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From beer taps to mobile apps

From beer taps to mobile apps

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From beer taps to mobile apps

Israeli start-up Weissbeerger Ltd. Has developed a product that enables bars and pubs to save money, boost beer revenue, and better manage the supply chain. The alcohol monitoring system that utilizes real-time data to reveal consumption statistics and trends promises a reduction of 7-12% in waste and 5-80% increase in consumption per user. The system dispenses reports to customers via a simple and user-friendly app that covers a range of data including the amount of beer drunk in a given period of time. A publican does not have to be present behind the bar, he simply looks at the app on his iPad. The product's first version allowed customers to pour their own beer and pay per liter, rather than by the number of glasses. This important gimmick allowed customers to pour themselves a small amount of chilled beer at any time, ensuring they never had to contend with warm beer. "This idea," says Agiv, "increased bar sales and led to the creation of our system which today provides automated monitoring of consumption at bars." "We reinvented the beer tap," says Weissbeerger CEO Omer Agiv. "We make simple taps smart which helps the business improve its consumption through learning. In contrast to today's standard where publicans can only get data manually or through focus groups and studies by brand managers, we do this remotely in real time, sending the data to the brewery so the brand manager can know how many customers drink its beers, and how to promote sales. The jewel in the crown is the possibility of analyzing the data for bars to provide incentives at certain times to boost sales." Weissbeerger's product is already installed at many pubs in Tel Aviv and the company is in cooperation talks with German and Danish breweries. It recently won global recognition for its analytics dashboard at the SAP HANA Start-up Challenge, where Weissbeerger was one of four finalists for most innovative company. The company has eight employees, and an advisor - Rob Keve, and Englishman who founded Fizzback Ltd., which NICE Systems Ltd acquired for $80 million in 2011. Weissbeerger  has raised almost $1 million from LH Finance and private investors Dmitry Shpernovitz, Max Godin, Michael Lewkowicz, Fingerer and Levintin. With a new financing round to look forward to, Weissbeerger hopes to raise more than $1 million. For the full Globes article click here  

Israel Trade & Economic Office, Embassy of Israel

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The Chief Scientist’s Office has chosen three Israeli start-ups as the best incubator graduates of 2013

The Chief Scientist’s Office has chosen three Israeli start-ups as the best incubator graduates of 2013

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The Chief Scientist’s Office has chosen three Israeli start-ups as the best incubator graduates of 2013

The awards were given last week for the quality of each company’s offerings and their commercial potential, as well as for the manner in which they progressed from early stage start-up to becoming ready for

Israel Trade & Economic Office, Embassy of Israel

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Cisco chooses Israel for investment and development of the digital future

Cisco chooses Israel for investment and development of the digital future

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Cisco chooses Israel for investment and development of the digital future

Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers, envisions a digital future where “Internet of Things” is a big deal, and he has chosen Israel as his playground “This is where the real revolution is taking place, and we are supplying the architecture for it" (timesofIsrael). The “digital nation” experiment, as defined by John Chambers will kick off with the installation of Israel's FTTH infrastructure and network by ViaEuropa consortium, and will be based on Cisco technology. ViaEuropa has been chosen to build a super-fast Internet network across Israel that will compete with existing phone and cable companies (Ynet). For Chambers, what happens in Israel over the next five or so years as the network is installed and deployed is a “test case” for the rest of the world. “Some will make it in the digital age, and some won’t. We believe that Israel is a good place to start.” Chambers trusts Israel so much, he said, that he sees it as a great place to invest the $40 billion in cash that the company is sitting on. Cisco already has about 2,000 employees in Israel and has acquired several Israeli companies totaling over $1.5 billion over the past 15 years, excluding the $5 billion it paid for NDS. Cisco is also investing $15 million in “support integration of Israelis and Arabs and the development of innovative security technologies.” The money will be invested via venture capital funds, a Cisco representative said, with most of the money geared to cyber-security start-ups. During his visit to Israel last week, Chambers addressed Israel's place in his vision "If I were an Israeli start-up, this is where I would want to be.” Chambers continues to praise Israel “world-class countries and companies don’t lose focus, and I am sure we will all keep the momentum going. This is what we are about, and that is what Israel is about.” (timesofIsrael). Cisco is not the only tech company that sees opportunity in "Internet of things" as more people, systems and devices get connected. Everyone from system makers like IBM and Hewlett-Packard to chip vendors like Intel and ARM has talked about the Internet of Things, and are offering products designed to better enable it (eweek). For the full Times of Israel article click here. For the full eweek article click here. For the full Ynet article click here.    

