Meet one of the first EIV 2021 cohort finalists: eSmart Systems, founded in Norway. Their product, Grid Vision®, is a software solution for powerline inspection and grid maintenance that turns images and visual inspection data into actionable asset insight and automated inspection processes. All of this is possible by using collaborative AI, a method that combines the best qualities of machine learning and subject-matter experts to achieve fast and accurate inspections, while automatically training the AI. Here, Corporate Vice President (CVP) International Markets Knut Eirik Gustavsen elaborates on eSmart Systems’ background and ideas.
Tell us a bit about the company and its founders.
‘eSmart Systems originates from the renowned Institute for Energy Technology (IFE) in Norway. The company was founded in 2012 by an experienced team previously responsible for large IT service exports including delivery of the world’s first power exchange to Nord Pool, the Nordic Power Exchange, in 1991. Since 2012 the company has grown rapidly and currently consists of 110 employees with offices in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, UK, and the USA.’
‘I am one of the founding members and in my current role as CVP International Markets, I am responsible for scaling eSmart Systems into new markets like Japan.’
How does your solution contribute to the Digitalisation and Decarbonisation of the energy sector?
‘Grid Vision® supports utilities to transform how they maintain and inspect their overhead power lines from traditional inspection to digitalising their infrastructure assets in one central tool. Our asset-centric approach to overhead line inspections connects visual data to real assets which provides insights and detects defects, resulting in more efficient grid inspections, reduced failure rates, reduced costs, safer inspections, and extended asset life. We help utilities build a sustainable future by reducing their overall carbon footprint through the elimination of unnecessary work.’
What is your company’s proudest achievement to date?
‘We have so many proud achievements in eSmart Systems with new customers, partners, investors, and brilliant people joining the team. But earning the trust from progressive clients like Xcel Energy in the USA and E.ON in Europe has been defining steps for the company.’
‘So far, eSmart Systems has been able to empower more than 50+ utilities globally to digitalise and transform their overhead line inspections by leveraging collaborative AI-powered image recognition technology to enable engineers to complete inspections with greater accuracy and reduce manual review of images resulting in reduced outages caused by equipment failure.’
What specifically attracts you about the prospect of expanding to the Japanese market?
‘We see many similarities between our home market in Norway and Japan, both being early adopters of new technology and innovation. eSmart Systems sees a big opportunity to support the Japanese power sector to digitalise its infrastructure assets. We have already expanded our offering to not only focus on overhead lines, but also ground infrastructure like substations and transformers.’
How will your solution/product help advance the Japanese energy sector?
‘Our solution will support the operations and maintenance teams to reduce time on inspection tasks and help digitalise their asset inventory for better planning and maintenance. In general, we are empowering the engineers with insightful information to make better informed decisions, and we reduce the carbon footprint by avoiding outages and manual inspection work.’