A SparkCognition Case Study
National Grid Partners (NGP) serves as the eyes and ears of National Grid’s business, searching for innovations that will keep National Grid at the forefront of the energy industry.
Utilities have some degree of automation in their operations today. In the emerging Digital Utility, AI will augment human expertise and lead to a much higher degree of automation — automated asset management including predictive and prescriptive maintenance; automated inspections utilizing state of the art vision technologies; personalized customer care and response; automated endpoint protection and cybersecurity.
Historically for most enterprises, AI has been challenging to deploy at scale, requiring significant capital expenditures; highly qualified in-house data science teams; and long development cycles with no guarantee of a high value outcome. Utilities that can harness AI to automate operations at scale are the ones who will lead as true digital utilities of the future. This is why National Grid partnered with SparkCognition, an AI company that is leading the charge to democratize AI for use in today’s most critical industrial and enterprise applications.
What they do
SparkCognition provides software tools and applications that make it easy for lines of business to deploy AI.
At the core of SparkCognition is Darwin, its automated model building platform that abstracts and automates time-consuming data science processes via an intuitive web application. Darwin accelerates and simplifies the job of a data scientist. The core capabilities of Darwin are embedded in SparkCognition’s line of business applications so that domain experts within a business unit can easily deploy them without the need for extensive support from data science teams. SparkPredict, a predictive maintenance application, and DeepNLP, a natural language processing engine together enable business lines to predict when a machine will fail (predictive maintenance), and also to understand what the required repair and maintenance actions are (prescriptive maintenance). Finally, through the DeepArmor cybersecurity application, business lines can utilize AI for endpoint protection.
Why NGP invested
SparkCognition has raised $100M in their recent Series C financing round, bringing their total cumulative financing to $172.5M, an accomplishment that distinguishes them in a crowded AI startup landscape. NGP has invested alongside a leading group of institutional and corporate investors including March Capital, Temasek, Kerogen Digital Solutions, Hearst Ventures, and Boeing. The investment is an acknowledgment of SparkCognition’s outstanding AI technical talent and expertise and its strong market traction with a distinguished set of customers that include Boeing, BP, Hitachi-High-Technologies, Aker, and many more. Under the leadership of Amir Husain, a true AI visionary, SparkCognition is one of the few enterprise AI companies that has been able to successfully scale up. Its focus on both enterprise and industrial and energy market segments make it a strong fit for National Grid.
Benefits to National Grid and its customers
National Grid deploys the most cutting-edge cybersecurity technologies for protecting its critical infrastructure. AI is flipping the traditional threat detection model on its head, applying a data first approach that beats legacy technologies. This is especially relevant in areas like zero-day (never-before-seen) threats, where organizations can’t rely on signature-based approaches to threat detection. “We’re interested in evaluating the effectiveness of AI to detect zero-day threats over other intrusion detection algorithms where signatures aren’t continuously updated,” says David Wright, Director of Electricity Transmission at National Grid. “If we can validate that SparkCognition can help us in this area, it could lead to a joint development project in AI based cybersecurity for operational technology.”
“National Grid and the people here get it. The people here in key roles take personal responsibility for moving the ball forward, and I cannot overstate the importance of that.” — Amir Hussain, Founder and CEO, SparkCognition
What this means in the future for National Grid
Cybersecurity is the first application that National Grid will explore with SparkCognition. Its AI capabilities span to many other areas critical to National Grid, including more cost-effective, accurate, and automated predictive maintenance; better predictive forecasting of procurement spend; and improving customer care and response. By partnering with SparkCognition, National Grid can embed AI into the fabric of a wide range of its operations, enabling it to become a true Digital Utility of the future.
Leading the way and delivering impact
National Grid is leading the way for its customers to benefit in a world of digitalization. Through our partnership with SparkCognition, National Grid will have leading edge AI capabilities to secure our critical infrastructure and provide more reliable and cost effective energy services to our customers.