Transformative Experiences at GDAC™ Virtual Mini-Series Session #2

VIA had a record attendance of nearly 30 participants at the second installment of its GDAC™ Virtual Mini-Series this week. The session included customers from the US, Asia, and New Zealand and participants located in four different time zones, all eager to share their strategy and asset management experience for substation transformers.

The highlight of the event was the GDAC™ member panel led by Cristiano Marantes, Chief Executive of Ara Ake, an organization that connects technology innovation with energy industry leaders to lower emissions in New Zealand. The panel covered questions related to: 

  1. Insights about post-failure analysis of transformers
  2. Value from GDAC™ member gas benchmarks
  3. Business cases supported by the GDAC™ member portal
  4. Future equipment data to include in the GDAC™ program

Kate Ravanis, COO, remarked that “it was highly reaffirming to hear that the GDAC™ portal, launched earlier this year, was already being used to save time (one “person month” in one case) to prepare asset management plans and rate case materials.” 

This was one of many comments by participants in addition to the engineering and maintenance insights that were shared over the 90-minute session.

VIA is thrilled with the response to the mini-series and will continue hosting member (and potential member) events in the future.

To learn more about the GDAC™ program or to try out the 30-Minute Pilot, visit our website.

AFWERX Announces VIA Among Top Teams Selected to exhibit at EngageSpace (September 29-30) The Premier Event for the Space Industry

Somerville, Mass., September 14, 2020 – AFWERX, the catalyst for fostering innovation within the U.S. Air Force, announced VIA as one of the 178 top participating teams selected from The AFWERX Space Challenge initiative to exhibit at EngageSpace, a virtual two-day event on September 29-30.

The AFWERX Space Challenge initiative is made up of four challenges targeted at creating integrated space operations leveraging the best in technology while maintaining security, being resilient and increasing agility. Four challenges were run concurrently focused on separate topics – Persistent ISR, DoD Commercial Space Partnerships, Global Space Transport and Delivery and Space Asset Resiliency.

Located in Somerville, VIA is competing in the Persistent ISR Challenge alongside a diverse group of teams that represent entrepreneurial startups, small businesses, large enterprises, academic institutions and research labs.

“The solutions submitted for these space challenges represent the bleeding edge of space innovation,” stated Brennan Townley, AFWERX Challenge Collaboration Lead. “We’re excited to highlight these innovators and connect them with opportunities across the Space ecosystem.”

The Persistent ISR Challenge strives to bring together the existing and future technology solutions to create a comprehensive Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) system that spans the globe.

Trusted Analytics Chain™ (TAC™) from Via Science Inc. (VIA) simplifies the fusion and tracking of data from disparate systems. TAC™ offers USAF Commanders a robust and flexible data fusion layer to feed operational dashboards, AI/ML-enabled decision support systems, or predictive analytics tools. Unlike other platforms, TAC™ brings an analyst’s query or algorithm to where data is located, runs analysis there, and only returns to the analyst authorized answers. This avoids the cost and complexity of centralizing data or creating data lakes.

The EngageSpace event will feature highly engaging opportunities to connect, educate and innovate with other like-minded attendees, industry leaders, individual innovators, academia, investors, as well as military and government leaders. The entire event is designed to transform and accelerate the industry, and enable government buyers to pursue the most promising innovative solutions to the most pressing and threatening Space scenarios.

Register for the EngageSpace event by visiting https://engage.space

“Data fusion is inherently complicated because essential data is distributed across physical or virtual storage locations; formats; degrees of quality and completeness; levels of security classification; and ownership (e.g., DOD, commercial vendor, public domain, etc.). We’re honored to be one of the few selected to present TAC™  to the Space and Missile Systems Center and Pacific Air Forces to address this need,” said Joe Babiec, VIA’s Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives.

About VIA

VIA helps governments, regulators, and power companies deliver $200Bn in energy every year to more than 100 million customers. VIA’s privacy-preserving analytics software, Trusted Analytics Chain™ (TAC™) reduces the cost and improves the quality of service of electricity transmission and distribution using AI and blockchain technologies. TAC™ (patents pending) is the bridge that securely connects power company data, distributed across many locations, to potential AI solutions. VIA established the Global Data Asset Collaborative™ (GDAC™), built on top of TAC™, to allow multiple companies to securely pool data for more accurate analytics. Headquartered in Somerville, Massachusetts, VIA has received an InnovateMass grant from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and has been featured in Wired and Inc. Magazine for its leadership in technology innovation. For more information, please visit www.solvewithvia.com.

