Global startups speed up sustainability

ABB Electrification’s Startup Challenge, in collaboration with Microsoft and SynerLeap, has announced its 2021 winning line-up, as Machine Learning, advanced AI and 3D modelling scale-up safe, smart and sustainable solutions.

Now in its second year, the ABB Electrification Startup challenge saw an unprecedented level of entries from global startups across 28 countries. Competing applicants took up the challenge to seek out and develop next generation solutions using IIoT and digitalisation to enable a low-carbon society and provide sustainable practices.

With renewed global focus on emission reduction and energy efficiency, the competition theme - Speeding up Sustainability – focused on uncovering the world’s smartest thinkers to address how commercial buildings and industrial power applications can tap into disruptive technologies.

Introducing new business models such as energy efficiency as a service and advancing customer experience, this year’s applicants impressed judges with their drive to collaborate, mature their solutions and deliver progress and real value for ABB and its customers. 

Tarak Mehta, President of ABB Electrification said: “The need to accelerate and turn up the dialogue around climate change and energy efficiency has never been more important. Open innovation and discovery are critical to help make the energy transition more affordable, effective and accessible. Working with global startups provides us with a unique opportunity to look beyond what is front of us, to the role we can play in shaping a safe, smart and sustainable future.”

With ABB’s 2030 sustainability strategy the company is actively enabling a low-carbon society and working collaboratively to ensure sustainable practices throughout the value chain.

Pivot Energy, an analytics company from Sweden with teams in the UK and US, will now work closely with the Electrification Smart Power team to deliver a scalable platform that scrapes, aggregates and correlates analytics to mitigate the costs of grid instability of industrial facilities. The proposed solution uses Machine Learning, data driven engineering and insurance to create new business models such as “energy efficiency as a service”. Judges were impressed by the company’s ethos in empowering the zero-carbon transition of buildings and industrial processes.

French startup, Wise Building, won the competition in the Smart Buildings category with its building management platform. Wise Building's "all-in-one" human-centric application gives users in commercial buildings a flexible tool for booking meeting rooms or shared desks, ordering lunch or adjusting heating, lighting and cooling in their office. The application can closely interact with ABB's open building operating system, making building operation easy to use, more efficient and sustainable.

ViewAR’s augmented reality system impressed judges from Distribution Solutions based on its flexibility to improve workplace safety in electrical sub stations. The startup based in Vienna, uses cutting edge AR technologies and 3D visual recognition, to deliver a fully immersive experience without the need for WIFI or installed hardware. Using wearable technology and smart phones the platform guards and protects workers based on their corresponding position and highlighting hazardous areas.

Peter Löfgren, Head of SynerLeap explains: “We are delighted to be part of the competition and we are seeing a real desire from startups who want to make impactful change. With ABB’s support, we truly believe that this year’s winners will add new thinking and deliver real world solutions that will address some of the biggest challenges in industry and society.”

The winning startups will each receive a $30,000 prize to work in collaboration with ABB and SynerLeap to bring their innovative ideas to a global customer base via the ABB Ability Marketplace.  The winners will also benefit from marketing and networking support from ABB; and, receive access to Microsoft experts, earning one to one business and technical coaching, as well as access to Microsoft cloud technologies.