Press kit and links to third party articles.

Clean Energy Finance Forum Features VIA, Trusted Analytics Chain (TAC) in Recent Post

Clean Energy Finance Forum (CEFF) recently featured VIA’s presentation at Greentech Media’s Blockchain in Energy event, which took place in San Francisco this past September. The event invited technology and energy experts to discuss opportunities for blockchain technology to transform the energy industry. CEFF shared this recap:

VIA is also working to deploy blockchain applications for smart asset management. Joe Babiec, VIA’s vice president of strategic initiatives, said that blockchain-enabled smart asset management can help improve project benchmarking and maintenance scheduling. It can also support investment in equipment upgrades.

Capital investment accounts for the largest share of distribution costs as utilities work to upgrade aging equipment. According to a 2015 United States Department of Energy report, 70 percent of power transformers are 25 years of age or older, 60 percent of circuit breakers are 30 years or older, and 70 percent of transmission lines are 25 years or older.

Investment in upgrading equipment such as electrical poles, transmission wires, and substation transformers is on the rise, the report said. Utilities are seeking new ways to improve frequency and voltage control during system emergencies, accommodate greater use of renewables, and withstand extreme weather events.

VIA was already using artificial intelligence to better predict equipment maintenance needs and improve resiliency planning before developing its blockchain platform. It now offers utilities and other energy providers a blockchain-enabled system for establishing secure access to confidential maintenance data for analysis by third parties. The data can be stored in the cloud or locally.

To read the full article, visit Clean Energy Finance Forum’s website.

Germany’s com! professional Features VIA’s Trusted Analytics Chain

The German-based IT magazine com! professional, which covers the latest in cloud solutions and data security for IT decision makers, recently featured VIA’s Trusted Analytics Chain (TAC) in an article published in its June issue. The article, titled “This is How Blockchain and AI Play Together”,* explores how startups across the world are using these cutting edge technologies in combination to develop more effective solutions for a variety of industries.

VIA has seen growing interest in its blockchain-based TAC across the US and in more than 10 countries in Europe and in Asia, and was grateful for the opportunity to reach even broader audiences through this publication. In his interview for the piece, CEO Colin Gounden spoke to the significant role blockchain plays in supporting VIA’s AI solutions, particularly as it relates to establishing secure access to highly sensitive, and oftentimes sparse power company data.

The article was originally published in German, and we have translated a portion of his interview below:

“If they do not have enough data, they will not be able to make correct predictions,” says Colin Gounden, the CEO of VIA Science. According to Gounden, this task can be quite difficult in individual cases – either because many companies do not have enough data or they do not want to share the data for security reasons.

That’s why VIA Science now relies on blockchain technology to let AI algorithms learn from data masses that are stored in different places, without that data moving between the places and having to be brought together. […] “This approaches allows us to ensure data integrity and data security and confidentiality.”

*NOTE: The original article was published in German, and we have translated that to English to the best of our abilities. We have stayed true to the initial intent of the article and apologize for any mis-translations. Here is the original article.

VIA’s Trusted Analytics Chain (TAC) Featured in Digitex Futures Article on AI and Blockchain

VIA’s blockchain-based Trusted Analytics Chain (TAC) was featured in the recent Digitex Futures article: “When AI and Blockchain Team Up”. The article discusses how AI and blockchain, while both disruptive technologies in their own right, can work better together than separately in some cases. CEO Colin Gounden was proud to share VIA’s perspective on how a combination of these technologies could transform the energy industry:

“Every power generation, transmission, and distribution company in the world wants to improve the reliability and efficiency of their network operations…However, these companies are concerned about the security and privacy of their data and so, are hesitant to adopt new AI applications. Additionally, many companies are concerned they don’t have enough data or clean data to make rigorous analytics and AI possible. VIA’s blockchain-based Trusted Analytics Chain ensures client data remains on premise and completely anonymous.”

Read the full article here.

Colin Gounden on FutureTech Podcast: AI, Blockchain, and Global Energy Infrastructure

VIA CEO, Colin Gounden, recently joined FutureTech podcast host, Juliet Lemar, for a conversation about how VIA uses artificial intelligence and blockchain solutions to support the energy industry’s $100 billion a year efforts to maintain, upgrade, and improve energy infrastructure.

The US electric grid is one of the most complex man-made systems ever created. And at over 100 years old, its age has become a major liability for a nation dependent on electricity. Colin said, “When the internet goes out, it’s like going back to 1979. But if electricity goes out, it’s like going back to 1879.” Aging energy infrastructure carries an extremely high risk of failure that can result in power outages. VIA works specifically with electric utilities to help them predict and prioritize this risk.

“We’re at a moment in time when there’s a lot of pent up demand for improving and investing in infrastructure. Utilities can’t update all their equipment at once, so they want to know ‘Where do I start? How do I decide which transformer or transmission tower to replace first?’” Colin elaborated. Using VIA’s AI and blockchain solutions utilities are able to prioritize this risk, making the process of maintaining and upgrading infrastructure more efficient, safe, and cost-effective. Listen to the full podcast here.

CEO Colin Gounden Interviewed by Inc. Magazine

Colin Gounden, CEO of VIA, was interviewed by Inc. Magazine for the recent article “Why Millions of People Rely On This A.I. Startup to Keep Their Lights On.” Gounden discussed his process for recruiting top tech talent, particularly in booming fields like AI and machine learning:

“Everyone talks about technology and IT, but it’s people who create the technology and the IT. But how do you find, keep, and motivate people? That’s the biggest imperative for us.”

VIA tests candidates on problem solving, communication, and company culture compatibility during the interview process. This emphasis on the individual continues after they are hired. Gounden also cites VIA’s unique approach to feedback as key to employees’ ongoing development and motivation.

 

VIA Tech Talent

CEO Colin Gounden (center) with the VIA team.

 

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.”

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.”

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 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 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”
  • Artificial Intelligence Online “CrimeRadar is Using Machine Learning to Predict 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.
  • For more information on CrimeRadar, visit our website.

 

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.