Start-ups Take Part In Counter-Terrorism Contest In Israel (with VIDEO)
Annual competition sponsored by Israeli, U.S. governments comes as Jerusalem passes law easing visa requirements for entrepreneurs
Dozens of start-up companies from around the globe participated in an annual competition sponsored by the Israeli and United States governments at Tel Aviv University. Known as the Combating Terrorism Technology Start-up Challenge (CTTSC), the event provided investors, defense officials and the public with a glimpse into the latest in security-linked technology.
More than 200 innovative contest entries from 19 countries were on display, including drones, robots, and medical devices. Top American and Israeli security experts reviewed the submissions, awarding first place and the $100,000 prize to CardioScale, a revolutionary device that monitors the vitals of terror attack survivors and thus allows first responders to prioritize between those needing urgent care.
“We have our own medical algorithm that is basically medical engineering,” Maoz Ben-Ari, co-founder of CardioScale, told The Media Line. “We are able to define by our measurements which of all the casualties on site should be treated first and evacuate them first.”
The U.S. Department of Defense and the Israeli Ministry of Defense jointly launched the annual event, which was held in Israel for the third time.
“Israel is the Start-up Nation,” said Adam Tarsi, International Program Manager at the U.S. Department of Defense. “There’s a unique mix of entrepreneurial spirit, all Israelis go to conscripted service [in the army] before they go to university [and] they have a common understanding of the threat.
“The threats are constantly evolving,” he elaborated to The Media Line. “[Now] you see terror kites. A few years ago tunnels were a novelty. Homemade rockets and homemade explosives, whatever we can detect, [the terrorists] stop using and they move into a different area.”
Some of the technologies on display addressed one of the most pressing—and dangerous— problems facing security personnel and first responders today: that is, mass shootings.
Working together with U.S. Homeland Security and Israel’s Ministry of Public Security, SayVU Technologies has developed software that can locate active shooters using smartphones. The app could be especially useful in school shootings, providing real-time information to security forces on the ground.
“It’s all about the sensors that are on the mobile device,” Amotz Koskas, Founder and CEO of SayVU, explained to The Media Line. “We know how to use [these sensors] even though your device might be completely locked. We can extract your voice, your location and your indoor positioning.”
The start-up challenge comes as the Israeli parliament passed a series of regulations to enable Israeli entrepreneurs to work more easily in the U.S. and that allow for Americans to do the same in Israel. The reciprocal agreement will permit residents of either country to receive a work permit based solely on their business investments.
Before the law’s passage, Israelis who wished to work in the U.S. under an E-2 investment visa were required to meet strict criteria, including demonstrating exceptional achievements within their business sector. Regulations will now simply require a company to prove it has the necessary capital to operate and employ American citizens.
Dr. Alex Coman of the Adelson School of Entrepreneurship at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya (IDC) believes the new law will be very beneficial to start-ups and tech companies.
“For some reason, the bureaucracy beforehand was very painful, particularly since many countries do not even need to have a visa with the U.S.,” Dr. Coman told The Media Line. “This will allow quite a few Israeli companies to operate there and [allow] a few Israelis to relocate to the U.S. as well.”
The law is a move that will surely boost U.S.-Israel cooperation in technology-based fields in the future, he concluded.