Electric Light and Power Features Via Science Proof-of-Concept with PJM Interconnection

A leading electric industry news source, Electric Light and Power, featured Via Science in a recent article; “PJM picks Via Science to help mitigate fuel supply risks during extreme weather events.”

The article talks about the work Via Science will be doing with PJM Interconnection (PJM) to help mitigate risks to fuel supply for electricity generation during extreme weather events. At the end of the article, it mentions that “After a live evaluation phase, it is anticipated that this initiative can move to full deployment using Via Science’s new blockchain application, allowing PJM to analyze transmission-specific data without the risks inherent in transferring data.”

Via Science Selected by PJM to Help Mitigate Fuel Supply Risks During Extreme Weather Events

Somerville, MA – November 1, 2017 – Via Science, Inc. is pleased to announce that they have been selected by PJM Interconnection LLC to work on a proof-of-concept that will help mitigate risks to fuel supply for electricity generation during extreme weather events.

The interdependence of the United States grid infrastructure makes the delivery of energy across the nation uniquely vulnerable to unpredictable events like extreme weather. While grid operators have spent decades preparing for such risk, the use of artificial intelligence shows great promise for improving grid reliability and security as well as mitigating potential issues before they occur.

Via Science will work on a proof-of-concept with PJM to help identify where specific risks are in the gas and electric interdependency system to ensure the grid is resilient during unexpected events, like a polar vortex.

“We are honored to have been chosen by PJM to help them ensure their more than 65 million customers have safe and reliable electric service, this winter and beyond,” said Colin Gounden, CEO of Via Science. “We are confident that the combination of our software and the decades of expertise within the PJM team will provide a better solution than either of them alone.”

After a live evaluation phase, it is anticipated that this initiative can move to full deployment using Via Science’s new blockchain application, allowing PJM to analyze transmission-specific data without the risks inherent in transferring data.

About Via Science
Via Science creates software applications that identify and prioritize risks to critical infrastructure using a combination of artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, and causal analytics. Headquartered in Somerville, Massachusetts, Via Science has developed its risk assessment algorithms in conjunction with some of the world’s leading companies and government agencies in energy and security. The company has been featured in Wired Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and Forbes for its expertise in causal analytics software applications. For more information, please visit www.viascience.com.

About PJM
PJM Interconnection, founded in 1927, ensures the reliability of the high-voltage electric power system serving 65 million people in all or parts of Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. PJM coordinates and directs the operation of the region’s transmission grid, which includes over 82,000 miles of transmission lines; administers a competitive wholesale electricity market; and plans regional transmission expansion improvements to maintain grid reliability and relieve congestion. PJM’s regional grid and market operations produce annual savings of $2.8 billion to $3.1 billion. For the latest news about PJM, visit PJM Inside Lines at insidelines.pjm.com.

Via Science Accepted into Elemental Excelerator Program

Somerville, MA – October 19, 2017 – Via Science, Inc. today announced that they have been accepted into Elemental Excelerator’s 2018 cohort. As part of the program’s Demonstration Track, Via Science will receive up to $1M to further develop its new blockchain and distributed learning technology, alongside implementation partners.

“We’re thrilled that Elemental Excelerator has accepted us into their program. With their support, we will work with three new transmission and distribution partners on the development of our application,” said Colin Gounden, CEO of Via Science. “One of the biggest challenges when working with energy companies on AI initiatives is gaining access to sensitive data. Our blockchain technology will address these concerns by keeping data on premise and completely anonymous.”

“This was our most competitive application season to date. 450 companies took the first step to apply and only 12 were selected,” says Jill Sims, COO and Head of Innovation Deployment at Elemental Excelerator. “We saw a major trend in the application of machine learning and artificial intelligence to energy software. Elemental Excelerator is excited to have Via Science join our portfolio. We are looking forward to the long-term impact of their blockchain technology.” With an acceptance rate of less than 3%, Elemental Excelerator works with their global network of investors and energy industry leaders to identify key technology gaps that remain in the sector.

Elemental Excelerator’s global partners include Enel, National Grid, SK Gas, and several others. For more information, see their recent press release as well as an article published in Pacific Business News.

About Via Science
Via Science creates software applications that identify and prioritize risks to critical infrastructure using a combination of artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, and causal analytics. Headquartered in Somerville, Massachusetts, Via Science has developed its risk assessment algorithms in conjunction with some of the world’s leading companies and government agencies in energy and security. The company has been featured in Wired Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and Forbes for its expertise in causal analytics software applications. For more information, please visit www.viascience.com.

