Border States Electric and Sharper Shape Join Forces To Provide UAS Inspection Tools
New unmanned aerial services and software greatly increases the speed and efficiency of performing detailed inspections of electric utility assets
Fargo, ND – (January 29, 2018) – Today, Border States Electric announced that they have reached an agreement with Sharper Shape Inc. – a leading drone inspection technology provider – for the sales and distribution of the company’s automatic drone utility inspection software and services.
BSE is one of the largest fully employee-owned companies in America and is a product and supply chain powerhouse. More than 2,500 BSE employee-owners in 22 states provide products, materials management, and logistics expertise to tens of thousands of customers across diverse industries. In announcing this distribution agreement, BSE will add Sharper Shape’s Automatic Detailed Inspection (ADI) service, Consolidated Linear Inspection (CLI) service, and Cloud Optimized Remote Evaluation (CORE) software suite to their broad range of product offerings.
“Aligning with strong business partners has been critical to our growth and success,” says Gerald Buck, Senior VP of Utility Sales and Marketing for the company. “This move to provide our utility customers with Sharper Shape’s unmanned aerial products will help strengthen our reputation even further as an innovative leader in the utility supply chain industry.”
Sharper Shape’s range of unmanned aerial products leverages the capabilities of the current generation of small commercial unmanned aircraft. The company’s CLI service collects a wide range of image types and LiDAR data simultaneously, while the Automatic Detailed Inspection service largely automates the process of performing close-up examinations of elevated electric components. Throughout the process, Sharper Shape’s CORE software suite provides intelligent tools for flight planning, field operations, and for using AI technology to expedite the process of transforming raw inspection data into valuable maintenance information.
“Our customers trust us to always uncover products that provide the highest value,” says Patrick Novak, BSE’s VP of Marketing. “We have been investigating drone technology for a few years, and we feel confident that Sharper Shape’s UAS inspection tools will absolutely exceed our customer’s expectations. Their UAS service offerings and CORE software suite truly are state of the art in this exciting new field.”
Paul Frey, Sharper Shape’s VP of sales is enthusiastic about the new agreement. “Border States Electric is one of the most respected suppliers for the electric utility industry. We feel that we could not have aligned with a better partner to handle our world-class technology. This agreement will allow a broad range of companies – from Public Utility Districts, municipal power companies, all the way to huge multi-state utilities – to quickly and easily acquire the UAS services they need to help keep the lights on,” said Mr. Frey.
Sharper Shape’s drone services are immediately available as a complete end-to-end inspection package, or companies can use their own aircraft and personnel while utilizing Sharper Shape’s CORE “Drone Software As A Service™” technologies to maximize the efficiency of in-house unmanned aerial operations. CLI services have already been widely adopted by major international energy companies, and the new ADI service has proven to be popular with US as well as international utilities due to its ability to largely automate the entire process of using drones for close inspection of critical infrastructure components.
“Our ADI service really minimizes the effort required to capture all the data needed to completely analyze the health of a utility system,” says Paul Frey, Sharper Shape’s VP of sales. “UAS field crews can get a lot more done each day, with much more predictable and repeatable results.”
Unmanned aerial technology is a relatively new and rapidly evolving field with an enormous potential to improve performance and cost efficiencies for utility maintenance departments. There is perhaps no more critical industry in the US than a properly functioning and reliable energy grid, and UAS technology has the potential to revolutionize the way that this critical infrastructure is maintained.
“Sharper Shape’s services and technology are a complete and mature approach for our customers to start putting the incredible capabilities of unmanned aircraft systems to work today,” says BSE’s Novak. “This is really going to help our customers improve the performance of their utility maintenance programs in a big way.”