Technology company Paradox Engineering designs and implements smart city solutions, supporting the sustainable development of urban communities and the territory. Although it operates all over the world, with offices in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, San Francisco and Catania, Paradox Engineering has deep roots in Canton Ticino, where it is headquartered, and where its R&D, project management, strategic and commercial planning operations are based. We asked Julia Arneri Borghese, vice president for business development and strategic alliances at Paradox Engineering, to tell us about the company and its approach to sustainability.   Let’s begin with the original choice of company name. Why “Paradox”? Not every organisation would embrace the idea of focusing its business on the concept of a paradox. Our far-sighted founder wanted to try and do what commonsense suggests is paradoxical, that is, overcome the limits of technology by developing pioneering solutions. Tell us a bit about the history of your company. It was established in 2005, but still retains the typical spirit of a start-up with a strong focus on innovation and experimentation of new technologies and solutions. It began life as a telecommunications company, specialising in long-range industrial data transport. This type of service is used mainly by manufacturing concerns, chemicals plants, large oil&gas facilities, for real-time monitoring of the operational settings and status of the plant or of individual machines. It allows companies to plan intervention as and when needed, to avoid breakdowns or other critical situations and so keep costs under control. In just a few years, we have achieved coverage of 1,000 production sites in 70 countries. Subsequently, we broadened our offer to include data entry and storage solutions, which help customers acquire useful business information. This led to the development of our PE.WSNi platform for the industrial market and the PE.AMI platform for urban environments, both related to the new Internet of Things model. Our latest platform is PE.STONE, which is substantially the OEM version of Paradox Engineering technologies. Urban development is a topic we are particularly interested in, because it affects people’s lives and the sustainability issues we follow. Tell us about the projects you’ve completed?Paradox Engineering helps cities take on the challenges of innovation and sustainability. Today, public entities and municipalised agencies have to guarantee a variety of services for growing numbers of people, from distribution of water, light and gas, to urban transport, street lighting, solid waste collection and disposal, as well as emergency services, yet their resources are decreasing. Help is provided by the technologies and many application possibilities offered by the Internet of Things, to evolve from a city to a smart city. People often think of a smart city as a useful app to download on your smartphone to look up bus and train times or local cultural events, but it’s more than that. A smart city manages its resources in a consistent, coordinated manner, offering services to meet current needs and even anticipate the needs of tomorrow’s community. Turning this vision into reality requires a solid network infrastructure, to which all the objects in the territory – meters, streetlamps, car parks, waste containers, surveillance cameras, etc. – are connected and can receive and send data. This is what Paradox Engineering offers: we develop platforms for intelligent city management, enabling the authorities to control remotely the efficiency and efficacy of individual services, take decisions to resolve problems, upgrade or supplement where necessary, create completely new services. Take street lighting: when streetlamps are linked to a network, you can check they are working and intervene promptly if there’s a breakdown, and also program switch-on/off times on the basis of a pre-defined timetable or specific environmental conditions, or even regulate luminosity depending on the presence of vehicles and people. A system of this type provides significant savings for the town’s energy bill, and reduces carbon emissions and light pollution, so local resident satisfaction is greater. A similar approach can be adopted for any other urban service, from public car park management to solid waste collection, beginning from the same starting point, the ability to collect data from and remotely control each single object in the city. Some people object that these technologies quickly become obsolete or have high management costs. What do you think? Paradox Engineering solutions and technologies are neutral with respect to existing devices (sensors, streetlamps, meters, etc.), so they don’t have to be replaced or upgraded in any way. This in itself reduces the complexity and initial costs of a project, but there’s an even more important question: our solutions are entirely based on open standards, so they guarantee full interconnection with the systems, tools and technologies of the customer or any third parties. We offer what we call a ‘future-proof’ modular platform, enabling the municipality to start on a small scale and then gradually extend the network to cover the entire territory and manage additional services on the same infrastructure. A city that implements our infrastructure today to manage its street lighting will be able to use it tomorrow to control traffic video surveillance, urban transport, waste collection and any application it needs, always starting from people’s real needs and from the political and economic assessments of the authorities. Can you give some examples of technological applications you’ve installed? We’re working with a number of Swiss cities. In Bellinzona, for example, we’ve developed a solution on the PE.AMI platform for intelligent management of the city’s LED streetlamps, which can be individually switched on and off remotely. In Chiasso, our technology enables management of part of the streetlighting network and the IP traffic cameras. The same infrastructure has been used to provide residents with free Wi-Fi in some districts and in some public buildings. In the USA, San Francisco chose us three years ago for a pilot project where a single platform is used to control streetlamps, traffic cameras, electric meters and electric vehicle recharging points. A couple of months ago we went to Tokyo to present our solutions at Techno-Frontier 2015. We showed how a fully integrated Smart City platform can be developed to monitor and support a variety of devices and sensors. Tokyo is very sensitive to these issues and is enhancing its traffic and urban security systems, partly in preparation for the Olympics in 2020. Your solutions improve use of urban areas and, as a result, the life of many people. In our opinion, this means you have a focus on sustainability: would you agree? Absolutely. We divide sustainability into three areas, beginning with environmental sustainability, because our solutions reduce the environmental impact of urban services, for example, light pollution and carbon emissions. Then there’s economic sustainability: since our technology is based on the same standard and protocol as the Internet, it will keep up with technological evolution and not become obsolete, protecting investments and opening up new growth opportunities for the local economy, which can integrate its own services and solutions on the platform; it also helps eliminate waste in management of urban resources and generates real savings for the authorities. The third area is social sustainability, because improvements in urban services ultimately enhance quality of life for people and businesses. Although you work all over the world with important partners, you have strong roots in Canton Ticino. How important is your local identity and how do you reconcile it with your international profile? We certainly have a multifaceted identity and a vocation for global activity that enables us to communicate with customers and partners all over the world. Nevertheless, this doesn’t prevent us from maintaining close links with Canton Ticino and talking with local stakeholders – government entities, universities, businesses – to make a positive contribution to the growth of the ecosystem. Switzerland is also a brand regarded around the world as synonymous with quality, so our base here is certainly an added value.]]>