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August 3, 2015 / 18 Av, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘technology’

Agritech Startups Showcase Technologies at AgriVest Conference

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

Some of the most promising and innovative Israeli agritech startups pitched their technologies yesterday (April 27) at the third International AgriVest Conference held at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

The conference is an initiative of Invest in Israel, the investment promotion center at the Israeli Ministry of Economy, the Trendlines Group and Trendlines Agtech.

Some 350 business people, entrepreneurs, government officials, scientists and investors from Israel and abroad attended the conference.

In her opening remarks, Dr. Nitza Kardish, CEO of Trendlines Agtech called the AgriVest conference “a unique platform for Israeli startups and entrepreneurs to meet with investors and key people in the global agricultural industry.” Kardish said the gathering provided a place to “reveal the potential of investing in innovative developments.”

Chairman and CEO of the Trendlines Group Steve Rhodes added, “The global growth of investment in agritech 2014 reached a record breaking $2.36 billion raised which is testimony to positive trends in this sphere.”

The highlight of the conference was a competition between 12 Israeli startups out of 40 that applied for the privilege, who presented the newest innovations in Israel’s agricultural technology.

At the event DouxMax was crowned the winner following assessment and grading by the participants.

DouxMax has developed a method to create special, sweeter sugar in an effort to reduce the amount of sugar required in foods.

BioFishency, developers of an all-in-one water treatment system for land-based aquaculture was also awarded a prize for its system to increase the number of fish threefold while reducing water usage.

“AgriVest showcases technologies that will enable us to produce unique foodstuffs, additives, seeds and agricultural products to combat the stress on our dwindling natural resources,” said Gideon Soesman, co-founder and managing partner of GreenSoil Investments.

“Investing in new crops, treatment methods, waste reduction and yield enhancement will provide solutions to the world’s food crisis and can deliver sizable returns to investors.”

Lessons Learned from the 2014 Gaza War with Hamas

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

The IDF has been carefully analyzing the enormous amount of data collected from the soldiers’ experiences fighting in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, the Mako website reports.

One of the most important lessons learned from the troops’ combat in the enclave was related to the weight of the load ground soldiers carried with them into battle.

Soldiers carry a rocket launcher weighing some 10 kilograms, for example; the Technological Division of the IDF Ground Arm worked together with the security industry to reduce that weight to seven kilos instead.

Negev machine guns, Tavor and M-16 rifles use 5.56 mm caliber ammunition. Each bullet weighs 12 grams; but with new technology, those bullets will weigh 30 percent less. MAG machine guns may be phased out and the lighter Negev machine guns may replace them. Or they may receive lighter ammunition.

 

US Dept of Defense Trains Teachers in 3-D Printing

Friday, December 19th, 2014

The U.S. Department of Defense is teaching America’s teachers how to use 3-D technology to “print” solid objects, according to a report on NJTV.

The workshops are led by engineers who teach the teachers to use Mak-Bot printers with various materials, each relevant to the object being created by the 3-D printer. The purpose of the program, according to the report, is to ensure the next generation will be educated properly in the technology, which is already available.

The medical field is also experimenting with 3-D printing for the creation of human tissue and organs in life-saving transplant surgeries and other situations.

Jerusalem Says ‘No’ to Oil Shale Pilot – Is There A Future Elsewhere in Israel?

Sunday, September 7th, 2014

Israeli society is debating whether to allow industrialists to dip into its Middle Eastern treasure chest for the oil shale that lies beneath the holy land, while the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) waits in the wings for the outcome.

Oil shale is most commonly defined as sedimentary rock containing organic matter rich in hydrogen, known as Kerogen. When the rock is heated, the organic matter decomposes and releases petroleum-like liquids. In other words, black gold.

Industrialists and business investors say the move would bring energy independence to the Jewish State, which made its debut last week as an energy exporter with a deal to send natural gas to Jordan.

Environmentalists insist it would create an ecological disaster from which the nation’s delicate nature reserves might never recover.

A pilot project would determine whether the benefit outweighs the risk, or vice versa.

But last week, a committee voted in Jerusalem to block a pilot project in south-central Israel to check it out. An exploration that began in 2011 estimated that approximately 40 billion barrels of oil are sitting below the surface of the Ela Valley at a depth of approximately 200 to 400 meters.

After having started an initial exploration several years ago — one that was frozen in 2011 — the Jerusalem-based Israel Energy Initiatives firm wanted to move to a pilot project to determine its viability. The plan involved extracting a total of 500 barrels of oil — about two barrels per day — to see if the site was commercially viable.