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ABOUT AFWERX

Established in 2017, AFWERX is a product of the U.S. Air Force, directly envisioned by former Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson. Her vision of AFWERX — to solve some of the toughest challenges that the Air Force faces through innovation and collaboration amongst our nation’s top subject matter experts. AFWERX serves as a catalyst to unleash new approaches for the warfighter through a growing ecosystem of innovators. AFWERX and the U.S. Air Force are committed to exploring viable solutions and partnerships to further strengthen the Air Force, which could lead to additional prototyping, R&D, and follow-on production contracts.

Fast Company named AFWERX Best Workplaces for Innovators on the 2020 List, honoring the top 100 businesses and organizations that demonstrate a deep commitment to encouraging innovation at all levels. AFWERX, U.S. Air Force’s innovation arm and catalyst for fostering innovation within the Air Force, came in at #16 ranking in the top 20 alongside brands such as Microsoft, Google, and Amazon. Preview the live announcement with Stephanie Mehta, Editor-in-Chief of Fast Company, unveiled during the AFWERX Fusion 2020 Base of the Future Event & Showcase.

Media Contacts:

Tracy Skenandore / Makenzie Coombs

AFWERX@kirvindoak.com

 

VIA’s TAC™ Platform Used by Competing Analysts at Swiss Energy Hackathon to Analyze Private Data

The Energy Data Hackdays 2020 hackathon in Switzerland this past weekend marked a major milestone for VIA. This was the first time our Trusted Analytics Chain™ (TAC™) software platform was used by multiple independent third-party analysts in a highly competitive and time-compressed environment. 

A team from Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU) in Switzerland used TAC™ to analyze data in the US and Asia. No data was transferred to the analysts.

The HSLU team wearing their VIA t-shirts while using TAC™ as their data analysis platform during last weekend’s hackathon.

Why was this significant?

Swiss law prohibits many different types of data from leaving the country. This means:

  1. In many cases, cloud services cannot be used to store data (e.g., AWS does not have servers in Switzerland) 
  2. Use of foreign analysts, or international benchmarking and other kinds of analyses are impossible

This kind of “locally trapped data” is common across the globe. We have heard many companies who have subsidiaries in the EU, US, and China lament that they cannot analyze or compare data even internally.

VIA’s TAC™ platform was designed specifically to solve this problem (see Let’s TAC™ About It blog series for more details on how this works). For demo purposes, VIA also placed a smart meter dataset on an Azure server in Switzerland connected to TAC™. Analysts used Amazon AWS workstations hosted in the UK to analyze the data remotely.

Final hackathon presentation from Ben Bowler of HSLU.

Why use TAC™ during a hackathon? 

The promise of privacy-preserving analysis is compelling but it also has to be fast and easy. Can you really analyze data without seeing it? A hackathon is the perfect environment to validate this. That is, can analysts who are unfamiliar with this approach and the TAC™ platform learn it quickly enough to generate analytical results in a time restricted environment?

The answer at the Swiss hackathon was: yes.

Ben Bowler, Senior Research Associate – Intelligent Energy Systems, of HSLU said:

“For data analysts used to being the owner and master of their datasets, TAC™ represented a complete paradigm shift. It created the opportunity to access private, hidden datasets, allowing analysts to create insights from a global pool of data that would have been impossible without TAC™, even in a limited space of time. 

In a world where data privacy is becoming increasingly important, the ability to access data in this way will become essential. There were challenges and lessons to be learned in preserving data privacy using TAC™, but the support provided by the VIA team was excellent and allowed the analysts to equip themselves with the skills necessary to analyze sensitive data without transferring it from its owner. We are looking forward to taking the challenge forward, and are also investigating smart meter applications, where we see huge potential for this technology.

The HSLU team was able to demonstrate that significant insights can be gained through TAC™ even while data remains remote. More details of the specific analysis will be featured in upcoming blogs.

Are you interested in a hackathon for your data while keeping it private and secure? Reach out to us at info@solvewithvia.com.

 

Hawaiian Electric Extends Commitment to GDAC™: Substation Transformers

VIA and Hawaiian Electric are pleased to share that Hawaiian Electric has extended its commitment to the Global Data Asset Collaborative™ (GDAC™): Substation Transformers. By extending and expanding its commitment to GDAC™, Hawaiian Electric hopes to further improve decision making and regulatory support related to its transformer fleet. In its second year, Hawaiian Electric plans to use GDAC™ to more effectively assess the current and predicted health of its transformers to better plan and prioritize proactive replacements, strengthen spares assessment and contingency planning, and identify opportunities to further enhance its substation transformer preventive maintenance.

