Southeast Florida Roundup
Aerosens develops technology to track aviation safety equipment
Safety Equipment Tracker
Airlines are required to ensure airplane cabins have a full complement of first-aid kits, defibrillators, life vests and other safety equipment. A Boeing 777 has more than 500 such items. Some items get stolen or lost. Others must be replaced when their life cycle runs out. Hollywood-based startup Aerosens targets automating the process of tracking that cabin safety equipment using technology for which it has a patent pending and now is seeking FAA certification.
The company was founded in 2017 by telecom engineer and CEO Maria Esther Martinez, chief technology officer and former Airbus engineer Farid Hassani and Rafael Alonso, former Airbus president for Latin America and the Caribbean. It chose Hollywood for its base in part to be in the aviation industry hub of South Florida. Aerosens is working on both an RFID solution for airlines and breakthrough, low-energy Bluetooth sensors, which would allow real-time monitoring in the air and on the ground in any location, enabling instant awareness of any tampering, maximizing cabin security and increasing efficiency.
- Tamarac-based City Furniture plans to hire 175 in sales, e-commerce, digital marketing, analytics and IT at existing locations and at an Ashley HomeStore opening in North Miami and a City Furniture store in Altamonte Springs opening in 2021.
- West Palm Beach Vision Group Holdings, operator of 120 Lasik Vision Institute, TLC Laser Eye Center and other surgery and eye-care practice centers, filed for bankruptcy court protection with hopes of reorganizing. It laid off 800 people, plans to cut its number of centers and sell itself as a going concern.
- OceanBased Perpetual Energy, a Miami company trying to generate energy from the Gulf Stream, completed a three-day offshore demonstration using three turbines and a research vessel. The company worked with the U.S. Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center at Florida Atlantic University on the project 20 miles off Palm Beach County.
- Fort Lauderdale agreed to pay $18 million — down from $150 million sought by hundreds of plaintiffs — to settle years of litigation over a municipal incinerator operated decades ago that generated toxic ash that contaminated soil, including the site of a neighborhood park.
- CBRE hired David Bateman, formerly with NAI Partners in Houston, as managing director for Broward and Palm Beach. He started in real estate in Fort Lauderdale.
- Developer Jeff Greene says he will continue, though at a slower pace, construction of his largest project in the city, dual 30-story towers in downtown West Palm Beach. He wanted the city to allow him to convert the property, approved for a mix of hotel, office and rentals, entirely to apartment rentals. The city, which had allowed him to increase the project’s height from the allowable 10 stories, won’t acquiesce in the change. Downtown already has new hotels and plans by other developers for office projects, raising oversupply questions.
Locals Know Best
Three-quarters of the desired change in human activity to slow the virus happened without state lockdown mandates, says research by Florida Atlantic University economics professor William Luther. Because the Centers for Disease Control says most Americans eventually will be exposed to the virus, the question isn’t stopping the disease but slowing it enough to keep hospitals in individual communities from being overwhelmed.
Luther’s findings argue that cities and counties are best positioned to judge what needs to be done to slow COVID-19.
He studied national Google Mobility data and found that decisions by individuals, employers and local governments did more than statewide mandates to cut down shopping, recreation, presence in the workplace and use of public transit. Much of the mitigation of the disease spread would have happened without state orders. Florida and Gov. Ron DeSantis received a share of opprobrium nationally for not moving faster to lock down the state. As it turns out, local people and governments already were doing so.
State and federal officials move slower in general because they have to marshal widespread support, he says. “It’s very easy to say, ‘Well, the state was too slow to respond,’ but that’s a feature of democracy, not a bug,” Luther says.
Local leaders can see consensus in their communities sooner. They also know local conditions best — beaches, for example, that attract families that keep to themselves and aren’t overrun compared to beaches that attract lots of strangers crowding together and interacting.
- Fort Lauderdale-based software company Citrix gave a grant to the non-profit South Florida Institute on Aging to pair tech-savvy volunteers with older adults sheltering in place to teach them how to use Zoom, FaceTime, Facebook and Google Hangouts to connect with loved ones. The program is called SoFIA Tech Connect.
- Coconut Creek-based non-profit giant Food For The Poor, which primarily works internationally, partnered with Matthew 25: Ministries, St. Bonaventure church in Davie and the state Council of the Knights of Columbus to deliver truckloads of essential goods to community organizations in Broward and Miami-Dade.
- The 150-room Canopy West Palm Beach Downtown, delayed in opening for two months by the pandemic, opened, the first Florida location of the Hilton lifestyle brand. It’s operated by Driftwood Hospitality Management and owned by executives of Driftwood and an affiliate, Coral Gables-based Driftwood Capital.
Read more in Florida Trend's August issue.
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