The process that would be used involves a new technology never before used anywhere else in the world. It’s not “fracking,” which involves drilling for liquid oil.

This involves converting the very rock itself into oil – a form of hydrocarbons — known as “oil shale.” There is a massive amount of it in Israel, apparently, if one can figure out how to extract it and it seems that IEI chief scientist Harold Vinegar has managed to do it. The company’s former Minister of National Infrastructure and now IEI CEO, Effie Eitam, is also very involved.

In order to bring up oil shale, one drills heating wells into the rock, gradually heating it to 300 degrees centigrade over a period of nine months, which then separates and lifts the oil and leaves the rock below.

IEI said the process would not damage the ecosystem in the 238-square kilometer Shfela basin area.

About 200 meters of rock separates the layer of shale rock from the aquifer in the region, according to IEI, which insists drilling will not penetrate this layer. As a result, the company says, the aquifer will not be harmed. Israel’s Water Authority hydrologists agreed.

But environmentalists disagree.

Adam Teva V’Din – the Israel Union for Environmental Defense — argued in a 2010 lawsuit that the company’s plans did not have enough environmental protections in place. Regulations tightened in 2012 by the National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Ministry still did not cover the company’s plans – so Adam Teva V’Din filed another lawsuit.

Israel’s Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel also threw its support to the opposition, adding that the company’s plans seemed to be “shrouded in secrecy.”

Last week, the Jerusalem District Committee for Planning and Building voted 10-1 to reject the Jerusalem-based Israel Energy Initiatives’ project to drill for oil shale in the Shfela basin. There were two abstentions in the 10-hour committee meeting vote, which was a continuation of August’s unresolved nine-hour discussion.

Had the exploration gone forward, IEI CEO Relik Shafir told The Jerusalem Post in an interview this summer, the project had the potential to bring Israel “energy independence and a commercial value … to the tune of at least NIS 10 billion a year.”

4G Mobile Network Coming to Israel

Monday, July 14th, 2014

The Communications Ministry has issued a tender for the operation of fourth-generation – 4G – LTE mobile phone networks in Israel.

A 4G network, which has been operational in the United States for several years, allows users to work with the Internet at speeds three to five times the current rate.

Communications Minister Gilad Erdan told journalists in a statement, “Fourth generation services will make possible advanced services and applications at high speeds. The new network will propel Israel forward while delivering innovative services.”

The tender issued by the ministry notes “The bands will be awarded to the highest bids with a minimal bid of NIS10 million for each of the 8 available 5MHZ frequency bands. New and small operators may receive up to 50% discount, 10% discount for each 1% addition to their market share, obtained over the next 5 years.”

Five companies currently operate 3G networks — which are much slower — but 4G networks involve wider frequencies and they are expensive to develop. Israel cannot support five of those, so companies will have to share.

Israel’s three largest mobile firms – Cellcom Israel, Partner Communications (Orange) and Bezeq (Pelephone) – all offer 3G and have been fighting a price war over the past two years. But there are two new competitors in the market – Golan Telecom and Hot Mobile – which both own their own infrastructure and are rapidly moving up to take a share of the Israeli customer base.

Two months ago, Partner signed a deal to share a network with Hot, which is owned by Altice, a French cable group. Cellcom, meanwhile, announced a similar arrangement with Golan. Both are already developing 4G networks, which will cost approximately $100 million to create.

At present, the country with the fastest Internet speed is New Zealand, which runs a network with 25.8 megabits per second. According to the global Net Index, Israel is currently ranked 63rd in mobile speed, at only 5.6 megabits per second.

Israel, China Ministers Meet, Plan Hi-Tech Collaboration

Friday, July 4th, 2014

As part of ongoing efforts to advance economic ties between Israel and China, an inter-ministerial task force led by Israel’s National Economic Council along with a team from the Israeli Ministry of Economy headed by Chief Scientist Avi Hasson is meeting with Chinese counterparts from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) to create opportunities for collaboration between Israeli and Chinese companies.

The Chinese delegation, headed by Mr. Ren Zhiwu – Deputy Director-General of the Hi-Tech Industry Department of the NDRC – arrived in Israel this week for the first working meeting with the Israeli group. It is the first time that the Chinese delegation has come to Israel.

The Chinese delegation is made up of 7 officials from the NDRC along with a business contingent of 33 representatives from leading Chinese firms in such fields as biomed and venture capital, as well as representatives of several Chinese high-tech/industrial parks chosen by the NDRC to engage in joint ventures with Israel.

