FARGO, N.D. —Innovations in the power generation and utility industries are leading to safer, more efficient ways to inspect infrastructure, and detect outages and leaks. For more than five years, researchers have been looking for ways to improve the safety and efficiency of the utility industry using drone technology to inspect electric, gas and oil infrastructure.
Today, eSmart Systems Inc., U.S. announced they finalized an agency agreement with Border States Electric (BSE) to provide eSmart Systems’ Thundercloud, Connected Drone and Connected Grid systems to customers in the 48 contiguous states. Both companies have been instrumental in advancing the technology specifically for the utility and power generation industries.
Thundercloud is an end-to-end solution for infrastructure inspections, featuring the Connected Grid and Connected Drone software components. The main client, Connected Grid, provides real-time monitoring of the grid allowing operators access to detect faults, plan maintenance needs while reducing investments and reduce costs related to outages. The Connected Drone uses artificial intelligence to catalog infrastructure components and monitor their health. The results are used to view infrastructure status and provide a basis for maintenance tasks. This not only brings a significant safety component to the inspection of utility assets using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s), or drones, but allows for safe, efficient, reliable and intelligent grid operations.
Gerald “Poke” Buck, BSE’s senior vice president utility sales, said, “The Thundercloud, Connected Drone and Connected Grid solutions from eSmart Systems are just what our utility, gas and oil customers have been asking for. We are thrilled about our new relationship with eSmart Systems and the high-quality, end-to-end, complete solutions that we will be supplying to the utility and industrial markets."
Knut E. Gustavsen, eSmart Systems’ corporate vice president and president North America, said "The partnership with BSE is an important milestone for eSmart Systems and our continued growth in the U.S. market. We are very excited to work with an industry leader such as BSE to further advance the applications of drones, big data analytics and intelligent asset management through our Thundercloud solution, to help utilities and their customers across the U.S. to lower costs and experience a more reliable service."
eSmart Systems develops digital intelligence for the energy industry and smart communities. The company is based on more than 20 years of international experience in establishing and operating knowledge based, leading IT and energy related companies targeting global markets. eSmart Systems provides software solutions to the energy industry, service providers and smart cities. Its platform is designed to handle and exploit the Internet of Things, Big Data and Analytics in real time. It has broad application possibilities that give grid operators insight into their distribution network.
BSE supplies products and services to construction, industrial and utility customers. The 100 percent employee-owned company is rated the seventh largest electrical distributor in the U.S. by Electrical Wholesaling magazine. BSE has approximately 2,500 employees and more than 100 branches in 20 states. The Branch Support Center (corporate office) is located in Fargo, North Dakota.
Tom Nelson, corporate communications director
Border States Electric
Terry Sando, business manager UAS operations