Dispatchr Inc. and Hitachi Consulting Corporation, a subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd. have announced the limited availability of the industry's first Digital Immune System (DIS) designed for electric utilities. This new system leverages advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and big data to create a breakthrough in preventing both wildfires and power outages caused by extreme weather or equipment failure.
In 2017, there were a record-breaking 71,499 wildfires over 10 million acres. In California, 44 people lost their lives in wildfires last year. If a wildfire is utility related, it is generally caused when vegetation is subjected to sustained high winds, creating a pattern of tree failure that even arborists can't predict. Such failure predictions require machine analysis of very large geospatial datasets which include deep histories and dynamic forecast data, which must be continuously monitored.
"Until now, utilities had to review data from many sources to understand weather, vegetation and asset conditions," says Dispatchr's CEO Ralph Garvin Jr. "Hitachi's AI systems will analyze these conditions across historical and dynamic datasets and evaluate the data as a whole to localize current threats that are otherwise not easily recognized." Utilities have invested massive sums in grid modernization and smart grid technologies to improve resilience and keep people safe. Yet, the software industry has not provided utilities with systems that unlock the power of these investments.
The lack of these holistic systems has forced utilities to rely on difficult-to-integrate siloed software, or homegrown and paper-based workarounds—all of which hinder a utility's ability to respond to the threat before it becomes a catastrophe. Dispatchr's system can unlock the potential of these investments by finding patterns in the data they generate and predicting external threats before they could lead to disasters.
"Dispatchr's DIS technology enables the first adaptable, continuous and real-time threat prevention platform," says Hicham Abdessamad, President and CEO of Hitachi Consulting. "Dispatchr's ability to interoperate with our storm, wildfire and outage detection AI systems enables a new level of safety for utilities. This is a system designed to help prevent disasters and save lives."
In just one year, the field-tested Dispatchr platform has operated over a 70,000 square mile area, prevented over a dozen wildfires and half a dozen power outages, one of which would have left millions without power. The Dispatchr/Hitachi Digital Immune System (DIS) is in limited availability from Dispatchr.