Israel Trade & Economic Office, Embassy of Israel

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Israel’s Orcam helps the blind to “read”

Israel’s Orcam helps the blind to “read”

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Israel’s Orcam helps the blind to “read”

There are a number of Israeli companies doing breakthrough research in Artificial Intelligence, research that brings almost futuristic benefits to real people.  The New York Times just covered one such company - Orcam.  Here are excerpts of what John Markoff at the New York Times had to say about it: Liat Negrin, an Israeli who has been visually impaired since childhood, walked into a grocery store here recently, picked up a can of vegetables and easily read its label using a simple and unobtrusive camera attached to her glasses. Ms. Negrin, who has coloboma, a birth defect that perforates a structure of the eye and afflicts about 1 in 10,000 people, is an employee at OrCam, an Israeli start-up that has developed a camera-based system intended to give the visually impaired the ability to both “read” easily and move freely. Until now reading aids for the visually impaired and the blind have been cumbersome devices that recognize text in restricted environments, or, more recently, have been software applications on smartphones that have limited capabilities. In contrast, the OrCam device is a small camera worn in the style of Google Glass, connected by a thin cable to a portable computer designed to fit in the wearer’s pocket. The system clips on to the wearer’s glasses with a small magnet and uses a bone-conduction speaker to offer clear speech as it reads aloud the words or object pointed to by the user. The system is designed to both recognize and speak “text in the wild,” a term used to describe newspaper articles as well as bus numbers, and objects as diverse as landmarks, traffic lights and the faces of friends. It currently recognizes English-language text and beginning this week will be sold through the company’s Web site for $2,500, about the cost of a midrange hearing aid. It is the only product, so far, of the privately held company, which is part of the high-tech boom in Israel. OrCam was founded several years ago by Amnon Shashua, a well-known researcher who is a computer science professor at Hebrew University here. It is based on computer vision algorithms that he has pioneered with another faculty member, Shai Shalev-Shwartz, and one of his former graduate students, Yonatan Wexler. “What is remarkable is that the device learns from the user to recognize a new product,” said Tomaso Poggio, a computer scientist at M.I.T. who is a computer vision expert and with whom Dr. Shashua studied as a graduate student. “This is more complex than it appears, and, as an expert, I find it really impressive.” The advance is the result of both rapidly improving computing processing power that can now be carried comfortably in a wearer’s pocket and the computer vision algorithm developed by the scientists. On a broader technology level, the OrCam system is representative of a wide range of rapid improvements being made in the field of artificial intelligence, in particular with vision systems for manufacturing as well as fields like autonomous motor vehicles. (Dr. Shashua previously founded Mobileye, a corporation that supplies camera technology to the automobile industry that can recognize objects like pedestrians and bicyclists and can keep a car in a lane on a freeway.) Check out this demo of how Orcam's product works: [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykDDxWbt5Nw[/youtube] For the full New York Times article click here.

Israel Trade & Economic Office, Embassy of Israel

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Israeli companies at TechCrunch Disrupt NY

Israeli companies at TechCrunch Disrupt NY

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Israeli companies at TechCrunch Disrupt NYIn the last few years, TechCrunch Disrupt has developed into one of the most anticipated hackathons-cum-tech-startup events in New York. Israel was the first country to set up a national pavilion at Disrupt, an...
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A new era in transportation? The buzz around Phinergy

A new era in transportation? The buzz around Phinergy

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A new era in transportation? The buzz around Phinergy

The worldwide buzz around the revolutionary aluminum-air battery of the Israeli-based technology company Phinergy is reaching new peaks. Even president Obama had the chance to view the technology during his visit to Israel.

