Citibeats: the startup that creates citizen observatories to fight the coronavirus

This new Catalan startup is able to help in no less than 24 hours to react in a more effective and straightforward way to all administration, in order to prevent the spread of the virus as much as possible. 

We are witnessing a crisis of civic engagement at a global level, where governments, private sector and citizens are disconnected. This leads to a lack of social capital, a fundamental factor in creating healthier, happier and more prosperous societies. 

Up until now, bars remain closed, streets are practically empty and deserted, people without leaving their homes, except for the essentials, all the world’s citizens confined. It may seem like the beginning of a horror movie, a zombie series or something like that, but no, it’s not. It is the reality that we are living today, a large part of the world’s population. All this is the result of a pandemic like the one we already know, the coronavirus, which is still infecting everywhere and endlessly. But, fortunately, some technologies can create some order and hope in the midst of such chaos. 

Citibeats is the first Artificial Intelligence specialized in the citizen active listening, and the only one created specifically to work within the framework of the UN´s Sustainable Development Goals (SDA). A perfect framework to enhance civic engagement, improve citizen participation and maximize social impact in cities, but it is necessary to adapt the global goals they set to different local realities, to measure achievements progessively and to understand the whys and wherefores of the success or failure of initiatives. 

The first step in achieving this is to understand in depth the main concerns of citizens in the different communities. With this knowledge, governments and organizations can not only create more efficient local initiatives to solve the most pressing problems, but also, by demonstrating their social commitment they manage to involve people in them, thus multiplying the results of their projects. The question is how to achieve this. 

In this context arises Citibeats, intelligence created by the Spanish startup Social Coin. Citibeats has launched a Local Impact Observatory that allows cities to deeply understand local issues so that governments and organizations can adapt the global challenges of ODS to their own realities. People share their opinions on the issues that concern them most every minute and from anywhere (in social networks, citizen attention channels…). This results in thousands of unstructured qualitative data. Citibeats captures, interprets, synthesizes and makes sense of all this data, obtaining precise insights on which to act. 

It is a new Catalan startup, which seems to have given us a little ray of light in all this storm. Led by Ivan Caballero, this startup is able to create data observatories in just 24 hours. “We had other short-term plans, but due to the current situation, we have now focused on helping governments react more efficiently to the spread of the virus. What makes sense of our technology, based on artificial intelligence, is being able to help,” Caballero told the social chronicle the other day. 

So far this new startup has launched citizen observatories focused on the coronavirus in 26 countries in Latin America. But many people will wonder what these observatories are for, well, there goes the answer to that question. “We offer information, free and public, in real time of the evolution of the coronavirus in different areas, so that some companies can create services with those data or applications to help, for example, in the supply of people at greater risk,” says Ivan Caballero. 

Nowadays, Artificial Intelligence is something that allows us to have many things at our fingertips, for example it is capable of detecting in which neighborhoods there are more needs, the citizen initiatives that are being created, this is something that in these last days is spreading a lot, it also allows us to know the changes of habits and behaviors that are produced in the area. “We can know, for example, which neighborhood in Madrid or Barcelona is more afraid of the coronavirus or how a hospital is changing its habits,” explains the CEO of Citibeats. 

At the moment, this startup we mentioned is in talks and negotiations with the Spanish Government and the Generalitat de Catalunya, in order to analyse in a more specific way the possibility of launching an observatory in relation to the most known virus at the moment, the Covid-19. 

The first version of this new Citibeas platform was launched at the beginning of 2018 and has gradually been gaining ground in the business world. Today it is based in Barcelona’s 22nd district and has a staff of almost twenty people. Its activity is based on the ethical use of artificial intelligence to extract information and process it in the best possible way in order to help citizens. “Our technology is capable of processing data from any source, be it tweets, comments, news, transcripts or emails and in any language,” says Caballero. 

The potential of Citibeats is such that in 2019 the startup closed a financing round of 1.4 million with partners such as Bankinter, Everis, Telefónica and the Inter-American Development Bank. It also collaborates internationally with companies such as Japan’s NTT Data. All these data have made both the Spanish and the Catalan governments want to count on them to find effective solutions for the expansion of the coronavirus. 

Once the current situation is overcome, the objectives of this company are to improve its technology and to enter strongly in markets such as Japan, Latin America and to consolidate in Europe. And, although at the time being the startup has a good financial muscle, Caballero does not rule out closing another even bigger funding round to climb faster. 

Sources: CitibeatsCrónica GlobalGobierno de España

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