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
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.