Once again, despite a week full of doom and gloom, there are still some bright spots of good news to be found, and here they are in this week’s Good News Friday installment.
Our first piece of good news is from Israel’s hi-tech sector again. IBM has bought the Israeli cyber-security firm Trusteer for something between
$800,000-1 million $800m – $1 billion (edited thanks to Linda).
Technology giant IBM announced on Thursday that it plans to acquire Israeli security software vendor Trusteer for an undisclosed amount, believed to be between $800 million and $1 billion.
With offices in Boston and Tel Aviv, Trusteer helps firms protect web applications, employee and customer computers, and mobile devices from cyber threats.
The best part of the news is that IBM will be setting up shop – a research lab – in Israel rather than taking the company right out of Israel:
As part of their announcement, IBM said that it will set up a cybersecurity software lab in Israel that will bring together more than 200 Trusteer and IBM researchers and developers to focus on mobile and application security, advanced threat, malware, counter-fraud, and financial crimes.
“Beyond the aspect of the returns to the shareholders, we saw a very special opportunity here,” Trusteer CEO Mickey Boodaei explained today. “IBM sought to set up a research laboratory in security, identified the potential of Israel, and wants to have a large presence here for building a platform for information security products as part of a new security division formed in 2012. We were very attracted to the opportunity of them establishing this capability in Israel and not somewhere else. We started to talk to them about it, to understand what they want to do, and we found a synergy between what we do and IBM’s path, and it seemed right. As far as the shareholders are concerned, the driver was to set up in Israel IBM’s biggest security lab, to develop it further, to leave a legacy behind us.”
The second outstanding feature is the conditions of the deal. […] “There were negotiations that answer all expectations,” says Boodaei, “and I feel that that applies to both sides. Everyone’s happy and everyone’s smiling, so I believe that this is a good deal for all concerned.”
Mazal tov to Trusteer on the sale and to IBM for its latest acquisition. It is excellent news that both sides managed to agree to keep the company in Israel for the benefit of the workers and the Israeli economy. Kol hakavod to everyone responsible for this deal.
Moving over to newest kid on the hi-tech block, green technology, we are happy to welcome Tel Aviv’s first electric bus (h/t Reality):
Beginning on Tuesday morning, passengers traveling on Dan’s Number 5 bus line in Tel Aviv may suddenly encounter a much quieter and cleaner ride, aboard the country’s first fully electric bus.
The vibrantly orange bus, produced by Chinese firm BYD and imported to Israel through Clal Motors, is a low-floor city vehicle about 12 meters long with a driving range of about 250 miles, according to Dan. This lengthy lifespan allows for most urban buses to travel a day’s routes without requiring a recharge, the company said. Recharging at night in Dan parking lots, the bus battery requires only about four to five hours to achieve full capacity.
“Today begins a new era in the vision of public transportation,” said Dan chairman Michael Nagar and CEO Shmuel Rafaeli in a joint statement at a Tel Aviv launch ceremony for the bus on Monday.
“The experience of a quiet and comfortable ride on an electric bus revolutionizes the customer experience, and we intend to enable this experience for all Dan passengers across Israel.”
Dan aims to upgrade 25 percent of its fleet with electric buses within five years, an investment that will cost about NIS 400 million. The maintenance of electric buses, however, costs about 25 percent less than the maintenance of the diesel buses dominating Israel’s public transportation sector today, the company said. Meanwhile, the energy cost per mile while operating an electric bus is about a third of the costs associated with the fuel necessary for the same diesel-powered journey.
This is great news both for Tel Aviv’s pollution level and for the bus company itself as well as the passengers. Kol hakavod to all those involved in carrying this idea through to completion. Now all we have to do is wait for the light train and the Messiah will be ready to arrive!
Another Israeli green technological invention (h/t No Camels) is a fascinating air-conditioning unit based on the natural characteristics of … salt!
Taking a slab of Dead Sea salt and inspired by the way the lowest place on earth sucks up water from the atmosphere, a new cooling idea was born.
Dan, Tom and Mordechai Forkosh, with their father and uncle, eventually went on to build 22 slush-free ice rinks in Israel and Europe using their patented energy-saving approach.
And since 2010, their company Advantix has been applying the same basic approach — using salt and a heat pump — to take a bite out of the industrial air-conditioning systems market around the world.
Hannah Choi Granade, US-based company president, tells ISRAEL21c: “The men were familiar with the concept of using salt as a liquid desiccant [moisture-attracting drying agent]. The science was out there but no one had tried it on the market.”
It was then tried, tested and found true. While the thousand or so Advantix air conditioners installed today don’t contain the original Israeli Dead Sea salt –– they use an abundant lithium chloride salt instead –– Israeli ingenuity is very much crystallized in the new business.
Granade, an American, says: “The Dead Sea is actually a water-attracting material. People float higher at the Dead Sea because it is so incredibly salty ––and these extreme salt levels attract moisture from its surroundings.”
The Advantix systems work in the same way, with a regular compressor.
Read the whole article to learn how the ingenious system works. Kol hakavod to the Forkosh brothers and their family on their perspicacity and business acumen in discovering and developing this clever technology. I look forward to seeing more widespread use of these air-conditioners in Israel.
And from the almost sublime to the not-quite ridiculous, and still on the subject of green technology, we learn that an Israeli firm is bringing “green” sewage pipes (strange as that may sound) to European countries:
An Israeli plumbing and drainage firm based in an Upper Galilee kibbutz has signed contracts in six European countries to install its environmentally friendly sewage and wastewater pipes, the firm announced this week.
The company, Huliot of Kibbutz Sde Nehemia, has begun marketing a type of pipe that is a first for the European sewage industry – an acoustic insulated pipe made from a unique plastic compound that does not pollute the environment, according to the firm. Officially recognized as an environmentally friendly product, the pipes recently received a green stamp of approval from the Israel Standards Institute.
The pipes operate particularly quietly and are meant to replace lead pipes in the ground that lack insulation, the company explained.
The reduced amount of noise of downward trickling wastewater associated with the new pipes will be particularly key to building residents, Apeloig stressed.
“We are very familiar with tenants living in apartments where the sewage pipe goes through the living room and sometimes even through the bedroom,” Apeloig said. “The tenants suffer serious distress as a result of this. The acoustic pipes blend with the environment and reduce the noise completely.”
Huliot expects that these pipes will quickly gain momentum with developers and building contractors in Israel, who risk facing lawsuits when apartment owners discover that the building’s waste pipe passes through their apartment, the company said. Even more importantly, however, the pipes can help “increase the scope of green building in Israel,” the firm stressed.
Kol hakavod to Huliot for their invention and for their success in selling to the Europeans. It’s hard to resist hinting at the use Israel could make of these sewage pipes in safely disposing of the rubbish spouted by the EU’s officials. 🙂
And on that happy and hopeful note I wish you all Shabbat Shalom!