Saudi startup wins global com­pe­ti­tion

Ap­pli­ca­tion alerts users to flood warn­ings


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.

Sadeem’s sen­sors can be in­stalled any­where, as they fea­ture so­lar-pow­ered bat­ter­ies and their own trans­ceivers. (Photo cour­tesy: KAUST)

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