USAF and VIA celebrate eJARVIS, the next generation of JARVIS solution, alongside key energy industry leaders

The United States Department of the Air Force (USAF) and VIA celebrated the accomplishments of eJARVIS, the next generation of VIA’s JARVIS solution, together at Energy Exchange 2024 in Pittsburgh, PA. 

USAF and VIA’s strong partnership dates back to 2020, when VIA first provided secure and privacy-protected analysis of data. The original JARVIS, while originally deployed at USCENTCOM bases and at Tyndall Air Force Base, did not incorporate data from neighboring electric utilities or capture electric vehicle (EV) and EV infrastructure data. The “e” in eJARVIS represents JARVIS’ expansion to handle much needed energy analysis.

In the last year alone, eJARVIS has supported the USAF in their fleet electrification transition through interactive, real-time dashboards, giving a complete view of site readiness. This has been proven at Travis Air Force Base, California, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, and Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington.

Given the growth in data, security requirements also increased. Building on the original JARVIS Platform One accreditation, eJARVIS achieved continuous Authority to Operate (ATO), in just three short months, a major milestone for the application. In a recently published article about the launch, USAF remarked that the speed of this ATO is “a testament to the dedication and innovation of the eJARVIS team.”

Douglas Tucker, Director of Installation Energy Policy and Programs for the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Environment, Safety, & Infrastructure), describes how eJARVIS empowers energy managers in their role:

Douglas Tucker

Douglas Tucker

“The eJARVIS system utilizes advanced cybersecurity and privacy encryption, aggregating and then visualizing energy and infrastructure data from disparate sources.”

“This next wave of digital tools is promising because they empower energy managers to transform manual tasks, inform predictive budgeting, and ultimately optimize our ability to more accurately and efficiently support the mission.”

eJARVIS promises to pave the way for the future within the USAF and in the security, energy, and infrastructure spaces. It was best said in the article, “Together, this technology and other pilots underway are paving the way to a more streamlined, agile, and digitized future.”

If you are a city, town, or state government agency looking for a solution to increase security, create efficiencies for infrastructure management, or help with your fleet electrification transition, contact us at info@solvewithvia.com. We love working with companies whose mission aligns with ours: making communities cleaner, safer, and more equitable.

Swiss Federal Office of Energy shares successful completion of decentralized energy research

Four years ago, VIA was selected for the world’s first demonstration of decentralized energy analysis, in partnership with leading Swiss utility, Romande Energie, global smart meter manufacturer Landis+Gyr, and Swiss research institute Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU).

The research project, known as KnowlEDGE, was driven by a Swiss law that only allows electrical meter data to be gathered once per day at a resolution of 15 minute increments. Similar regulations exist in many other jurisdictions to protect the privacy of individual residential meter owners. Real-time data from meters, however, are widely recognized for their ability to provide valuable insights for grid flexibility and reliability. 

To enable real-time grid analysis and maintain compliance with data protection laws, the Swiss Federal Office of Energy sponsored this first of its kind research. Together, with our industrial and research partners based in Switzerland, we successfully demonstrated the processing of real-time data across multiple Swiss household meters. The processing was never centralized and household data was never sent to the utility. Nevertheless, the results of the decentralized analysis provided valuable insights to enable predictions for grid voltage levels that are necessary to maintain grid reliability. 

You can find the summary results of the research written by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy, here. To learn more about our contributions to the KnowlEDGE project and our commitment to Switzerland, visit our website or contact us at info@solvewithvia.com

 

Stan Byers, Cybersecurity Team Lead at USAID, joins VIA for largest VIA Visionaries event

As devoted VIA Visionaries followers know, each remarkable guest shares a common mission with VIA: making our communities cleaner, safer, and more equitable. Stan Byers, Cybersecurity Team Lead at USAID, is no exception.

Stan plays a critical role at USAID, a U.S. government agency responsible for administering civilian foreign aid and development assistance. In his role, Stan helps protect the most vulnerable communities against cyber threats. Given the importance of his work helping others, we were grateful to have the opportunity to meet in person alongside the VIA team and our audience members around the globe.

