Did a gas and electric company in New Zealand just buy Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system to protect its infrastructure? Not quite.
But New Zealand-based energy and communications infrastructure provider Vector did make a $10 million investment in the Israeli company that developed the Iron Dome. And some of the technologies that power Israel’s remarkable protection against projectiles will be used by Vector as part of its IoT (Internet of Things) approach to optimizing management and control services.
Vector’s investment in Israel’s mPrest means that the New Zealand company has transitioned from mPrest customer to investor and business partner. The two companies “will to continue to develop and apply a machine learning and artificial intelligence system to better manage Auckland’s changing energy demands.”
mPrest CEO Natan Barak said this “powerful vote of confidence in mPrest” shows that “an established player in the utility and energy space is not only willing to implement mPrest into production but is willing to stand behind our product as a distributor as well.”
Vector joins current mPrest investors OurCrowd, GE Ventures, Angeleno Group, Israel Electric Corporation and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. OurCrowd CEO Jon Medved said that when a strategic customer like Vector becomes an investor, “it’s cause for celebration.”
mPrest’s key contribution to the Iron Dome project was its monitoring, analytics and control software. That made it perfect for Vector, explained the company’s CEO Simon Mackenzie, who said mPrest’s technology will allow Vector engineers to manage and predict outages and allow the efficient delivery of energy to and from the grid.
mPrest’s IoT capabilities are “world-leading and we think it is the next big evolution in energy systems and platforms,” Mackenzie said. Vector plans to use mPrest’s software also for partners across Australia and the South Pacific.
Earlier this year, the New York Power Authority partnered with mPrest to develop an “Asset Health Management” application that monitors transformers on the NYPA network in real time. The system is being used at the Niagara Power Plant, one of the largest renewable energy sources in the United States.
“Through our collaboration with mPrest, we can now accurately predict potential failures through better diagnostics and prognosis,” Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO, said when the deal was announced in March 2017. “It is through cutting-edge technological innovation like this one, made possible with the intelligence, dedication and cooperation of our partners, that we have developed a unique, effective way of monitoring our transformers.”