About Elemental Excelerator
Elemental Excelerator helps startups change the world, one community at a time. Each year, we find 12-15 companies that best fit our mission and fund each company up to $1 million to improve systems that impact people’s lives: energy, water, agriculture, and transportation. To date, we have awarded over $22 million to 63 companies. What makes us unique? We co-fund, co-design, and co-develop projects and strategies that improve infrastructure and sustainably enhance communities. Our program is funded by a diverse coalition of utility partners, corporate partners, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Department of Energy, state government, and philanthropic organizations. We are a non-profit created in collaboration with Emerson Collective. More information can be found at elementalexcelerator.com.

Via Science Wins Startup Canada’s Innovation Award for Quebec Region

Montreal, QC – September 13, 2017 – Via Science, Inc. accepted Startup Canada’s 2017 Innovation Award for the Quebec region. This award saw a highly competitive pool of candidates, due in large part to Quebec’s recent emergence as an innovation hub.

The award recognized Via Science’s leadership in using artificial intelligence to solve large-scale, high-stakes challenges across critical infrastructure, particularly in the energy industry. As a regional winner, Via Science will advance to the national awards, which will be announced during the Grand Finale in October.

Patrick Harrison of Intuit QuickBooks presented Via Science with the award and remarked that there was a “parallel between what [Via Science] does and what Intuit does on a daily basis, and that is that we try and use analytics, power of the cloud, and AI to help businesses make more informed decisions”.

Chief Scientific Officer Jeremy Taylor and Team Lead, Data Science Bruno Rousseau accepted this honor on Via Science’s behalf at the awards ceremony in Montreal hosted at Le Gare and Ubisoft.

In February, Via Science was a finalist for Techvibes’ Canadian Startup Awards Technology Innovation award.

Patrick Harrison of Intuit QuickBooks with Via Science’s Chief Scientific Officer, Jeremy Taylor and Team Lead, Data Science, Bruno Rousseau

About Via Science
Via Science creates software applications that identify and prioritize risks to critical infrastructure using a combination of artificial intelligence, high-performance computing, and causal analytics. Headquartered in Somerville, Massachusetts, Via Science has developed its risk assessment algorithms in conjunction with some of the world’s leading companies and government agencies in energy and security. The company has been featured in Wired Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and Forbes for its expertise in causal analytics software applications. For more information, please visit www.viascience.com.

About Startup Canada
Startup Canada is the leading national social enterprise supporting and giving a voice to entrepreneurs through online programs, national awards, flagship events, partnerships with private sector and government to foster a community for startup and small business success across the country. Learn more at www.startupcan.ca.

Electrical Contractor Features CEO Colin Gounden

Via Science CEO Colin Gounden was interviewed for the recent Electrical Contractor article “The Internet of Buildings: Connectivity, Data Collection and Monitoring”.

The article discusses the impact the Internet of Buildings could have on energy-conservation measures. Gounden suggests electrical contractors will need to become more computer and analytics savvy in the same way auto mechanics have in recent years: “With this increase in data from connected systems, we will start to see ‘autonomous buildings’ analogous to the autonomous vehicle revolution today with [artificial intelligence] software recommending to contractors equipment upgrades and suggestions of settings.”

Via Science Moves Corporate Headquarters to Somerville, Massachusetts

Somerville, Mass. – July 25, 2017 – Via Science, Inc. today announced its commercial team has moved to a new corporate headquarters located in the Davis Square neighborhood of Somerville, Massachusetts. The new headquarters is located just three miles away from their founding headquarters next to MIT and provides their growing team more space, increased privacy, and an easier commute.

“At Via Science, we have always aspired to be as employee-friendly as possible. Davis Square in Somerville is conveniently accessible from Harvard and MIT, and is an easy walk to the commuter rail, which will significantly reduce the commute time for our team,” said CEO Colin Gounden.

The move also signifies a major milestone for the company: their first private building. “The office space will accommodate our growing team as well as visiting clients and investors. We’re also looking forward to hosting our Montreal technical team this year in Somerville for our semi-annual company offsite,” said Kristen Merrill, VP, Client Service.

About Via Science

Via Science creates software applications that identify and prioritize risks to critical infrastructure using a combination of artificial intelligence, high-performance computing, and causal analytics. Headquartered in Somerville, Massachusetts, Via Science has developed its risk assessment algorithms in conjunction with some of the world’s leading companies and government agencies in energy and security. The company has been featured in Wired Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and Forbes for its expertise in causal analytics software applications. For more information, please visit www.viascience.com.