With 30 full minutes of engaging conversation in front of the largest in-person audience to date, Colin and Stan covered critical topics ranging from Stan’s background, stories from the field in Afghanistan and South Sudan, and why cybersecurity is a high priority for development and humanitarian aid organizations.

Before we get into the details, let’s give you, our readers, a quick snapshot of Stan’s remarkable career, so you can get to know him, too:

Stan and the VIA team spent some time chatting about the benefits of decentralization before the VIA Visionaries livestream.

Throughout his incredible career, Stan has made monumental strides in the realm of cybersecurity, emphasizing its importance in international security, policy, and technology. Currently, Stan is the Cybersecurity Team Lead at USAID. Leading a driven team of fellow cybersecurity experts for the last three years, Stan’s team is working with the White House, State Department, and the Department of Defense on how they think about cybersecurity as part of national digital transformation.

Before Stan was asked to join USAID to build the Cybersecurity Team, Stan worked at EY, handling geopolitical and economic aspects of cybersecurity while concurrently staying updated on the latest technology. In addition, he was a resident at TED in 2017. Stan was also instrumental in the Power Africa Presidential Initiative at USAID, providing a path for private investments and economic growth in Africa. His diverse experience, coupled with his ability to analyze and devise strategic cybersecurity initiatives, firmly positions him as a prominent leader in the cybersecurity space, specifically for the greater good.

Of all the memorable quotes and moments during the chat, it was when Colin asked Stan, “We first met at a Harvard conference related to blockchain and web3 technologies. Why are you interested in web3 technologies?” that we thought our readers would find as interesting as we did:

“I was there because I think this is something we need to be paying more attention to. We tend to spend a lot of time looking at AI and mobile money applications and a bunch of other things which are all incredible. But, not as much on how we can really use web3 and this decentralized approach. I think there is some real promise there.

In particular, what I’m seeing more and more, is that we need to rethink how we do data management quickly. From a development and humanitarian perspective, we work in a lot of places around the world. People shouldn’t think that these parts of the world that I’m talking about are kind of the anomaly, “oh the poor, destitute, unstable parts of the world.” Where we live right now is the anomaly. If you want to talk about using technology to improve the world, you have to talk about the low and middle income countries of the world where 85% of the world lives. This is not the norm, Somerville is not the norm.”

To hear Stan’s full response and how he thinks web3 and decentralization can help 85% of the world, watch from the 25:00 minute mark. Colin also comments that Stan’s response brings home the point of trust when it comes to a decentralized approach to data.

If you are enjoying this year’s VIA Visionaries guest speakers, we’ve got a treat for you: this summer we are bringing you a solid line-up of speakers ranging from image verification to sustainability. Follow along on VIA’s website and social media (LinkedIn, X, Instagram, Threads) for the latest.

VIA Visionaries: Cybersecurity Lessons from the Frontlines with Stan Byers of USAID

Have you ever wondered what role cybersecurity plays in development and humanitarian aid organizations? Us too! That’s why we’ve invited Stan Byers, Cybersecurity Team Lead at USAID, to VIA’s HQ to chat with our CEO, Colin Gounden, for the latest installment of our VIA Visionaries interview series.

Holding true to the purpose of our VIA Visionaries series, Stan shares a collective mission with VIA of making our communities cleaner, safer, and more equitable. We’re going to chat about Stan’s role at USAID, an independent U.S. government agency that is responsible for administering civilian foreign aid and development assistance, and his remarkable career. From advocating for clean energy in post-conflict regions to driving cybersecurity initiatives at the national level, Stan has surely cemented his standing as an exceptional expert in cybersecurity and humanitarian aid.

Be sure to RSVP for the event on our LinkedIn page and tune in to our YouTube channel on Thursday, May 16, 2024 at 2:30pm ET to watch!

