Sydney based start up VAPAR has transitioned its AI-infused infrastructure fault detection platform to Microsoft Azure as it scales up and focuses on international opportunities.
VAPAR uses artificial intelligence to analyse the condition of sewer and stormwater pipes by interpreting video footage and has achieved 85 per cent accuracy, exceeding the 60 per cent accuracy rate for a manual review of the same footage. The AI platform tackles in a couple of minutes what takes human operators two weeks to achieve, and reins in costs by around 33 per cent.
Co-founder and CEO Amanda Siqueira, said; “In Australia there’s about 250,000 KM of sewer and stormwater pipe. Globally, there’s approximately 6 million KM. We have plans to move towards drinking water pipes and other utility pipelines such as those for telecommunications, oil and gas.”
The company believes that there are millions of assets being inspected visually today that are ripe for AI-supported automation.
Originally hosted on Google’s cloud, VAPAR decided to switch to Microsoft Azure to better align with customer expectations and requirements.
Recently, VAPAR was engaged by SA Water, an existing Azure customer, to use VAPAR’s AI platform to demonstrate the performance of AI to solve real-world engineering problems.
SA Water’s Senior Planner Wastewater Assets David Van Bochove said “We are continually promoting innovation and excellence and looking for opportunities to implement new technologies to help deliver world class water service to our customers.
“Our work with VAPAR has given us an understanding into the workings of machine learning models and their application in wastewater pipe condition assessments. The use of artificial intelligence in wastewater management has potential to enhance the way we make decisions about the way we manage our wastewater mains.”
Michelle Aguilar, co-founder and CTO said “Many of our government and utility customers already use Microsoft services, it’s a trusted and familiar brand, so when customers hear that we are on Azure, that gives them confidence in delivery and helps speed up adoption of emerging technologies like ours.
“Hosting on Azure gives us the ability to integrate securely into our customers Active Directory, which streamlines the customer experience”.
While VAPAR’s initial focus has been Australia, it has global ambitions, and Siqueira and Aguilar identified Microsoft Azure as a critical ally to support that expansion.
Delivered as a cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) solution, being resident on a globally trusted cloud architecture, is expected to buoy the company’s international progress.
Rachel Bondi, General Manager, One Commercial Partner, Microsoft Australia said that the progress that VAPAR had made already was impressive, and Azure and the Microsoft partner ecosystem would help support the company’s growth ambitions.
“We are delighted that VAPAR has transitioned to Azure and will be able to leverage our global partners to reach international prospects – but also benefit from the rich technology ecosystem that surrounds Microsoft Azure, leveraging not only our AI capabilities but also APIs, storage, and plug ins with services delivered securely.
“VAPAR’s customers are looking for a reliable, resilient and cost-effective solution to improve their asset management and predictive maintenance capability. With Microsoft Azure as the technology foundations for this important software as a service platform VAPAR is another step closer to realising its vision.”