CEO Colin Gounden Interviewed by The Denki Shimbun

Via Science CEO Colin Gounden was interviewed by The Denki Shimbun, a Japanese energy newspaper, to discuss our joint initiative with TEPCO. The article was originally published in Japanese and we have translated a portion of it below.

The Denki Shimbun

TEPCO and Via Science announced a joint initiative using artificial intelligence (AI) to prevent failure of power transmission equipment. The proof of concept (PoC) will use Via Science’s technology to predict the deterioration of ACSRs and compression joint sleeves. These predictions will optimize TEPCO’s process of inspecting what equipment needs repairs, improving efficiency and reducing cost.

In this initiative, TEPCO will provide Via Science data related to equipment installation location and inspection history. Via Science will analyze the data to determine what factors may contribute to failure.

Although TEPCO has utilized AI in the past to assess risk across their infrastructure, the traditional “black box” systems made it difficult to understand the reasoning of AI decisions. TEPCO said Via Science’s technology provides “a clear causal relationship between data points, and it can be expected to expand the range of utilization.”

“We used AI to analyze equipment operation data and prioritize risk across equipment, which helps reduce cost,” said Gounden. “The results of this PoC could be applied across similar power transmission equipment globally.”

“Our partnership with TEPCO will give us great support as we expand our business across Asia, including Japan. We are excited to build a long-term relationship with TEPCO,” said Gounden.

TEPCO made a strategic investment in Via Science in November 2016 to gain experience with the company’s proprietary AI technology.

NOTE: We have stayed true to the original intent of the article and apologize for any mistranslations.

Via Science and TEPCO Announce Risk Assessment and Predictive Maintenance Initiative

 

The joint initiative will utilize analytics and machine learning in an effort to improve reliability, efficiency, and service for TEPCO’s customers.

 

Cambridge, Mass. – July 6, 2017 – Via Science, Inc. and Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. (TEPCO), today signed their joint initiative to use analytics and machine learning to predict and prevent power disruption due to failure of ACSRs and compression joint sleeves.

“Our team will analyze data from over 17,000 miles of transmission wires across Japan to determine how TEPCO can improve reliability for their customers and simultaneously reduce equipment and maintenance costs. ACSRs and compression joint sleeves are two types of equipment that are costly, time consuming, and sometimes dangerous to test. Our machine learning analysis aims to resolve this issue by both identifying vulnerable equipment and, uniquely, providing an explanation of why each piece of equipment has been flagged,” said Dr. Bruno Rousseau, Team Leader, Data Science at Via Science.

Rousseau continued, “Solving this challenge would have major implications for TEPCO and utilities globally. All utilities would benefit from having explanations for their maintenance departments and regulators of why their assets are failing so that they can plan and invest accordingly. We are proud to work with TEPCO to build a solution with such wide reaching potential.”

“Improving reliability, efficiency, and service for our customers has always been a top priority. But in our previous experiences using neural network solutions to support these efforts, we found we wanted more insight into the ‘why’ behind the predictions and recommendations. We are excited by Via Science’s potential to provide transparency, which is absolutely essential to decisions that affect our customers and our assets,” said Akira Matsumoto, an engineer in the transmission department of TEPCO Power Grid.

Matsumoto continued, “We decided to work with Via Science because their customer-centric software solution has been proven with agencies such as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to prioritize vulnerabilities and make customized recommendations. Via Science’s core patents are in identifying causality, so beyond simply predicting a power outage or a maintenance need, we expect to pinpoint the contributing factors of failure, such as weather, location, or equipment age. Given the cost of manually collecting and analyzing data across our 50,000 assets, these kinds of tools are invaluable.”

In December 2016, TEPCO made a minority investment in Via Science. This project is the first of many related to risk assessment and predictive maintenance to come from the partnership. “We are excited to launch these innovative, operational improvement initiatives with Via Science. We aim to improve reliability to all our 29 million customers by integrating their unique causal analytics software into our network operations,” explained Hirokazu Yamaguchi, Executive General Manager, Global Innovation and Investments at TEPCO.

Update: TEPCO has published their own press release on the initiative as well as an outline of the proof of concept.

About Via Science

Via Science creates software applications that identify and prioritize risks to critical infrastructure using a combination of high-performance computing, machine learning, and causal analytics. Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Via Science has developed its risk assessment algorithms in conjunction with some of the world’s leading companies and government agencies in energy and security. The company has been featured in Wired Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and Forbes for its expertise in causal analytics software applications. For more information, please visit www.viascience.com.

About Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc., headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is the largest utility in Japan. We provide electricity primarily to home and business in the Kanto region of Japan, one of the world’s most heavily populated areas. Worldwide the company has more than 74 subsidiaries and affiliates in 8 countries and employs approximately 33,200 people. Operating Revenues for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2017, totaled 5.4 trillion Japanese yen. The company was established in 1951 and is listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. For more information, visit http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/corpinfo/index-e.html.

Via Science and TEPCO Partnership Featured in Engerati

Engerati, a global network for energy professionals, featured Via Science’s partnership with TEPCO in their recent article: “Energy transition Japan: ‘We have to disrupt ourselves,’ says TEPCO”.

The article discusses how Japan’s energy retail industry is evolving as more companies invest in innovative technologies. TEPCO’s strategic investment in Via Science is highlighted as an example of this trend. In reference to the partnership, Hirokazu Yamaguchi, Head of Global Innovations for TEPCO, said: “Via Science’s direct experience with US energy agencies and their ability to support our challenges, such as high volumes of data, regulatory transparency requirements and very long-term risk planning needs for multi-billion dollar investments, made them the best match for TEPCO and our customers.”

Last month, Via Science announced its joint initiative with TEPCO, which will use “analytics and machine learning to predict and prevent power disruption due to failure of ACSRs and compression joint sleeves.” This application is the first of many related to risk assessment and predictive maintenance to come from the partnership.

Via Science’s Colin Gounden Interviewed by The Nikkei in Japan

Via Science’s CEO Colin Gounden traveled to Taiwan and Japan in February to meet with several energy and heavy industry companies. While in Tokyo, Colin sat down with journalists Takashi Nishioka and Yuichi Shiga from The Nikkei, Japan’s leading subscription-based business and economic news publication. The article is available only to subscribers, so below we’ve translated the Q&A session that was published as part of the larger article.

Q&A

How do you use artificial intelligence (AI) in the electric power business?
“Via Science is not trying to solve brand new problems in electric power, but rather solve problems that all electric power companies have today. For example, power generation, transmission, and distribution facilities all invest heavily in equipment updates. We can make the analysis of where to invest much more efficient and rigorous.”

Can humans accept what AI has judged?
“People accept AI suggestions when they understand the reasoning behind why the computer made a specific recommendation. Very recent AI advances have allowed computers to understand cause and effect relationships of data points directly from the data. These cause and effect relationships provide transparency into why a computer has made a recommendation. When an AI generated recommendation is transparent, people are more easily convinced. AI recommendations are not always 100% correct, but neither are people. It’s important to set the expectation that the goal of AI is not perfection but rather that AI and people together will have fewer mistakes than either alone.”

Do you think that TEPCO’s problems can be improved as well?
“TEPCO is a big company and there are many potential opportunities for AI throughout the generation, transmission, and distribution business, so we have to discuss priorities. A major area of focus for us is to reduce the costs related to the upgrade and replacement of facilities.”

How will the new Trump administration affect the electric power business?
“In the U.S. presidential election, then candidate Trump and candidate Clinton had very different opinions on almost everything. Perhaps the only area that they did agree on was that investment in power transmission and distribution was necessary, and investment would be continued.”

NOTE: The original interview was conducted in Japanese with answers provided in English through a translator. The final article was published in Japanese only, and we have translated that back to English. We have stayed true to the initial intent of the Q&A and apologize for any mis-translations.

Via Science’s Focus™ Architecture Nominated for Technology Innovation Award

Via Science was honored to be selected as one of three finalists for Techvibes’ Canadian Startup Awards in the Technology Innovation category. The nomination recognizes Via Science’s Focus™ microservices architecture. Focus™ transformed Via Science’s causal analytics capabilities and laid the groundwork for public safety app, CrimeRadar.

Winners were announced during a gala on Thursday, March 2nd at Steam Whistle Brewery in Toronto. Sonia Basili, our Talent Management and Operations Leader attended the event on our behalf. Though, sadly we didn’t take home the award, we congratulate all the winners!

Photo courtesy of Techvibes

Via Science Nominated for Montréal International’s Forum sur l’attractivité

Via Science was nominated as part of Montréal International’s first Greater Montreal Business Attractiveness Forum. The event, part of Montréal International’s 20th anniversary celebration, recognized organizations committed to growing Montreal’s economy, and making it an attractive and competitive investment destination.

Sonia Basili, our Talent Management and Operations Leader, attended the event.

Via Science proudly contributes to Montreal’s growth and development, particularly within the tech sector.