President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology acknowledges VIA’s CEO Colin Gounden for his contributions to report on cyber-physical resilience

In February, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) published a 50-page comprehensive report titled, “Strategy for Cyber-Physical Resilience: Fortifying Our Critical Infrastructure for a Digital World.” As described on their official website, PCAST is the “the sole body of advisors from outside the federal government charged with making science, technology, and innovation policy recommendations to the President and the White House.” 

The report, presented directly to the President of the United States, discusses the staggering increase in risks to our cyber and physical systems as they have become deeply intertwined (e.g., electricity, water, communications, among other critical systems) and provides actionable recommendations to protect them.

As our devoted followers know, VIA’s mission is to make communities cleaner, safer, and more equitable. Our experience working with the United States Department of Defense and Department of Energy along with our expertise in cyber and physical systems, caught the attention of Dr. Georgianna (George) Shea, Chief Technologist of Transformative Cyber Innovation Lab Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD). We are grateful Dr. Shea selected VIA for an interview for the PCAST report to gain a deeper understanding of VIA solutions as they relate to the security of our nation. Dr. Shea remarked on her experience working with our team at VIA:

Dr. Georgianna (George) Shea

Dr. Georgianna (George) Shea

“In my role as Chief Technologist at a defense-focused think tank, I constantly seek solutions that address tomorrow’s threats. VIA has been an invaluable partner in this mission. Their deep expertise and collaborative spirit were instrumental in my work with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Transformative Cyber Innovation Lab.

One aspect of VIA’s work that has particularly impressed me is their exploration of web3 technologies, such as zero-knowledge proofs. Through our partnership with VIA, we have witnessed the potential of secure data sharing among various stakeholders while maintaining compliance with stringent privacy regulations. This perfectly aligns with our mission to advocate for advanced solutions that bolster national security.

I extend special gratitude to VIA’s CEO, Colin Gounden, for contributing to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology report titled ‘Strategy for Cyber-Physical Resilience: Fortifying our Critical Infrastructure for a Digital World.’ Additionally, I commend Haden Snyder for his forward-thinking approach to implementing some of the report’s recommendations through secure technical means.”

In addition to the interview, we’re also appreciative of the opportunity to review and provide feedback during the writing process for this authoritative report.

VIA is acknowledged among numerous other highly reputable organizations including the National Security Agency, the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, Idaho National Laboratory, and many more. For those of you who are equally as committed to cybersecurity in critical infrastructure as we are, and are interested in discussing this topic further, send a message to us at info@solvewithvia.com. Let’s work together to protect and improve the lives and livelihoods of our fellow citizens.

Download the PCAST report and be sure to check out the last page for a special acknowledgement.

VIA leadership invited to host a kiosk at Second Front Systems’ Offset Symposium in Washington, D.C.

VIA’s Chief Commercial Officer, Joe Babiec and Director, Client Delivery, Haden Snyder will be hosting a kiosk at the Second Front Systems’ Offset Symposium Customer Gallery on May 16, 2024 in Washington, D.C. This event brings together leading national security professionals, including renowned speakers, leaders in emerging tech, government, and venture capital.

VIA will be showcasing our AI-enabled electrical vehicle fleet optimization and energy resilience solution, eJARVIS. There is still time to register, visit Second Front’s website to secure your spot and catch Joe and Haden in person: https://ow.ly/rgGj50R5afG

MIT Energy Initiative’s Graham Turk hosts VIA’s CEO Colin Gounden on location at MIT for VIA Visionaries interview

The month of April is filled with reasons to celebrate our mission here at VIA: making our communities cleaner, safer, and more equitable. During April, we celebrate Earth Day, Drive Electric Earth Month, and one of our favorite VIA Visionaries interviews, which happened to be on location at MIT, with a dear friend of VIA’s, Graham Turk.

This VIA Visionaries interview was particularly special for us, it was the first time we were on location, and at MIT to boot. We’ve also known Graham for some time, dating back to when he was Head of Customer Care at Green Mountain Power, a company well known for providing 100% carbon-free electricity to 266,000 customers across Vermont.

Before recapping the interview, let’s dive into Graham’s impressive background.