“The meetings between Israeli and Chinese companies within this framework will bring true commercial results,” said Chief Scientist Hasson. “It is doubtful if these would have been achieved without cooperation between the two countries on an official level.”

At a joint seminar during the meetings, potential models for cooperation with Israel from the viewpoint of the NDRC were presented – models which can assist Israeli companies in need of support and guidance in their effort to penetrate Chinese markets, including incubators and centers of excellence in China.

Representatives from Chinese companies engaged in investing, R&D and technological parks, along with representatives of Israeli companies, presented various models to help Israeli firms enter the Chinese market.

Roey Fisher, Deputy Director of the Foreign Trade Administration in the Ministry of Economy, moderated the discussion about the industrial parks in China, saying, “The basis for good cooperation is better mutual understanding. Thus it is important that both sides present their needs to each other in order to create successful matchmaking and long term mutual projects.”

Following the seminar, Professor Eugene Kandel, Head of the National Economic Council at the Prime Minister’s Office of Israel, hosted a reception in which both the Israeli Chamber of Commerce and the Israel-Asia Chamber of Commerce participated.

According to The Foreign Trade Administration, China is Israel’s second largest trade partner, reaching a total of $10.8 billion in trade volume. In 2013, Israel’s exports to China totaled $2.88 billion (an increase of 0.22% compared to 2012); imports from China to Israel in the same year totaled $7.99 billion (an increase of 0.7% compared to 2012). The leading sectors of exports to China include: electronic components (40%), chemicals (17%), diamonds (11%), medical devices (7%), mechanical and electronic equipment (6%), and communication equipment (4%). The leading sectors of imports from China include machines and industrial equipment (36%), textiles (1.9%), metals (9.4%) and chemicals (8.8%).

Walking A Mile With Their Cell Phones

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

I think I’m finally beginning to understand.

For a few years now we have been hearing about “Half Shabbos,” a phenomenon in which our youth engage in forbidden technology-related activities on Shabbos, such as texting and Internet surfing. Various reasons have been offered by educators and other pundits to explain the phenomenon and a number of suggestions have been made about how best to address it. (I, too, wrote on this topic, including an op-ed in these pages in June 2011 titled “From Half to Full.”)

I wrote about the subject with a certain uneasiness; something kept gnawing at me, telling me I did not really understand the dilemma about which I claimed expertise. While I felt confident that my logic was sound and my strategies were useful, I still could not really place myself in young people’s shoes and comprehend what drove them to engage in such activity.

I was no digital native (when I was young we still had corner phone booths) and never had experienced technology from that vantage point. I may have stayed in bed up late at night listening to the radio, but I never had the regular experience of communicating with classmates or others at 2 a.m.

But all of that changed for me during my recent professional transition to executive and educational coaching and consulting. Sure, as head of school (my previous post) I had to be an active user of e-mail, SMS and other communication portals. My phone was positioned reliably on my hip and would be taken out countless times daily as I engaged with various constituents. Still, I was largely content to put my smartphone away for Shabbos, if only because it gave me a day of respite from the 24/6 nature of school leadership. (Technically, it was 24/7 if you count Kiddush at shul and other communal functions, but at least there I could respond in real time to a real person, not an avatar.)

As I moved into my new line of work I began to use social media in a way I never had previously. I had a largely unused Facebook account and was not “on” LinkedIn, Twitter, or Google+. Nor had I ever uploaded a video to YouTube. Now, I have accounts with each of the aforementioned and use them often as a means of sharing content, developing my brand and engaging with present and potential clients.

Part of the reason for this is, as noted above, to get my name “out there” and develop credibility. However, I feel that much of this urge to post regularly emerges from the “when in Rome” mentality that affects so many of us. If every “thought leader” out there is posting to his or her Twitter account umpteen times daily, what would it say about me if mine was largely inactive? How would it look if I did not continually have relevant, fresh content to share?

Following this recent experience, I feel I now better understand our children’s struggles. For many of them, technology is not just another activity that is forbidden on Shabbos, such as writing, cooking and the like. It is a way of life, a part of their existence so deep and entrenched that it is extremely difficult to abstain from for even one day a week.

The dependency is so strong that if there aren’t strict rules in place as there are in many schools (where phones are banned entirely or must be checked in to the office at the beginning of the day and kept there until dismissal), our children will invariably succumb to the pull of their technology, especially if their friends are “on.” After all, nobody wants to come across as less socially adept or relevant, even for a brief period. This is particularly true for teenagers.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/walking-a-mile-with-their-cell-phones/2014/05/08/

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