JEDDAH: Saudi-based Sadeem’s solar-powered wireless sensing system can help monitor flooding, weather, pollution and traffic conditions, reporting essential information back to relevant government agencies.
Moustafa Moussa, one of the firm’s co-founders, said: “Sadeem means nebula in Arabic, and just like a nebula, our wireless sensing network gets its power from solar energy.”
Moussa and three other co-founders, Ahmad Dehwah, Christian Claudel and Esteban Sanchez-Canepa — all from different continents — began researching the idea for the network after asking themselves: “How can we help cities? What can we bring to them?”
The idea for Sadeem came after major flooding in Jeddah on Nov. 25, 2009, which claimed more than 120 lives.
“The floods in Saudi Arabia left catastrophic damage and caused damage of more than $135 million in Jeddah and Makkah alone. That made us think of ways to improve resilience within cities,” Moussa told Arab News.
Sanchez-Canepa, a King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Ph.D. graduate from Mexico, said: “Our sensors are deployed in existing structures such as lamp-posts and traffic signs, and communicate with each other wirelessly. When they detect a level of 2 cm of water, for example, they transmit this information to a central unit, triggering alarms.”
Sadeem is the first company to provide detailed information regarding water levels and traffic, which is often accessible through social media or public reports, though rarely accurately.
In 2015, the company won KAUST’s IP-based Startup Award and began commercial and industrial operations.
Moussa described KAUST as “fuel and a pivotal point” for Sadeem. “We started here, and through KAUST we received the correct coaching, helping us to use the right language and approach the right people. It gave us the resources to thrive.”
In 2017, the Sadeem team won Best Global Startup Award at GITEX Future Stars in Dubai.
The company has helped the UAE’s Ministry of Infrastructure Development, and has worked closely with Saudi Arabia’s Madinah Development Authority. It has also deployed sensors in Mexico City, Taif and Riyadh.
Sadeem recently won one of the national finals in the Entrepreneurship World Cup.