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Saudi startup wins global competition

Sadeem’s sensors can be installed anywhere, as they feature solar-powered batteries and their own transceivers. (Photo courtesy: KAUST)
LONDON: A Saudi startup has won the top prize in a global competition.
Sadeem, the world’s first multi-patented flood and traffic information system, was named the Best Global Startup at GITEX Future Stars.
Born in the labs of King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST) in Thuwal the company was set up by Mustapha Mousa, Esteban Canepa and Ahmad Dehwah.
Sadeem was picked from 1,000 startups to take the top prize of $100,0000 for its wireless sensor network — billed as the world’s first solar-powered urban flood and traffic monitoring system.
The system monitors and forecasts traffic and floods in real-time in cities using a combination of sensor networks, mobile applications and visualization tools.
“This win means a lot, and is a culmination of six years of work. This is due to the efforts of the whole team, our commitment to add value to the cities of the world, and our ability to create a solution for environmental challenges in today’s world,” said Mustafa Mousa alongside co-founder Canepa.
Both Canepa, who is from Mexico, and Mousa have experienced flooding firsthand.
“I saw what the flood did in Tabasco (in Mexico) to urban areas,” Canepa told the KAUST website.
“When I came to Saudi Arabia in 2009 and there was a serious flood in Jeddah, I thought to myself, ‘The floods are following me and I have to do something about this.’”
“The problem with flooding lies in the lack of information — information about the flood, the severity, the magnitude, the propagation — of the flood in the streets in real-time,” Mousa said.
“We started as a research group to address all of these issues, knowing that, until Sadeem, there was not a sensor out there that could be deployed in the streets and get information about floods.”
Each year flooding affects 96.9 million people worldwide on average, and causes $13.7 billion in damage, according to the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.
Those figures are only likely to rise with this year having already seen hurricanes and record rains around the world, bringing destruction and chaos from Bangladesh to the US.
Sadeem team members have been busy taking their products to cities around the world and have received interest from city planners in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, North and Latin America.

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