Costantino Lanza is one of Universal mCloud Corp's (CVE:MCLD, OTCQB:MCLDF) founders, and thus is positioned to speak on the company’s vision and progress to date like few others. Proactive Investors spoke with Lanza ahead of this week’s mCloud Connect 2018 conference on topics ranging from how the company got its start to the numbers behind the energy savings mCloud technology helps its client realize.
What is your role at mCloud and what is your near-term outlook for the technologies you are working on at the company?
I’m one of the founders of mCloud. It was Russ McMeekin, Mike Sicuro and myself who put together the vision of what we wanted to accomplish and then started finding the pieces to make up the company. My initial role was in M&A activities – due diligence, following up on the acquisitions and integrating the technologies into a mCloud solution.
Of late, I have been focusing on areas we want to grow, one being the wind turbine business and increasing the number of connected assets we have there. And the second initiative is our move into the market in China, where it will offer the full breadth of mCloud services and solutions, both in smart buildings and smart wind turbines.
I also have the role of chief technology officer, working with the development teams and looking at the overall state of technology. We are continuing to enhance our product base. One of the things we are doing right now is enabling a move to the Microsoft Azure cloud, which is a necessity for supporting our China customers, as Google services are not well entrenched there.
What is the one thing that excites you most about the technology mCloud is working on?
It really is about the data. Our goal is to connect to many assets and to do things that haven’t been done in the past. Take wind turbines as an example, there is a lot of data that comes from those complex machines. But what hasn’t been done is to then correlate performance to different states, one being the blades themselves. Blades get damaged and they naturally erode. When something is spinning at 150 miles an hour, the tips and leading edge wears. In the past, it was believed that minor wear did not have much effect on performance, but what we are finding is that the effect could be as much as 1% of the production of that turbine, which amounts to tens of thousands of dollars per year on an average turbine.
What we are doing is to correlate -- using AI, images of the blades, and the SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) data – the effect on the performance of different types of damages. Today experts look at photographs of the blades and determine when repair is justified. We see some real excitement in being able to apply AI to that damage assessment and then correlate it to lost performance so we can be very clear to our customers as to when it is economical to repair the damage.
Why is what you just talked about important both to the business world and to society as a whole?
Everything we do is around efficiency and reduction of energy use or an increase of energy production. We really do have a green slant. If we can save 10% or 15% of the energy consumption of every major building, that is a huge reduction in greenhouse gases. If we can improve production by wind turbines by 2% or 3%, that is a lot of carbon that does not have to be burned to create the electricity.
Another part that makes mCloud unique is the way we are beginning to marry AI and intelligent assistance with workers. We have a somewhat unique approach with AssetCare where we support the full circle of care. When people need to touch the equipment, we assist by making sure they are doing the right repairs at the right time. We are using AI in that, as well AR, to make them more efficient.
What do you personally hope to get out of mCloud Connect 2018?
I am excited about getting visionaries together. It is always good when you get a mix of people to brainstorm on what the future holds and where else we can take this technology. We are just seeing the tip of this iceberg and it is hard to predict how far it is going to go, but I think the next 10 years will see more change than what we saw in the last 10 years as more and more assets get connected, data sets get larger and we get to understand how all the pieces interact.
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