Congratulations to our fellow finalists, and STELIA North America, Danone Canada and Ubisoft for taking home the top honors.

Via Science’s Work on CrimeRadar Featured in WIRED, TED Blog

In August, Via Science released public safety digital application, CrimeRadar, in partnership with the Igarapé Institute. The app uses predictive analytics, supported by Via Science’s microservices architecture, Focus™, to forecast the probability of crime occurring throughout metropolitan Rio de Janeiro.

Via Science’s contributions to this app have been featured in several publications since its release, including:

  • WIRED “CrimeRadar is Using Machine Learning to Predict Crime in Rio”
  • TED Blog “Forecasting Crime in Rio de Janeiro”
  • The Atlantic’s City Lab “Mapping ‘Pre-Crime’ in Rio”
  • Data Informed “Push Your Analytics Out to Customers”
  • World Economic Forum “What happens when we can predict crimes before they happen?”

 

How It Works

  • A user opens the app and can search for a specific address.
  • For example, if a user searches for the Olympic Arena (pictured below), the result is a color-coded guide to potential crime levels within a 250-square meter radius.
  • Users can view the historical data used to generate these ratings through the “Past” feature. The app will display data provided by the Institute of Public Safety detailing types and frequency of crimes in each sector.
  • Users can also filter their search by types of crime and time frame.

 

A user opens the app and can search for a specific address.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For example, if a user searches for the Olympic Arena (pictured below), the result is a color-coded guide to potential crime levels within a 250-square meter radius.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Users can view the historical data used to generate these ratings through the “Past” feature. The app will display data provided by the Institute of Public Safety detailing types and frequency of crimes in each sector.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Users can also filter their search by types of crime and time frame.

TEPCO Selects Via Science for Strategic Investment

 

Japan’s largest electric power supplier, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. (TEPCO), has selected Via Science for its first strategic venture investment in machine learning and analytics.

 

Cambridge, Mass. – December 6, 2016 – Via Science, Inc. a leader in causal analytics, today announced a minority investment by Japan’s largest electric power supplier, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. (TEPCO). TEPCO’s strategic investment includes capital, as well as sharing subject matter expertise and data to improve the reliability and operating efficiencies of power suppliers and their customers through advanced software analytics applications.

Already Japan’s largest electric power supplier, TEPCO is investing heavily in new technologies that even further improve the quality and variety of services it provides to its 29 million customers.

“Analytics is critical to improving the operational efficiency of energy companies today and allowing them to stay ahead of regulatory and technological disruptions. TEPCO’s investment is a validation of Via Science’s leadership in causal analytics for applications such as identifying critical infrastructure that is at high risk for power outages, years in advance. We are truly honored to be their first venture investment in machine learning and analytics,” said Colin Gounden, CEO of Via Science.

Through this investment, TEPCO will gain experience in Via Science’s proprietary causal analytics software, which goes beyond traditional “black box” machine learning to provide transparency into the rationale for recommendations to improve maintenance, service staffing, cybersecurity and resiliency planning. TEPCO’s customers will also benefit from Via Science’s expertise, as new technologies enable improved reliability and new value-added services.

“To find the team and technology best able to handle the unique challenges in the energy industry, our innovation group evaluated large and small analytics companies across North America, Europe and Asia. Via Science’s direct experience with US energy agencies and their ability to support our challenges, such as high volumes of data, regulatory transparency requirements and very long-term risk planning needs for multi-billion dollar investments, made them the best match for TEPCO and our customers,” explained Hirokazu Yamaguchi, Executive General Manager, Global Innovation and Investments at TEPCO.

Update: Pierce Atwood congratulates Via Science on securing TEPCO’s strategic investment.

About Via Science

Via Science creates software applications that identify and prioritize risks to critical infrastructure using a combination of high-performance computing, machine learning and causal analytics. Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with its research center in Montreal, Quebec, Via Science has developed its risk assessment algorithms in conjunction with some of the world’s leading companies and government agencies in energy and security. The company has been featured in Wired Magazine, The Wall Street Journal and Forbes for its expertise in causal analytics software applications. For more information, please visit www.viascience.com.

About Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. (TSE: 9501), headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is the largest utility in Japan serving more than 29 million homes and businesses. Worldwide the company has more than 74 subsidiaries and affiliates in 8 countries and employs approximately 43,330 people. Consolidated revenue for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2016, totaled 6.8 trillion Japanese yen. The company was established in 1951 and is listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. For more information, visit http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/corpinfo/index-e.html.