Behind the scenes with Graham Turk and Colin Gounden at MIT.

Graham has dedicated his career to promoting clean energy through research, innovation strategies, customer care, and teaching. Currently, he is a Graduate Research Assistant at the MIT Energy Initiative where he studies the impacts of rapid electrification and explores tariff designs to promote the adoption of electric vehicles and heat pumps (an Earth Day great!). 

Prior to this, he held several roles at Green Mountain Power, where his innovative leadership led to pioneering programs in battery storage, electric vehicle charging, and flexible demand management. Earlier in his career, as a Fulbright Scholar at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, Graham conducted research on energy markets and built a small-scale prototype of a peer-to-peer energy trading platform. His commitment to sustainable practices and his ability to unravel complex energy challenges make him an exemplary leader in the clean energy space.

Chatting live on camera at MIT for 30 minutes, Colin and Graham covered an array of topics including why he chose to join a utility, how he sees renters participating in the energy economy, and all about his blog, The Power Trip which covers energy market pricing (go check it out!). Early in the interview, Colin asked Graham about the project he was most proud of at Green Mountain Power and his answer reinforced why we consider him a VIA Visionary on this Earth Day:

We were able to work with the State House in Vermont. They had an old diesel generator in their basement and instead of replacing it with another diesel generator for backup, they put a battery inside of it that we were able to use for similar purposes, like bringing down costs for all customers. So, the Vermont State House at that point was the first state house in the country to have batteries for all of its emergency loads. A fun little trivia question, if anyone ever asks that at Thursday trivia!”

Colin chimed in with another fun fact: 

“It’s a good observation. Government buildings, in some instances, can be the first trials for lots of things. I want to say, The White House had solar panels put on it in the 70s, some of the first solar panels, because they could!”

Watch the full video below to hear Graham talk about other projects he was proud of at Green Mountain Power, including one with Tesla!

We’re thrilled to showcase Graham’s passion for clean energy and fixing utility rates for our communities as part of our “What’s your mission?” Earth Day series. Thank you again, Graham and the gracious folks at MIT, for hosting our first on location VIA Visionaries livestream.

Follow along on VIA’s website and social media (LinkedIn, X, Instagram, Threads) for the latest on how we are living our mission each day and to keep an eye out for our next VIA Visionaries interview. 

VIA team travels to France for the finals of ABB Scaleup Challenge 2024

We made it to the finals of the ABB Scaleup Challenge 2024! What started out as 150+ high-caliber competitors from 35 countries around the world has dwindled down to three (including us!) in our category: Smart Buildings.

VIA team members, CEO Colin Gounden, Client Delivery Lead, Becky McClements, and Expansion Manager, Ray Neubauer, can’t wait to showcase the value of Skylight in Switzerland to support grid resilience, carbon reduction, and data protection. The final 2.5 day event takes place in Sophia Antipolis, France from April 25-27. The winner will be announced at the end of the day on April 26th, followed by a fun-filled day on April 27th at the 7th Monaco E-Prix race.

Follow along on LinkedInXInstagram, and Threads to hear the latest from VIA in this journey!

Fast and Curious 7: Verified Computation using ZKPs

After the success of our Fast and Curious blog series on blockchain and ZKPs, we’ve had many questions from our customers about how we balance privacy and verification. So, watch the special, 2-minute Director’s Cut video below to learn how we accomplish this!

Below is a transcript of the video:

Welcome to a Director’s Cut, extra edition of our series on ZKPs. 

We had terrific interest in our original series from last year. Today, we’re going to address one question that came up from a customer about balancing privacy and verification

In our previous videos, we used the example of verifying things like carbon used by a vehicle. We explained how a ZKP could be used to keep the data private, like, time, date, location, and owner of the vehicle, and yet, still prove its carbon usage. 

The question our customer had was: How do I know the calculation was done correctly, especially if I can’t see the data? 

That’s a good question! 

In most cases, verification and privacy are at odds. The traditional way that you verify something is you audit it and look at all the data, but that’s the opposite of privacy. 

