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Vector to participate in data driven transformer project

US-based artificial intelligence and blockchain start-up, VIA, and Auckland energy company, Vector, today announced plans to establish a secure multi-company database for transformer data, called the Global Data Asset Collaborative (GDAC).

The GDAC aims to help electricity distribution companies take a more proactive approach to transformer management by using machine learning to predict faults before they happen.

With secure access to bigger and smarter datasets, transformer maintenance works can be targeted with greater precision, which drives operational efficiencies and improves the overall service experience for customers.

Simon Mackenzie, Group Chief Executive Officer at Vector said, “With a larger, smarter and more collaborative data asset like the GDAC we can refine the information we depend on to keep our network assets in the best possible shape. This is becoming increasingly important as we transition the network to meet the needs of the new energy future, where new technologies like distributed energy resources and battery storage will integrate with the network at scale. We have a responsibility to make this transition as efficiently as we can, and without burdening customers with excessive infrastructure costs. Improving our data and analytics capability will play a central role in that,” Simon said.

Vector has thousands of transformers performing the crucial role of stepping voltage down at different points on the network. Initially, the GDAC project will focus on 216 of Vector’s largest transformer assets located inside its major Auckland sub-stations. Beyond this, the GDAC has the potential to extend to the more than 20,000 smaller transformers in Vector’s network, as well as other assets.

Colin Gounden, CEO of VIA said, “We are thrilled to partner with a forward-thinking company like Vector to build the foundation for the world’s largest machine learning-ready transformer dataset. Our goal is to reduce the risk of grid transformer failures worldwide. To make this goal a reality, GDAC members will use the VIA developed Trusted Analytics Chain TAC™ blockchain-based application for its ability to provide access to company data in a secure way. This feature makes it easy for companies to collaborate and benefit from the collective data and expertise.”

GDAC founding members will recruit new utilities, equipment manufacturers, and recommend data sources like weather to contribute to the collaborative. The new members will contribute both data and expertise to help create more robust transformer analyses and expand initiatives outside of transformer failure to other kinds of transformer analyses. In addition, VIA plans to create new GDAC initiatives for other pieces of equipment.

VIA and Vector acknowledge the support and funding they have received for the GDAC from Elemental Excelerator, a growth accelerator that has funded more than 50 projects globally. Each year, Elemental Excelerator funds a selection of innovative projects that seek to reinvent society’s core systems - like energy, transportation, agriculture, and water - to better prepare the world for a more clean, resilient, and equitable future.

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