Phinergy has created a car battery that powers an electric vehicle for as long as 1,000 miles (1600 km) before needing a recharge. The Company’s  Aluminum-Air battery system has been successfully integrated into an electric vehicle resulting in more than three times the driving range of current EVs.

Aluminum is a widely available metal that is easily recycled and contains high amounts of energy (8 kilowatt-hours per kilogram).  Today, Phinergy’s Aluminum-Air battery is using air and water to unleash the vast energy stored in aluminum. The air is breathed in by a proprietary membrane – the air electrode – and the water is filled into a tank by the user, creating a holistic system that enables an Electric Vehicle to drive without having to stop other than to refuel with water every few hundred kilometers.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240"] President Obama checks out Phinergy[/caption]

President Obama had the chance to view Phinergy's technology, among other Israeli innovative companies and technologies, during his recent visit to Israel.

Phinergy, which has been operating in stealth mode during the last few years, first publicly announced its achievements at the Israel Dealmakers Summit that was held in New York last March, in a panel chaired by Mr. Oded Distel, Head of Invest in Israel and Israel NewTech.

"I believe aluminum will become the next major sustainable energy source thanks to metal-air technology," said Mr. Aviv Tzidon, Phinergy's Chairman & CEO.

"Phinergy is a current example of an Israeli-based technology that has the potential to create real impact on the global energy and transportation arenas," says Oded Distel. "We were in close contact with Phinergy during their ‘stealth years’ and knew that something very promising is going on over there. I feel very confident saying that during the next few months some more Israeli companies that have been developing technologies ‘under the radar’ will come out".

For the full article go to the Israel NewTech blog.

Israel Trade & Economic Office, Embassy of Israel

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The Technion – Israel’s Hard Drive

The Technion – Israel’s Hard Drive

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The Technion – Israel’s Hard Drive

The most ambitious project in the sphere of technology studies, and perhaps in all of higher education, in the world is being planned, and Israel's leading technology institute, the Technion, is playing a major role in it.

Cornell and the Technion together won the prize in Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s contest to create a new science school.  According to the Technion,The Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute (TCII) is a joint venture of Technion and Cornell University, and will be a key component of the new Cornell NYC Tech campus, a unique high-tech graduate school to be established on Roosevelt Island in New York City. As conceived by Mayor Bloomberg, the goal of the entire NYC Tech campus - and the TCII within it - is to turn NYC into the high-tech capital of the world.Even though the sprawling Cornell NYC Tech campus on Roosevelt Island is still 25 years away, the New York Times recently reported that the first program is already up and running. Eight students enrolled in January in what is being called the beta class, a one-year master’s program in computer science.

Perhaps in light of this exciting project on the horizon in New York, the Times recently covered the Technion and tried to understand what is the "magic formula" which makes the Technion such a phenomenon:

“I can say without exaggeration that Israel could not have been built without the Technion,” says Yossi Vardi, who has founded or helped build more than 60 companies in Israel and has five degrees from the Technion. “There is a Technion graduate behind practically every highway, desalinization plant, new missile technology and start-up company in the country.”

This is not mere school spirit talking. According to Shlomo Maital, senior research fellow at the Samuel Neaman Institute for Advanced Studies in Science and Technology, a fourth of the university’s 60,000 alumni who are of working age have, at one time or another, initiated a business, and a fourth are C.E.O.’s or vice presidents. The annual output of graduates in high-tech industries is estimated to be at least $21 billion. Among inventions from Technion research labs: the memory stick, drip irrigation, the Parkinson’s drug rasagiline, the iron dome air defense system and instant messaging.

What stand behind the success is being debated, it could be the fact that Israeli students come out of their military service, making them more mature, it could be the "Jewish Mother" effect, or simply excellence in education.  Whatever it is, New York's Bloomberg hopes that the Cornell NYC Tech will do for the city what the Technion has done for Haifa, and for Israel's hi-tech industry as a whole.

For the full New York Times article click here.

Israel Trade & Economic Office, Embassy of Israel

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