Building smart cities today: TRC's Journey Towards Urban Sustainability

Published on 2024-03-15

Startup Story

In an enlightening interview, TRC co-founders discuss their mission for smarter, sustainable cities, focusing on data-driven solutions, environmental impact, and the unique challenges and strategies of integrating smart technology into today urban landscapes.


Can you elaborate on the founding story of TRC and what motivated you to focus on urban sustainability and smart cities? 

In the wake of a world recalibrating from the impact of COVID-19, Martin Wang and I envisioned a future where cities could breathe easier, literally and metaphorically. It was this vision, born from our combined expertise in technology and urban planning, that led to the creation of TRC. Drawing inspiration from our journey in a mobility startup, we saw the untapped potential of smart cities as a beacon of sustainability. Our platform, TRC's CaaS, is more than a tool; it's a testament to our belief that smart, sustainable cities are the cornerstone of a better future for our planet. 


TRC aims to address the lack of centralized data-driven decision-making in cities. How does your solution uniquely tackle this problem compared to existing approaches? 

Our approach at TRC is centered around transforming data into actionable insights. Traditional models have cities groping in the dark, piecing together fragmented data without a clear direction. TRC's platform turns this on its head by providing a comprehensive data analysis phase, essentially a consultation where we identify inefficiencies and areas ripe for innovation, all at a fraction of the traditional cost. This initial phase sets the stage for informed decision-making, propelling cities into a future where every urban element is optimized for sustainability and efficiency. 


You mention a significant reduction in traffic emissions and improvements in energy and water savings. Can you share more about the environmental impact metrics and how they are measured? 

Our work in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) embodies our commitment and the tangible benefits our platform delivers. Even at this early stage of our 10-year journey: 

  • CO2 Emissions: We've achieved a reduction of 40,000 tons, a direct result of our smart transport and energy solutions.
  • Cost Savings: 25% in public transport and utilities, showcasing our platform's ability to not only enhance urban living but also do so economically. 
  • Customer Satisfaction: Increased by 35%, reflecting the improved quality of life for residents. These metrics aren't just numbers; they're a reflection of our passion for making cities more livable and sustainable. 


How does your CaaS (city as a service) platform integrate with existing city infrastructure, and what are the challenges you've faced in this process? 

The beauty of TRC's CaaS platform lies in its adaptability. Our technology is designed to weave seamlessly into the existing urban fabric, bridging the old with the new. The challenge, of course, is the variance in urban infrastructures across cities. Our strategy is to customize our integration process, allowing cities to adopt smart solutions at their own pace, transforming them into thriving, connected ecosystems where decision-making is data-driven, and residents are active participants. 


What strategies contributed to the increase in your revenues, and how do you plan to sustain this growth? 

TRC's revenue growth is fueled by our innovative approach to urban management and our dedication to creating value for cities and their residents. By offering a phased implementation plan, we provide cities with an affordable entry point into smart technologies, followed by scalable solutions that grow with their needs. Our pricing model reflects this flexibility, ensuring cities can invest in smart infrastructure without financial strain. This strategy not only opens up new markets for TRC but also reinforces our commitment to widespread urban transformation, leading to sustained growth for our company. 


Considering your competitive landscape, including both direct and indirect competitors, what distinguishes TRC's offerings in terms of flexibility, cost, and scalability? 

In a field crowded with giants like Cisco, Siemens, Huawei etc., TRC distinguishes itself through unparalleled flexibility, affordability, and a comprehensive suite of services tailored for each city's unique needs. Unlike one-size-fits-all solutions from competitors, our platform empowers cities with the ability to customize their smart city solutions. This bespoke approach, combined with our commitment to sustainability and inclusivity, sets us apart, making TRC not just a provider but a partner in urban innovation. 


Could you share a case study or example where your solution has been implemented successfully, highlighting the benefits to the city and its citizens? 

The KAEC project serves as a living example of TRC's transformative potential. Our early success in implementing smart transport and energy solutions showcases not only the immediate benefits of reduced emissions and cost savings but also the broader impact on urban life. As we continue our journey with KAEC, we're laying the groundwork for more cities to follow suit, demonstrating the scalability and adaptability of our technology to meet the diverse needs of urban centers worldwide. 


Looking towards the future, what are TRC's long-term goals, and how do you envision your impact on global urban development and sustainability? 

Looking towards 2028, TRC is not just aiming to expand geographically; we're striving to create a network of smart, interconnected cities. By enhancing our algorithm with data from diverse urban environments, we're moving towards a truly plug-and-play model for our SaaS API platform, making smart city technologies accessible to every city around the globe. This ambition drives us forward, fueled by the belief that the future of urban development lies in collaboration, sustainability, and shared innovation. 

In every step we take, TRC is driven by a deep-seated belief in the power of technology to make urban life not just more efficient, but also more equitable and environmentally friendly. Our commitment to this vision is unwavering, as we work tirelessly to bring about a future where every city, regardless of size or location, can harness the benefits of smart, sustainable urban development.

About the author

Rohith Varma