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Tel Aviv’s Zencity wins international award for ‘pioneering’ smart city project

Startup uses AI to help local governments make data-driven decisions based on communities’ needs; Smart City Expo World Congress prize was in Governance and Economy category

Zencity offices in Tel Aviv. (courtesy/Zencity)
Zencity offices in Tel Aviv. (courtesy/Zencity)

Tel Aviv-based startup Zencity has won a Smart City Expo World Congress (SCEWC) 2020 Award, which is granted to “pioneering projects,” innovations, ideas and strategies that make cities more livable, sustainable, inclusive and economically viable.

Zencity, which has set up a platform to transform the way cities make decisions and foster civic engagement with residents, won first prize in the governance and economy award category.

Founded in 2015, the startup uses advanced AI to help local governments make data-driven decisions based on their communities’ needs and priorities. In doing so, the platform gathers and analyzes millions of anonymized, aggregated data points of community feedback from various channels such as local broadcast media, social media and government customer service channels, including municipal website services or call centers.

Zencity then turns the data into insights about community trends, highlighting resident priorities for decision-makers in local government. Governments are alerted to these trends in real time and officials can act immediately, thus allowing for a more proactive and transparent approach to governing based on the desires of its constituents.

The data is classified for various government departments, based on its relevance.

In the Governance and Economy Award category, Zencity was called “the most innovative and successful project being implemented and developed in the fields of governance and finance,” according to the SCEWC website.

The international SCEWC took place digitally this year and featured thousands of participants from around the world. This year, hundreds of applicants from 46 countries competed for the World Smart City Awards, and categories included living and inclusion; mobility; urban environment; enabling technologies; COVID-19 innovation and the City award.

Zencity data is currently assisting over 180 local governments around the world to allocate resources, inform policy and develop communication strategy, the company said in a statement.

Beyond Tel Aviv, Zencity works with various communities of all sizes, including major cities like Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston; mid-sized cities like Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and smaller cities like State College, Pennsylvania.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Zencity data has been used by local governments to obtain quick feedback from their communities so they are able to craft policies, plans for action and communication strategy, the statement said.

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