So, let’s take an example. 

The U.S. and Europe have different ways to calculate carbon. How do I know that a company applied the right standard or any standard for that matter to compute its carbon for a specific vehicle? Well, in this case, the calculation or the math is public and our latest generation of ZKPs can be used to verify the calculations. 

So, as long as the math is not a trade secret or proprietary algorithm, any third party can independently verify that the calculation is performed as promised without having to share the original data and without having to redo the whole calculation again. 

This is particularly valuable when not only is the data private, but also when there’s a lot of data, like billions of rows of data, or the calculation is pretty complicated. So, you have a lot of computation power that might be needed and you don’t really want to redo the whole data set and the calculation again.

This kind of verified computation is a new feature in the latest generation of ZKPs that we’re using. And, for a lot of things like carbon and energy verification, it’s pretty useful. 

Feel free to reach out to us at VIA to learn more about how we’re applying ZKPs to create a no trade-off solution for verification and privacy for big enterprises.

Can’t get enough of these Fast and Curious videos? Well, we want to hear from you! What topics should we cover next? Drop a note in our inbox to let us know: info@solvewithvia.com.

 

Arnab Chatterjee, Postdoctoral Researcher at EMPA, joined VIA’s CEO Colin Gounden for a chat about Swiss energy systems

If you tuned into our seventh VIA Visionaries livestream of 2024, you’ll know that our interview with Arnab Chatterjee was packed with things we value here at VIA: Energy efficiency! Smart buildings! User behavior! AI! Switzerland! If you happened to miss it, you’re in luck, we’ve got a solid recap of the interview and the full recording below!

Though this was our first time meeting Arnab in person, we’ve chatted virtually and have met a lot of the intellectually curious and energy-engaged folks at EMPA over the years.  So, naturally, we were excited to get Arnab in front of our team of VIAneers in Somerville and devoted followers tuned in around the world, to hear about his research at EMPA, which is focused on user behavior and energy systems. As you know, this particular topic is of interest to us – we recently made it to the final round of the ABB Scaleup Challenge 2024 in the Smart Buildings category, where we will showcase Skylight’s carbon reduction potential in Switzerland.

Here is a little background on Arnab:

Arnab Chatterjee and Colin Gounden discussing Swiss energy systems.

Arnab Chatterjee and Colin Gounden discussing Swiss energy systems.

Arnab is a postdoctoral researcher at EMPA’s Urban Energy Systems Lab. Through his extensive experience around the globe, including research roles in Italy and his current work in Switzerland, he has cultivated a deep understanding of building performance, energy systems, and user comfort. In particular, Arnab is focused on incorporating user behavior into developing smart buildings, which includes occupant comfort and how they interact with automated building technologies. In addition, Arnab’s current work involves testing new technologies for practical applications, including notable projects like SWEET LANTERN, a Swiss Government funded, 8-year initiative to support the transition to 100% renewable energy.

Chatting on a beautiful morning at VIA HQ for nearly 30 minutes, Arnab answered questions ranging from how buildings contribute to energy and carbon emissions, to the way advances in AI will impact energy, and how user behavior compares in Switzerland versus the U.S. One of our favorite moments was when Colin asked Arnab to talk a little more about user behavior. And, we were intrigued to learn something new:

“Current building standards are a bit too restrictive on the temperature set points, creating issues on two different levels. First, we are adding too much operational energy usage by creating an environment that is too narrow and second, it doesn’t let the metabolic activity or the metabolic rate of the human body vary. This is not good in the long term.

What is the solution? 

Why not try to create an indoor temperature that varies a bit more? So, for example, having 21℃, and moving constantly for heating, why not let it vary from 18℃ to 21℃ [64℉ to 70℉]? So, we can kill two birds with one stone. We can save energy and let the metabolic exertion of the human body happen.”

To hear the full question and response, and Colin’s hilarious reaction “Any time people say the office is too hot or too cold, I’ll tell them, it’s for your metabolic rate!” – watch the video below!