Hawaiian Electric recognized that GDAC™, from its founding, has the potential to develop new insights and enhance its current predictive capabilities by using advanced data science and analytics to learn from Hawaiian Electric’s and partner utilities’ historical transformer condition and failure data. Since then, in 2019, Hawaiian Electric helped increase GDAC™ membership by including its Maui County and Hawaiʻi Island operating areas, to expand analysis from more than 300 substation transformers on Oʻahu to 500-plus across Maui, Lānaʻi, Molokaʻi, and Hawaiʻi Island.

“Hawaiian Electric has in the past performed various types of predictive analytics to forecast annual failures, determine adequate spares inventory, and estimate expected remaining life for our substation transformers. We joined GDAC™ to enhance our capabilities by learning from other members and learning more about the application of artificial intelligence and machine learning,” said Rick Pinkerton, Hawaiian Electric director of asset planning & strategy.

“We’re thrilled that Hawaiian Electric has extended its GDAC™ membership. At the end of last year, Hawaiian Electric was named “Utility of the Year” by Utility Dive for being a trailblazer in the industry and for its commitment to 100% clean energy by 2045 or earlier. Having the support of such an innovative and driven company can only help lead the entire utility industry to a more data-driven future,” said Kristen Merrill, VIA’s Vice President, Client Delivery.

Hawaiian Electric is supporting the recruitment of other members to join GDAC™: Substation Transformers to bolster predictive capabilities, gain more insights about their fleet, and to share practices and expertise.

About VIA

VIA helps governments, regulators, and power companies deliver $200Bn in energy every year to more than 100 million customers. VIA’s privacy-preserving analytics software, Trusted Analytics Chain™ (TAC™) reduces the cost and improves the quality of service of electricity transmission and distribution using AI and blockchain technologies. TAC™ (patents pending) is the bridge that securely connects power company data, distributed across many locations, to potential AI solutions. VIA established the Global Data Asset Collaborative™ (GDAC™), built on top of TAC™, to allow multiple companies to securely pool data for more accurate analytics. Headquartered in Somerville, Massachusetts, VIA has received an InnovateMass grant from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and has been featured in Wired and Inc. Magazine for its leadership in technology innovation. For more information, please visit www.solvewithvia.com.

About Hawaiian Electric

Hawaiian Electric serves 95 percent of Hawaiʻi’s 1.4 million residents on the islands of Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi Island, Maui, Lānaʻi and Molokaʻi, and has a goal of 100 percent renewables by 2045.

VIA Wins Swiss National Energy Project

VIA, a leader in providing energy analytics while maintaining data privacy and security, has been awarded funding from the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) for a project called KnowlEDGE. The joint proposal with Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU), Romande Energie SA, and a major smart meter manufacturer, was the top ranked amongst submissions that were selected from a lengthy and highly competitive judging process.

“We are proud to have been selected as the top submission by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy. Together with HSLU and Romande Energie, we will enhance VIA’s Trusted Analytics Chain™ (TAC™) capabilities to run AI algorithms directly on smart meters, also known as edge computing,” said Jeremy Taylor, VIA’s Chief Scientific Officer.

The project will be delivered in Switzerland and led by HSLU. Ben Bowler, from HSLU, said, “this project is an exciting opportunity to bring together leading technology and advanced data science in a way that will benefit utilities and clean energy adoption both within Switzerland and globally.” 

Through the support of SFOE’s program, the collaborative will develop edge computing capabilities on smart meters. This will enable increased data privacy since data from individual meters will not be centralized.

The project will also increase temporal resolution of data, meaning more data can be analyzed more frequently. Traditional methods only allowed for 15, 30, or 60-minute intervals of smart meter data analysis due to the size of data and privacy concerns. With edge computing, this data can be analyzed every minute. This will allow real-time feedback to consumers on their energy usage and better preventative maintenance (e.g., upgrades to transformers because EVs are readily detected).

About VIA

VIA helps governments, regulators, and power companies deliver $200Bn in energy every year to more than 100 million customers. VIA’s privacy-preserving analytics software, Trusted Analytics Chain™ (TAC™) reduces the cost and improves the quality of service of electricity transmission and distribution using AI and blockchain technologies. TAC™ (patents pending) is the bridge that securely connects power company data, distributed across many locations, to potential AI solutions. VIA established the Global Data Asset Collaborative™ (GDAC™), built on top of TAC™, to allow multiple companies to securely pool data for more accurate analytics. Headquartered in Somerville, Massachusetts, VIA has received an InnovateMass grant from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and has been featured in Wired and Inc. Magazine for its leadership in technology innovation. For more information, please visit www.solvewithvia.com.

