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3e Apps announces collaboration with AIndra Labs

Company’s CEO highlights applications for computer vision and machine learning for stakeholders in the built-environment

| | Jul 22, 2018 | 2:58 pm
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Dubai, UAE, 22 July 2018: Energy and Environmental Efficiency Apps (3e Apps) recently announced its collaboration with India-based AIndra Labs, an AI start-up. Speaking on the collaboration, Sougata Nandi, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, 3e Apps, said this is part of a strategic geographic growth plan, including other start-ups. “We want to grow in expertise relevant to our theme of work,” Nandi said, “which is energy and environment. That is where the collaboration with this company, AIndra, based in Bangalore, comes in. The whole technology is based on computer vision and machine learning, under the umbrella of AI.”

The technology, Nandi said, is largely based on object recognition, applications of which can vary from plate numbers being scanned by security cameras to keep track of the comings and goings of cars, to capturing the face of employees as part of monitoring attendance.

Nandi said the technology has gained popularity in India’s property insurance sector. Traditionally, he said, one person inspects the building to determine the valuation of the property, which will form the basis of the premium fees that will be applied. “The value of the property is important for insurance companies,” he said, “but it is also important to see its design from other perspectives, such as fire and life safety. If a building doesn’t have the proper smoke detectors and alarms, the building is, by default, unsafe. If there is a fire incident, the building would not be in the position to help the first line of defence. In this scenario, the insurance company will charge significantly higher premiums compared to buildings, where proper controls and equipment have been installed.”

Nandi said that surveying a building is a time-consuming exercise, which requires skilled, and usually highly paid, personnel to audit towers that may range from 600,000 to one million square feet, with an existing building stock that may reach thousands. “When you are surveying facilities manually,” Nandi points out, “there is scope of errors. If you have done, say, 10 floors you are now fatigued. There is no objective evidence on the accuracy of the data. We have to rely on the surveyor’s word.” The asset register then, he said, is manually prepared by the surveyor.

Following this, Nandi posed an alternate reality: “Imagine a scenario, where a person goes to the site with his smart phone and takes pictures of all the objects he is surveying. The app, then, uploads photographs to the AI platform, which evaluates the photograph and churns out the report. The AI-based application automates visual information in a reliable, accurate and efficient manner.” As an example, Nandi pointed to fire extinguishers, which no longer need to be counted owing to the object and text recognition and identification, all of which will be summarised in a report backed with evidence.

Customers, Nandi said, claim the technology has reduced cost by 66%. “When, earlier, they were spending AED 100, they can execute the same work at AED 33,” he said. “It offers huge savings, reliability, accuracy and transparency and minimises business risk.”

The applications for the built-environment, Nandi stressed, are endless. The public sector, he said, such as civil defence, as an example, could benefit from the technology, especially in relation to rolling out approvals for fire and life safety equipment for the thousands of existing building stock. “There are many applications, because it’s about accuracy, especially when it requires acquiring volumes of data.” Nandi said this is especially the case during audits, where stakeholders focus on the condition of the equipment. Often, he said, the engineers of FM personnel take photographs as records. However, he said, the photographs have to be assessed in order to be translated into a meaningful asset register, again paving the way for object recognition. Nandi added it could also be applied for the inventory of warehouses containing massive volume of products or proper deployment of personnel for FM companies.

As the business development arm for AIndra in the UAE, Nandi said, the company will get full access to the UAE market. Beyond this, Nandi said, 3e Apps aims to evolve the product to make it more bespoke for the needs of the local market, stressing that the successful commercial application of the technology may entail some level of modification, evolution, refinement, upgrades and other add-ons that may not otherwise be needed for the Indian market.

 

Hannah Jo Uy is Assistant Editor at Climate Control Middle East magazine. She may be contacted at hannah@cpi-industry.com


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