Did you know faulty electric lines are the fifth highest cause of wildfires in California? People on the West Coast are well aware of the risks that come during the hot summer heat with wildfires being a dangerous threat. Meet Buzz Solutions, an Avanta Ventures Studios company, whose mission is to improve utility inspection processes by providing digital transformation which in turn helps modernize the energy infrastructure and prevent power outages and wildfires.
We recently spoke with Kaitlyn Albertoli, CEO and Co-Founder of Buzz Solutions and Vikhyat Chaudhry, COO, CTO, and Co-Founder of Buzz Solutions to discuss how their company uses AI to safeguard the world’s energy infrastructure.
How does Buzz Solutions impact your customers’ lives?
Our customers are power utilities, and we help in bringing digital transformation to the power utility sector by managing, processing, and analyzing their data captured from power line and grid infrastructure inspections. We provide a software platform powered by our AI-based actionable insights and predictive analytics for power infrastructure inspections and operations. Using our solutions, customers can save 50% on costs due to automation on data processing and analysis, six to eight months of time for analysis and highlighting risky areas with faulty assets, thus, preventing power outages, network failures, forced shutdowns, and wildfires. Furthermore, our predictive analytics and predictive asset management system can save utilities $3 million to $6 million dollars annually on outage prediction. Consequently, our customers achieve faster, cost-efficient, and accurate results that help them to modernize and protect their aging energy infrastructure.
Tell us more about Buzz Solutions. What are the benefits of your software platform?
Buzz Solutions provides a software platform that helps power utilities to manage, process, and analyze their visual data around power lines and power infrastructure in a scalable way. Our platform is powered by a novel artificial intelligence (AI) for processing visual data to detect assets, faults, and vegetation problems around power lines, transmission, and distribution infrastructure. Furthermore, our predictive analytics and predictive asset management system provides actionable insights for assets, line health, asset degradation, and vegetation management problems in the future. This helps transform the industry from being reactive when problems occur, to being proactive. This predictive approach gives an idea of where, when, and what type of problems can happen on power lines in the future.
Which industries do you target?
At Buzz Solutions, our vision is to safeguard the world’s energy infrastructure, so we’re targeting the energy industry with a specific focus on the power utility sector. Power utilities spend billions of dollars each year to inspect and maintain their power lines and aging infrastructure. The inspection operations are performed by leveraging drones, helicopters, fixed wing aircrafts, and static cameras to collect data around the grid infrastructure. However, when all that data comes back for analysis, the process is still manual to manage, process, and analyze the data in order to take actions. Due to the manual effort this requires, utilities spend extensive amounts of money and time, resulting in outdated data and delayed maintenance which can lead to severe problems such as power outages, network failures, forced power shutdowns, and wildfires. This is where we plug in, bringing digital transformation to the power utility inspection and maintenance processes by providing automation on managing, processing and analyzing the data. This results in providing a cost and time efficient solution, as well as preventing problems occurring from failed power infrastructure.
“Our vision is to safeguard the world’s energy infrastructure, so we’re targeting the energy industry with a specific focus on the power utility sector.”
Which current technology trends in the insurance industry and world at large have an impact on your business?
With wildfires and other climate change disasters challenging various spheres of life, we see technology playing a greater role in mitigating such effects. In recent years, we are seeing industries such as power and insurance implementing new technologies such as AI, drones, IoT sensors, and more to optimize operations and mitigate climate change effects on society. AI technologies are helping to provide actionable insights and forecasting the effects ahead of time. At Buzz Solutions, we’re providing such technologies to the energy sector and see a big potential alignment with the insurance sector where our AI insights can help the industry be prepared for future disasters and also mitigate them. For instance, our solutions detect and predict high-risk areas around power lines that need to be maintained in order to prevent wildfires similar to the ones we continue to experience in California. These insights are beneficial to the insurance industry allowing them to focus on relevant mitigation efforts.
How is your approach unique to the market?
We sell our solution directly to utilities and also through channel partners. We are working with some of the largest utilities in the United States and Canada through direct utility engagements, working with their Transmission and Distribution inspection teams, vegetation management teams, aviation teams, and IT teams. That being said, as an early-stage startup, we recognize the resource intensive process of utility sales, which is why we are engaging with large channel partners including drone and helicopter service providers, in addition to cloud providers such as Google and Amazon, who have pre-existing contracts with utilities. This helps us accelerate our time to market.
What’s the market size for this opportunity?
The market opportunity for this problem is huge. Internationally, the analytics market for Transmission and Distribution Inspections is a $165 billion market annually. Our target market is US and Canadian Transmission and Distribution Inspections, which is a $9.5 billion annually market just for the analytics portion. Our vision at Buzz Solutions is to safeguard the world’s energy infrastructure, so we see our technology applicable to many other energy verticals, such as oil and gas pipeline inspections, solar, and wind markets.
How has partnering with Avanta Ventures and CSAA Insurance Group impacted your business growth and go-to-market strategies?
We’re very excited to be working with Avanta Ventures on this journey as we grow and scale our company. Through our use of actionable insights and predictive analytics, Buzz Solutions aims to safeguard the world’s energy infrastructure by mitigating risk of wildfires and power outages. We will provide information to CSAA Insurance Group to identify regions that are hotspots for recurring grid problems and would be at higher risk for wildfires, endangering communities in those regions. Our partnership with Avanta Ventures will help us expand within the insurance market, delivering our solutions to multiple markets affected by power grid-related wildfires, power outages, and forced network shutdowns. We’re looking forward to working with both Avanta Ventures and CSAA Insurance Group to make the grid smarter, stronger, and more resilient.