Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Vector invests in MPrest internet of energy platform

Steve Rogerson
November 7, 2017

New Zealand electrical and natural gas utility Vector is expanding its internet of energy relationship with MPrest by collaborating on an energy platform and investing in and reselling MPrest software in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.
Vector has made a significant investment in Israel-based MPrest and will act as a reselling partner in the Oceania region. Vector joins current MPrest investors OurCrowd, GE Ventures, Angeleno Group, Israel Electric and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.
Vector delivers energy and communications services to more than 1.2 million homes and businesses. As an energy group, it has investments in many businesses including electricity and gas, and it has successfully deployed smart meters and commercial solar and battery energy systems in New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific.
Vector entered into the investment and reselling agreement with MPrest following its collaboration to develop MPrest's mDerms application. Being vendor agnostic, the system unifies and optimises network assets and enables new and emerging customer needs and generation sources to be integrated into the way a network operates.
"Our partnership with Vector is what we strive for – a happy customer who gains confidence in our software and comes back not only wanting to invest in it, but also to help replicate its success for other customers," said Natan Barak, chief executive officer of MPrest. "It's common for our customers to expand their relationship with us after experiencing the benefits of our products. Vector's interest in transitioning from customer to investor and business partner is a powerful vote of confidence in MPrest; 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."
Under the agreement, Vector will assist MPrest in expanding its reach by distributing its software throughout Oceania. The partnership is representative of a larger market trend as utilities such Vector embrace the industrial IoT to meet the evolving and expanding demands of the energy landscape.
"We are excited to expand our relationship with MPrest," said Simon Mackenzie, chief executive officer of Vector. "With the transformation of the energy sector in mind, we've already been leading the development of new customer solutions using our existing expertise in running energy systems combined with advanced technology and international partners.”
Using MPrest's monitoring, analytics and control software lets Vector manage complex energy systems in more sophisticated ways, harnessing the power of artificial intelligence and rapid and cumulative decision making to unlock new energy services for consumers.
"It means that from Vector's control room, with one set of management software, our engineers can better predict and manage outages by optimising DERs to enable a streamlined, efficient delivery of energy to and from the grid,” said Mackenzie. “That's never been a possibility, up until now. This helps democratise energy, enabling customers to easily access low cost energy and control different network inputs to optimise their energy use and cost."
The software, which connects the dots into a unified smart grid management system, is suited to the needs of the modern energy networks. It gathers and analyses distributed energy resources, demand response and network data, enabling monitoring and control capabilities for various energy utility operations while remaining open to allow for the integration of new functions and systems in the future.
"This internet of energy platform capability that has been co-developed is world-leading and we think is the next big evolution in energy systems and platforms,” said Mackenzie. “As well as using it to add significant smarts to our own networks to benefit customers, we look forward to delivering these solutions to our partners and to other energy companies across Australia and the South Pacific, and in the process sharing in MPrest's global success as an investor in the company."
Vector is using MPrest technology to develop and apply a machine learning and artificial intelligence system that will better manage Auckland’s changing energy demands. The mDerms programme can help monitor, analyse and control Auckland’s energy network, which connects traditional infrastructure such as electricity lines and substations with new technology such as solar and battery energy to power more than half a million homes and businesses.
MPrest recently announced a partnership with the New York Power Authority (NYPA), through which NYPA uses the software to manage asset health in its network.