mPREST CEO EXPLAINS HOW TO CONTROL EVERYTHING
Platform auto-connects to almost any sensor/data
Mprest, a global provider of monitoring and control software for the IOT, recently received $20 million in "Series A" funding led by GE Ventures and VC crowd-source site OurCrowd, and its CEO Natan Barak told us how his background in the Israeli navy set him on course to secure the IOT of the future. Barak is a retired colonel and in the early 90s was in charge of its 10+ command/control computer and communications systems.
Those separate systems supported submarines, airplanes, helicopters and special forces, and every time his team updated any one of them, they had to go around and update all the rest. He oversaw the change to a single platform across the navy that could be updated all at once.
"When I retired, we did the same thing with Mprest. We have developed a command and control platform that is running already 24/7 in many countries around the world." The platform supports a wide variety of military applications such as the "Iron Dome," an anti-missile system that protects Israel.
Mprest provides air defense for Vietnam and border control for Asian nations among many other applications in the defense area, Barak said. Its partner, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems helps Mprest market its platform for military deployments, he added.
The platform does non-military applications, too, such as asset management for companies and governments – tracking anything that moves such as objects and vehicles. It can track stolen cars and objects and in Brazil, using five sensors per-vehicle, the firm is helping track half a million cars where driver kidnappings are a real problem, he added.
The system is designed to easily adapt to a wide variety of previously deployed sensors and a project at the scale of the Brazil car tracking can be set up in less than a week, he added.
The firm teamed with state-owned Israel Electric, the nation's only electric utility, which had a variety of tracking systems that were not integrated with each other. The firm had three security systems and one for safety and two for operations – and with the Mprest platform installed, the one system controls everything, Barak said.
"This is the whole point of the IOT business, is that you can connect everything."
The firm is dedicated to delivering a system that can be changed as needed by the customer to serve their needs even as those needs change, he added. Mprest customers can create their own rules and procedures in system, he added.
He gave the example of a rule that would be triggered when a gas leak was detected and would send an alert with a video clip from the nearest security camera to the nearest employee. The utility set that up themselves and after trying the system at seven sites, plans to deploy it at 300 sites, each with its own combination of equipment and sensors, Barak noted.
The utility will deploy the system at those sites, he added. "Everything can be done by our customers themselves."
The firm is working with the New York Power Authority on predictive maintenance for power transformers that occasionally catch fire. The system will sense oil pressure, temperature and other variables and can bypass the transformer before the fire starts, he added.
"What makes us unique is the capability that we are giving our customers to change anything and everything without the need of going through all the process of development, setting up the requirements and sending it to the software programmers which will send it to the guys at testing, test the system and going back and forth to our customer."
Instead, Mprest gives the customer a platform "where they can put all their brains, all their experience into the system without the need for going through all the development.
"This is critical. In the IOT business, there are thousands of sensors and on a daily basis. People want to update and upgrade, change the policies.
We want to give our customers the capability… to integrate any assets of the organization and… the capability to update the system without the need of waiting for too long and spending too much money," Barak said.
Delivering on those wishes is what makes the Mprest platform a "game changing technology," he added.
Most of the sensors the firm has integrated were not its own, Barak said, though sometimes a customer will ask the firm to develop a specific sensor for them. "We are capable of integrating any sensor, any information from any place almost immediately, sometimes without writing code, just using the firm's interface generator which creates the code automatically."
That interface generator comes included in the package, too, he added. And the data source does not need to be a sensor, Barak said. It can come from IT or operations technology, "and once we integrate all the sensors and all the information, you gain a lot of power… knowledge… understanding with regard to what's going on really in your organization. You can operate, you can act. It can close valves, shut doors, do whatever we need."
He gave the example in Israel of one of the biggest power users, the water authority, which spends about $200 million/year to raise water for supply to homes and businesses. "We are going to be connected to… every pump, every pool, every valve in Israel and we are going to raise the water when the cost of the electricity is low," he added.
That project requires predicting how much water is going to be consumed in every place including data on history, temperature and weather forecasting. When the water authority can predict how much power it will need minute-by-minute over the coming week and a half, Barak said, it can get a discount from the utility, Barak said.
"We can save a lot of money either by selling energy or by increasing productivities and getting the companies that we are controlling more efficient and competitive," he added.
© 2016 Modern Markets Intelligence Inc. IMPORTANT: This article was reproduced from the February 26, 2016,issue of Smart Grid Today with the limited permission of the owner. To view the full story on Smart Grid Today’s website, please visit http://www.smartgridtoday.com/members/Mprest-CEO-explains-how-to-control-everything.cfm.
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mPrest is a global provider of mission-critical monitoring and control software for the defense, security, utilities and Internet of Things (IoT) sectors. With its expansive technology platform and a proven track record, mPrest delivers unrivaled flexibility to optimize asset performance and productivity, deliver operational and energy efficiency, and help large organizations reduce costs significantly. For more information, please visit www.mPrest.com.