Unique Partnerships for Piloting Technology

Sara Daugherty Blog, Startups 1 Comment

Recently, BRITE portfolio Exacter, Inc. presented at a workshop titled “Binational Industrial Research and Development  – Accelerating Growth through U.S. Israel Strategic Partnerships“. Hosted by the BIRD Foundation, the workshop provided a unique opportunity to learn about how American and Israeli companies can partner together. These partnerships act in the interest to accelerate products to market while addressing multinational interests.

Building partnerships from Israel to America

BIRD is an acronym for Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development. BIRD’s mission is to stimulate, promote and support industrial research and development of mutual benefit between Israel and the U.S. One of the Foundation’s interests is Energy – including energy storage and cyber security of energy infrastructure. Other interests include agriculture, electronics and other tech sectors. Annually, the Foundation provides approximately 20 awards for a grant program that matches U.S. and Israeli companies to cover development costs in new technologies.

A recent recipient of this grant is Exacter of Columbus, Ohio. Exacter is an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) company that focuses on electric utilities worldwide. Its technology allows for the monitoring of grid health to identify areas of safety and system risk. Through the BIRD Foundation, Exacter partnered with Razor Labs, an artificial intelligence machine learning company located in Tel Aviv. Together, the companies paired sensors with mobile edge computing to enable frequent asset monitoring.

What does this means in layman terms?

We often think of outages of the electric grid as errors of reliability. However, outages are often not caused by unreliability but rather a lack of resiliency. How does the power grid adapt after storms affect its lines or load patterns change due to temperature fluctuations? To date, there’s not a standard evaluation tool to learn from these events to prevent future outages. With Exacter and Razor Labs’ work, data can be used to create standard tools and benchmarks for measuring resiliency in the future.

Through this partnership, Exacter was able to scale its roll out of sensors that can be attached to other equipment to monitor the health of the grid. In this case, the City of Akron stepped up to pilot the sensors on their garbage trucks, which make frequent rounds on every city street and were able to capture a weekly snapshot of each grid asset geo-spatially. This information is in turn calculated through machine learning and artificial intelligence created by Razor Labs.

Dozens of variables including temperature, humidity and pressure are considered to identify outliers on a visual map. These outliers may be further examined to determine if there is unnecessary stress on the infrastructure. Through the BIRD Foundation, Exacter was able to run a pilot and gain knowledge in applying its technology on a larger scale.

To learn more about the project, check out this video.

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