VIA Listed Among 32 Technology Startups Redefining Energy by StartUS Insights

VIA is proud to be recognized by StartUS Insights as one of 32 companies out of nearly 10,000 surveyed that are changing the energy landscape.

According to StartUS Insights:

“We analyzed 9.926 energy technology startups and emerging companies working on solutions for the energy sector that are highly relevant for accelerating the progress of the seventh SDG of ‘Clean & Affordable Energy For All’.”

For the full article including visuals and overviews of other companies, visit the StartUS Insights website.

 

VIA Interviewed for Carbotnic Podcast

James McWalter of Carbotnic, a podcast that covers cleantech founders and investors, interviewed VIA’s CEO, Colin Gounden for a podcast titled, “Energy and Data Silos”.

In the podcast, Colin answers questions about how VIA solves problems for utilities, data issues that hamper machine learning, VIA’s 30-Minute Pilot process, how COVID-19 has actually increased efficiencies of VIA’s teamwork, and more on company culture and recruiting.

To listen to the podcast, visit the Carbotnic website or click the play button below!

VIA Wins $1.5M U.S. Air Force Contract

VIA, a leader in providing energy analytics while maintaining data privacy and security, is pleased to share that the company has been awarded a $1.5M contract with the U.S. Air Force to provide secure and privacy-protected analysis of data. Under the contract, VIA’s Trusted Analytics Chain (TAC™) software platform will reduce the cost and increase the security and privacy of artificial intelligence and other data analysis.

TAC™ works by reversing the traditional relationship between analyst and data. Instead of transmitting a copy of sensitive data to an analyst, TAC™ brings an analyst’s algorithms in a controlled and auditable way to where data is located, runs analysis there, and returns only authorized answers back to the analyst. The underlying data is never revealed.

TAC™ also uses AI to wrangle and harmonize data to reduce data transformation costs. At a U.S. Air Force air base, the TAC™ Ingestion Engine (TIE) will be used to preprocess data. An audit trail will be created for all preprocessing steps including AI-enabled data wrangling, AI-enabled filtering of files for personally identifiable information (PII), and harmonizing of data from multiple sources.

Follow along on the VIA latest page for more information on current projects.

VIA Moves Technology Team from Griffintown to Purpose-Built Center in Downtown Montreal

VIA, a leader in providing energy analytics while maintaining data privacy and security, is pleased to share that the company is moving its technology center from Griffintown to downtown Montreal. The move follows several months of scouting locations and gathering team needs and “wishlists”.

“In the last twelve months, VIA has grown five-fold and is set to double again this year. With this period of explosive growth, we needed a new location that met the needs of both our current and future team,” said Emma Fechney, VIA’s Head of People and Operations.

She continued, “We are excited to be part of the thriving AI network in Montreal. We aspire to make our space not only better suited to our growth but appealing to the academic and technical community by creating dedicated space for hosting future events and meetups. We made a decision to take an entire floor. This provides us increased room to accommodate both social distancing and growth.”

Key features of the new space includes four mother’s rooms, shower facilities, a non-binary bathroom, private access to our own floor, car parking, and space for bike storage. The new office is located just across the street from McGill University’s campus, has an exceptional view of Mont Royal, and is highly accessible by public transportation. McGill metro station is just a two-minute walk away.

Construction and personalization of the office space is currently underway. VIA is planning to allow optional attendance to the new office space beginning August 15th.

About VIA

VIA helps governments, regulators, and power companies deliver $200Bn in energy every year to more than 100 million customers. VIA’s privacy-preserving analytics software, Trusted Analytics Chain™ (TAC™) reduces the cost and improves the quality of service of electricity transmission and distribution using AI and blockchain technologies. TAC™ (patents pending) is the bridge that securely connects power company data, distributed across many locations, to potential AI solutions. VIA established the Global Data Asset Collaborative™ (GDAC™), built on top of TAC™, to allow multiple companies to securely pool data for more accurate analytics. Headquartered in Somerville, Massachusetts, VIA has been featured in Wired and Inc. Magazine for its leadership in technology innovation. For more information, please visit www.solvewithvia.com.

VIA Hosts First Installment of GDAC™ Virtual Mini-Series

Last week, VIA was proud to host the first session of its GDAC™ Virtual Mini-Series. The event was invite-only and had over 20 participants including members from founding utilities, Hawaiian Electric and Vector. 

VIA advisor and former ABB executive, Andrew Bright gave a keynote presentation on two topics: physical resiliency trends for power transformers and trends in sensors. 

In addition to Andrew’s keynote, VIA presented “GDAC™ By The Numbers” (click image below) that covered quick stats on data, equipment, portal enhancements, and more for members.