We’re thrilled to have hosted our seventh VIA Visionaries livestream with such a passionate individual. As Colin said in the interview, “we have a value called love in = love out, if you love what you do it shows, and I think it clearly shows that you love buildings.”

Follow along on VIA’s website and social media (LinkedIn, X, Instagram, Threads) to hear more about our role in the LANTERN project and to keep an eye out for our next VIA Visionaries interview. 

VIA Visionaries: Exploring Swiss Energy Systems with Arnab Chatterjee

If there’s one thing devoted VIA followers know about us: we love all things clean energy and Switzerland 🇨🇭! That’s precisely why we are thrilled to host Arnab Chatterjee, Postdoctoral Researcher at EMPA’s Urban Energy Systems Lab, for the latest installment of our VIA Visionaries interview series.

In Arnab’s current role at EMPA, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research in Switzerland, he is involved in research projects that explore user behavior and energy systems using machine learning. One project we are particularly excited to chat with Arnab about is called LANTERN (Living Labs Interfaces for Energy Transition). LANTERN is an 8-year clean energy project, one that VIA is proud to be a partner in. To hear more about this project and Arnab’s experience in developing smarter, more energy-efficient buildings, tune in to our livestream on Friday, April 5th at 10:30am ET, by RSVPing on our LinkedIn event page.

VIA attending Energy Exchange in Pittsburgh, PA

VIA’s Chief Commercial Officer, Joe Babiec, and Director, Client Delivery, Haden Snyder will be attending the upcoming Energy Exchange conference, hosted by the Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program.

Renowned as the largest agency-driven training event and tradeshow for the federal utility community, the event focuses on innovative strategies, emerging technologies and solutions paramount to advancing towards a clean energy economy. Further details on the event can be found on the Energy Exchange website.

VIA’s Chief Commercial Officer, Joe Babiec and Senior Government Solutions Specialist, Sam Cruickshank attend AFCEA New Horizons 2024 Event

VIA’s Chief Commercial Officer, Joe Babiec and Senior Government Solutions Specialist, Sam Cruickshank attended AFCEA’s annual New Horizons event in Newton, MA – just around the corner from VIA’s HQ. The event brings together industry, academia, government, and military experts, to cover the latest in science and technology for defense and homeland security. Further details about the AFCEA Lexington-Concord chapter, visit their website: https://www.afcealexcon.org/.

AWS invites VIA’s Chief Commercial Officer Joe Babiec to represent VIA at CERAWeek Innovation Agora

AWS has invited VIA’s Chief Commercial Officer, Joe Babiec, to host a booth at AWS’ Agora House during CERAWeek 2024. According to the Financial Times, CERAWeek is “arguably the most important event on the energy industry’s calendar.” Innovation Agora is CERAWeek’s open marketplace hosting 200+ pods, 420+ sessions, and 650+ speakers with the goal of sharing ideas and insights on energy innovation, emerging technologies, and solutions.

If you are attending Innovation Agora, reach out to Joe Babiec and meet him at AWS’ Agora House: #370 AB from March 18-21. For more information on the event, check out the Innovation Agora website.

VIA’s Chief Commercial Officer, Joe Babiec, attends Elemental Excelerator’s Clean Energy Business and Innovation Week in Washington, D.C.

Elemental Excelerator invited VIA’s Chief Commercial Officer, Joe Babiec, to join its first-ever Clean Energy Business and Innovation Week event. The highly anticipated event, which took place in Washington, D.C. from March 4-6, 2024, brought together 150+ climate tech companies, policymakers, business leaders, and investors to discuss the importance of the clean energy transition.

During the action-packed event, Joe met with Kaylah Fermaint of the U.S. House of Representatives to talk about VIA’s mission and ventured to Axios’ HQ for a series of interviews that covered the accomplishments of the Inflation Reduction Act. Overall, we were impressed by the commitment of fellow attendees (seen together above) in following a similar mission to VIA’s of making our communities cleaner, safer, and more equitable 🌱.