thomas Friedman’s renowned book, The World is Flat, argues that globalization and technological advancement have leveled the playing field in terms of commerce—that location is less and less important. These technologies, Friedman writes, have contributed to the meteoric rise of the Indian and Chinese middle class and will continue to decrease barriers to international flows of goods and knowledge.   More

Cities

Reimagining Detroit

Where most of us see abandoned lots and vacant buildings, Jerry Paffendorf sees a blank canvas. Paffendorf drove me around Detroit when I was there last week for the Techonomy conference. In the video above (shot and edited on my iPad, thank you very much), he takes me on a tour of Detroit, land use, and Chia houses. During this tour, he explains how he thinks the Internet, data, and crowdfunding can help not just reimagine Detroit, but redevelop it.   More

Cities

Ghosts Of Detroit

What draws creative types to Detroit? It's all the possibilities. I got a tour of the city yesterday from Jerry Paffendorf, a local resident and entrepreneur I met on Twitter. Paffendorf is the co-founder of Loveland Technologies, a startup with grand ambitions to help citizens reclaim their neighborhoods and redevelop plots of land. In the video above, he explains why he left New York City and Silicon Valley for Detroit.   More

Business Cities

Why Techonomy Detroit?

People keep asking, "Why are you doing a Techonomy conference in Detroit?" We're known for our invite-only annual retreat in the desert near Tucson. So why, you may wonder, is our first one-day event in a gritty, depressed, financially-troubled city that seems well past its glory?   More