Given the success of this first event, VIA hopes to continue the series and open it up to external participants to allow for a better understanding of GDAC™’s value. If you are interested in learning more about GDAC™, please email gdac@solvewithvia.com.

VIA’s TAC™ Simultaneously Runs on Multiple Cloud Platforms

VIA is pleased to announce the first two customer implementations of its TAC™ platform on multiple cloud infrastructures including AWS, AWS GovCloud (US), and Azure and mixed cloud environments (e.g., DVM on Azure and TAC™ nodes on AWS). 

“In order to serve VIA’s growing customer base, we have to interoperate with all major cloud provider platforms including Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. For companies to benefit from pooling their data together (like our GDAC™ program does), we need to be able to support the cloud platforms where their data is located,” said Jeremy Taylor, VIA’s Chief Scientific Officer.

“Unlike other platforms, TAC™ brings analysts’ queries to the data. This means that analysis needs to be run wherever the customer has their data which could include any of the major cloud providers or even on premise. TAC™’s capability to run on both AWS and Azure expands the number of datasets available to train and test AI models,” explained Ashley DaSilva, VIA’s Team Leader, Product Development. 

For continued developments on VIA’s TAC™ platform, be sure to see the latest on our website.

 

Tracxn Includes VIA in “Top Renewable Energy Tech” List

Tracxn, a market research platform that tracks startups, private companies, and innovative sectors, has included VIA for the second time this year in one of its 2020 Emerging Startups lists. In January, VIA earned a spot on their “Top Emerging Blockchain Startups” list. This time, VIA is among nine companies in the “Top Renewable Energy Tech” list and is again considered a “Minicorn.”

Tracxn describes what it means to be one of their Emerging Startups:

Tracxn Emerging Startups provides a handpicked selection of high growth and high potential companies, founded since 2013, that are making an impact in the new-age sectors. The shortlisting is based on a combination of multiple publicly available signals and detailed analysis of the company by our internal sector specialist teams. The companies that make the cut are the ones that show promising performance on multiple parameters – market size, investment by marquee investors, execution excellence and future growth prospects.”

For more on the “Top Renewable Energy Tech” list, visit the Tracxn website.

 

Kate Ravanis Interviewed for Profile of a Founder Blog

VIA’s Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder, Kate Ravanis, was interviewed by The Tech Tribune for its Profile of a Founder blog. The blog features founders of companies selected by The Tech Tribune as the “Best Tech Startups,” from cities in the US. VIA was included as one of eight companies on the 2020 Best Tech Startups in Somerville list.

In the interview, Kate gives some insight on how VIA got its start, challenges along the way, and what the future holds for the company. She also gives some thoughtful advice for aspiring entrepreneurs:

“We have lots of values at VIA that I live by every day. I think the one that is most important and has made the most impact on my career is “love in = love out”. The idea behind the value is if you love what you do, it will show in all your interactions with colleagues, clients, and work. There are so many challenges that you will encounter on your journey, and it is often hard to see how you will get beyond them. I have found just focusing on the things that I truly believe in and the reasons that got me started in the first place have translated to stronger partnerships, customer relationships, and ultimately a team of colleagues who will stick by you until you come out successful on the other side.”

For the full interview, check out The Tech Tribune’s blog.

The Tech Tribune Includes VIA in 2020 Best Tech Startups in Somerville

VIA is pleased to share that we have been included in The Tech Tribune’s 2020 Best Tech Startups in Somerville list. The list includes eight startups in Somerville with solutions that range from 3D printing to 360 degree smart video conferencing cameras to software for the rental real estate market.

According to the Tech Tribune, there were four factors in deciding the top startups including (1) revenue potential, (2) leadership team, (3) brand / product traction, and (4) competitive landscape. 

For the full list of startups, check out their website.

 

VIA Selected as a Finalist for EPRI’s Incubatenergy Labs Challenge

VIA is pleased to share that we have been selected as one of 17 companies, out of over 130 applicants, for the next round of EPRI’s Incubatenergy Labs Challenge. As part of being a finalist in the program, VIA will participate in Challenge Pitch Day in the beginning of April.

Incubatenergy Labs was created to connect innovative startups in the energy space with major utilities for demonstration projects. Erik Steeb, who leads the Incubatenergy Labs program at EPRI said of the selected group of startups:

“The finalists’ applications outline technologies that may provide electric power customers effective energy management solutions and utilities new tools to maintain system quality, reliability, and efficiency while supporting sector-wide decarbonization.”

For more information, see EPRI’s recent announcement.