Nathan Shabot
VP Business Development Latin Amercia
View from the Top

Intelligent Infrastructure To Meet Project Challenges

By Cas Biekmann | Thu, 07/16/2020 - 12:14

Q: What motivated the company to establish itself in Mexico?

A: Mexico is facing significant challenges as it expands its infrastructure for natural gas, electricity and telecommunications. We believe that in the next 10 to 15 years these sectors will expand their networks from 35 to 70 percent and will also invest in replacing and upgrading aging infrastructure. Many industries, for instance, tend to establish themselves in areas where natural gas is available and to support this growth Mexico will most likely increase its investment in gas infrastructure. Regarding electricity, “smart grids” are a trend that will have a significant impact for energy efficiency, distributed generation, and enable the integration of renewables. And perhaps most importantly, Mexico’s goal of increasing internet access will require large scale projects to build out network infrastructure. These large-scale infrastructure programs represent an opportunity to build a high-quality digital twin of above and below ground assets that will be used to support long-term asset maintenance as well as the implementation of advanced technologies in the future.   

Energy and telco operators in the US are facing similar growth and renewal challenges as Mexico and have implemented our technology to reduce the cost and complexity of capturing data during construction. We see an opportunity to bring our best practices and lessons learned from the US to Mexico to accelerate the rate of technology adoption in the energy and telco sectors. 

Q: How does the company’s technological solution work, and what are its added values?

A: Our technology is a complete Digital Construction platform that captures all construction data including high quality as-builts in real-time. Our clients implement our technology for several reasons. First, it reduces the costs of capturing and managing construction data by eliminating manual paper-based processes. One of our clients saw a 70 percent reduction in the amount of manual labor required to get as-built data into GIS. Second, our technology provides real-time visibility into the status of construction projects to accelerate the time to revenue. Both regulated and unregulated operators want to get assets on the books and energized as quickly as possible with as much predictability as possible to maximize financial returns. Third, our clients use our technology to build a high-quality digital twin to support future asset management strategies and to ensure regulatory compliance. 

Our technology bridges the gap between upfront engineering and design and getting data into the final system of record. We bridge this gap by providing a continuous digital flow from the design to the as-built created in the field and into the GIS.

Recent advances in core technologies such as cloud computing and mobile devices have allowed digital construction to be brought into the field for use by construction crews. We believe that construction crews can collect high quality as-built data in real-time if they are provided with technology that is easy to use and designed specifically for them. We have invested heavily in the development of mobile applications that are designed specifically for our construction end users, and we have thousands of crews proving that this is possible by using our technology as part of their daily workflows.

Q: How can Locusview’s software help enhance safety and reliability?

A: Locusview’s technology helps safety from two standpoints. First, by assuring that the assets are installed correctly and will not fail prematurely. Most asset failures can be attributed to workmanship errors during construction. These workmanship errors can lead to gas leaks and system outages in both the short-term and long-term. For example, assets can be shut-down soon after going into service if errors such as shallow burial depth or unapproved materials are discovered. Second, excavation damage to underground assets is a significant threat that is only exasperated when assets are not properly mapped during construction. Having high accuracy maps allows operators to correctly identify the location of assets to avoid damage during excavation activities. Further, having as-built data in the GIS within days, instead of weeks or months, reduces the chance operator mis-marking the location of underground pipes and cables because the assets are not in GIS.    

Q: How would you assess Mexico’s process of embracing digitalization?

A: Mexico is one of the Latin American countries that has advanced the fastest in its digital transformation. This is perhaps more the case in some sectors than in others. Nonetheless, it is clear that the growth in implementation of Industry 4.0-related technologies is progressing and has taken significant steps as well. Yearly growth of up to 10 percent can be observed. Despite this, Mexico has an important challenge, and that is to reach the levels that some developed countries already have. It is a big opportunity for utility companies to follow the path toward digitalization with confidence. Our technology brings advanced applications to energy and telco sectors to allow them to leapfrog into modern business practices of digital data collection and management. 

Q: How does the company work to stay on top of these technological trends?

A: Locusview invests 20 percent of its total revenue in R&D. The technology was developed in collaboration with the Gas Technology Institute (GTI) in the US, but has origins in Israel as well. The company’s technical development capacity and its deep understanding of the gas and electric industries are what makes the development of the technology practical. We also take pride in always keeping an innovative edge with bold thinking that re-imagines construction operations. 

Q: What are the company’s goals for 2020-21 and vision for the long term?

A: Our near-term goal is to expand our global footprint, and Mexico is one of the first selected regions. We are investing in building a local team that can provide implementation and on-going support. Our medium-term goal is to expand beyond Mexico into other regions with large scale infrastructure programs including Brazil. 

One of our on-going goals is to continue to build industry best practices directly into our products so that all of our users can leverage successes and lessons learned from our other deployments. While most of our deployments have been in the US, we are excited about the opportunity to add features to meet regional needs and add best practices learned from users in Latin America. 

While our technology has proven and demonstrated the ability to deliver cost savings, ensure regulatory compliance, enhance construction quality, and create a high-quality digital twin, we believe that there are additional opportunities to automate construction operations. Our commitment to continuous investments in R&D is based on the belief that as an industry we have a unique opportunity to re-image the way construction work is performed through the use of digital technologies.

Locusview is a technology company providing a Digital Construction platform for energy and telco operators to automate data collection during construction including high accuracy as-builts.

Cas Biekmann Cas Biekmann Journalist and Industry Analyst