Everactive Corporate Documentary
Everactive Co-Founder and CTO Benton Calhoun joins CEO Bob Nunn and retired Air Force CTO Frank Konieczny for an introduction to Everactive’s revolutionary technology and mission to transform industry’s relationship to the physical world.
[TRANSCRIPT of “Everactive Corporate Documentary“]
Organizations have struggled to move to large-scale, site-wide Internet of Things (IoT) deployments due to challenges in logistics costs and sustainability. Manufacturing and operational facilities are really complicated. They usually have large campuses with many buildings. Each of those buildings encompass really complicated systems that have lots of equipment and piping and conduit and wiring – all sorts of interconnected facilities. The people who are in charge of maintaining those facilities do their very best with the information they have, but there’s a lot of information that’s not readily available. People have to go manually inspect to figure out what’s going on.
The Internet of Things has broadly tried to bring electronic sensing to those environments, but it’s really challenging because the environments are hostile, and because there are so many things that people would like to monitor. But the only way to monitor those things historically is to either run a wire to that point, which is very costly and intrusive, or to place a battery powered device at that point.
And, of course, if you have smoke detectors in your house, you know some of the annoyance of having battery-powered devices. Batteries can run out. They require replacement. It usually happens at inconvenient times. Imagine scaling that up to tens of thousands of devices, and you can see why industrial operators won’t put that many battery-powered devices out into their facilities: it creates a brand new maintenance problem that’s super challenging to address.
Thankfully a new category of battery-free wireless technology provides a sustainable, logistically feasible, and cost-effective method to deploy the large-scale number of sensors required to maximize the benefits of the Internet of Things. We have a version of the IoT that has battery-powered devices here and there, but the Internet of Things has not yet reached the huge scale of billions or trillions of devices that are ubiquitous in the world around us, providing a new level of access to information about the physical world. The battery-less solution is the only way to get to the point where this huge scale of the Internet of Things is even possible.
We like the idea of exploring products and directions where we take digital to places where it is not, and provide this interface to the physical world where there isn’t one right now. The big benefit for the batteryless technology is that, by getting rid of the battery, we create a maintenance-free environment and something that’s easy to use and easy to maintain over time. We are applying a massive amount of new technology to create this solution – really to change the way that people interact with the physical world.
Part of what we’re doing is creating an ecosystem around Everactive technology that really makes us the de facto standard on how you do battery-less monitoring in the industry. Everactive is leading the charge with a breakthrough technology category of battery-free wireless technology. That is paving the way forward for widespread adoption of the large-scale industrial Internet of Things.
The real differentiating technology that we have at Everactive is low power semiconductor technology. It’s custom integrated circuits: chips that are much lower power than what other people can provide. The technology stack that we’ve built over the years starts from that silicon and then we build upward from there.
The problems that we’ve solved first started with building chips that work reliably out in hostile environments – and our industrial market is actually a pretty challenging a place to operate. Temperature can vary widely. It’s very rugged. So we had to first build chips that could function reliably. And then integrate them into the wireless sensor nodes. And then build a wireless network that can also function reliably in hostile conditions. And then integrate that all the way up into full stack products that provide value to the customers.
Everactive has brought its solution, which uses ultra-low power chips, to build wireless sensors that are so low-power they can operate continuously in an always-on fashion without needing a battery. They instead power themselves from energy that they harvest from the environment. And they can operate continuously and empower these people who are trying to monitor their facilities and their assets to put thousands and thousands of wireless sensors out there – to create insight into the data streams from those assets that they really need to operate their facilities more efficiently.
One category of monitoring is environmental monitoring – just understanding the conditions in the spaces where people and equipment have to operate. That involves measuring things like temperature, humidity, hostile things to people like really loud noises or excessive exposure to different materials.
A second category of monitoring that’s really important is monitoring specific equipment and that’s where Everactive has taken its initial products. Our first product allows the monitoring of the entire fleet of thousands of steam traps, which are valves in a steam distribution system, so that the people maintaining that system can have near instantaneous notification when a failure occurs, and then make informed decisions about how to deal with that failure. Any way to make more optimal use of personnel that you have, is a way to go forward – and that’s in industry, that’s in government. That’s across the board. We all have to make sure that we actually have a profit margin. Government’s emission margin, the business mission out there is to support your customers as well as your stockholders in any way you can. Everactive is working towards both of those goals from the government side as well as from the business side.
“We needed a way to determine whether steam traps were malfunctioning. We have a wide range of traps that you can walk right up to, that are in use 24/7. We have some that you would have to use a large ladder or some type of lift to get up to. We have some in clean spaces that are only used once a week. Just depending on where the production process is. So we needed something that could be used in lots of different applications without someone being present when the monitoring needed to happen.”
“Everactive product was great because it provides continuous monitoring. There’s no batteries that you have to replace and by having something that can be self-energized when the production’s running, it was just a great solution. I absolutely would recommend them. It’s been a great experience from the beginning.”
Everactive wireless, batteryless IoT systems. To break free from the battery, visit everactive.com.