Written by: Jacob Bassiri from our Economic & Trade Mission in New York.
Despite unprecedented restrictions due to COVID-19, the global economy continues to deliver consumer and industrial products to sustain the needs and wants of the global population. The acceleration of digital transformation has promoted economic resilience across all sectors including food, housing, furniture, home appliances, water, energy, consumer electronics, media and much more. According to a recent IMF study, “In areas where firms adopted more IT the unemployment rate rose less in response to social distancing.” In this context, Israeli innovation has played a role in helping the global economy adapt to changing circumstances.
According to Startup Nation Central there are over 250 companies in the Industry 4.0 sector that provide services within cybersecurity, infrastructure, supply chain & logistics, energy optimization, 3D printing, robotics, real estate, food, quality and yield improvement, predictive analytics, sensors, artificial intelligence, security, AR/VR and others.
Two Israeli companies with automated warehouse fulfillment solutions are Caja Robotics & Fabric. They have experienced a spike in demand due to the contact-less nature of their solutions. As consumers expect faster delivery, it also pays to have product stocked at fulfillment centers that are closer to the end customer. Retailers also find it convenient to automate the logistical and packaging responses to high e-commerce order demand. Even the real estate sector is paying attention, as landlords see the potential to convert empty retail locations into attractive micro-fulfillment centers.
In a more industrial segment of the economy, “digital twins” has emerged as a buzz word to help monitor and inspect everything from utility substations, to large buildings, and even bridges. Pixtier and Rapida Sensing are two companies that seek to leverage real-time data processing using sensors and cameras, artificial intelligence, and big data to create 3D digital twins for the infrastructure industries, such as energy and transportation sectors. These businesses are often beneficiaries of local regulatory policy that demands the consistent upkeep and maintenance of critical infrastructure.
Within the manufacturing sector, companies such as QualityLine, Vanti Analytics (which just raised $4.5M), and Augury are “playing doctor” for industrial machinery, in the sense that they provide AI Diagnostics, “listen” to heavy equipment, and monitor “Machine Health.” These businesses have developed big data analytics – and in some cases sensors – that help big companies maintain their machinery in real time. In fact, these technologies can even track the performance *across* contract manufacturers/vendors and, in some cases, the entire process is done with 100% software and without any physical installations!
For another mind-bender, have you ever witnessed a public company raise money from the markets three times in two weeks?! Nano Dimension has done just that on the heels of recent breakthroughs with partner HENSOLDT which assembled the world’s first 10-layer dual sided 3D printed circuit board using Nano Dimension’s polymers. Nano Dimension’s stock has performed considerably well during this stretch.
One of the big themes of Industry 4.0 is big data and AI. The growing tide of digital transformation shows no signs of letting up. In fact, it is only accelerating! With more reliance on computing infrastructure globally, the cybersecurity component of Industry 4.0 is magnified in importance. Generally speaking, investments in Israel cybersecurity startups was up 30.5% from 2018 in 2019 to $1.4B – and this was before the impact of COVID-19 could be felt. The global cybersecurity investment market places approximately one out of every five dollars in Israeli startups!
Given the breadth and depth of Israeli innovation, it is not surprising that many global corporations who are researching and developing cutting edge solutions in the realm of digital transformation are choosing to look in Israel. Israel Industry 4.0 Global Leaders Summit is becoming a must-attend event for stakeholders who want to stay ahead of trends. Next year will mark the fourth consecutive year of events managed under this brand, which takes place in partnership with Grove Ventures, a leading venture capital firm for deep technology founders and businesses.
We hope Israeli innovation continues to contribute dynamic solutions to the global economy in the year 2021 ahead. Stay tuned!