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Utilidata Partners with Aclara to Bring Distributed AI to the Grid Edge

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Aclara will be the first company to embed Utilidata’s distributed AI platform, built on a custom module leveraging the NVIDIA Jetson.

Utilidata, an industry-leading AI-powered technology company, announced that Aclara, a division of leading utility and electrical solutions provider Hubbell Incorporated, will be the first company to embed Utilidata’s distributed AI platform, Karman, in a smart meter to enable a connected grid that delivers clean and reliable energy. Built on a custom module that leverages the NVIDIA Jetson platform for artificial intelligence, Karman captures and analyzes robust, high-quality data to improve grid operations and manage distributed energy resources (DERs).

“As the grid becomes increasingly complex and dynamic, utilities need more technology options to operate a clean and reliable grid. By combining Utilidata’s extensive knowledge of distributed AI with Aclara’s decades of experience providing industry-leading hardware, we’re now able to bring new, innovative, interoperable solutions to our customers, starting with smart meters,” said Erik Christian, Division President, Grid Automation of Hubbell.

Aclara, an industry leader with more than 30 million electric meters deployed in North America, will embed Karman into a smart meter to provide utilities with 100 times more processing power than traditional solutions. The Karman embedded meters will provide powerful local computation at the edge of the grid to understand and predict grid conditions and the impacts of DERs. Local AI models will continuously learn to improve grid planning, grid operations, load management, customer service, and various other benefits.

“This partnership with Aclara is the starting point of endless opportunities for integrating distributed AI onto the grid,” said Josh Brumberger, CEO of Utilidata. “Utilizing distributed AI, Karman enables better informed, real-time decisions at the grid edge to operate a modern grid. A meter-embedded distributed AI platform is only the beginning. There are more opportunities beyond meters within the electric grid ecosystem that can benefit from having easy-to-access data and predictive analytics.”

“Utilities are seeking more options for new and innovative technologies, like distributed AI, that give them easily accessible and actionable data,” said Elizabeth Cook, Vice President of Technical Strategy of the Association of Edison Illuminating Companies (AEIC). “Utilidata’s partnership with Aclara makes it easier for utilities to integrate this important technology as the industry continues to build a smart and adaptive grid that is resilient and reliable for customers.”

The partnership follows the trend of market momentum and federal funding driving the utility industry’s need to modernize and report its operational efficiencies, for which distributed AI holds vast potential. In October of 2023, the Department of Energy announced $3.5 billion in funding for grid modernization projects, including awards to Portland General Electric and Duquesne Light Company to deploy over 100,000 Karman units to increase reliability and accelerate decarbonization and electrification.

“The grid is going to need software-defined solutions, like Karman, that can take on new and different applications over time,” said Marc Spieler, Senior Managing Director – Global Energy at NVIDIA. “NVIDIA’s platform allows companies to develop the software and AI solutions they need. We’re excited to partner with trusted leaders like Utilidata and Aclara to bring our proven platform to a new industry.”

Utilidata’s chief technology officer, Marissa Hummon, and Hubbell’s chief technology officer, Alexis Bernard, will speak at NVIDIA’s NVIDIA GTC, a global AI developer conference, on March 20, 2024 in San Jose, California. Jess Melanson, Utilidata’s president and chief operating officer, will speak at the Hubbell Utility Connect conference in Atlanta, April 15-18.

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