When Taras Wankewycz, founder and CEO of H3 Dynamics, started the company five years ago, he saw endless applications for DBX, an autonomous deployment platform for various forms of ground robots and drones. These shelter systems could be installed at various remote industrial sites, even on building rooftops across mega-cities, so that locally based scanner robots could become the eyes and ears of expert engineers — whom may be located in other parts of the world. That vision proved right when COVID-19 dramatically changed the way the world needs to operate.
With international travel becoming nearly impossible, expert engineers cannot be easily deployed at remote locations for expert inspections at sites such as dams, solar farms, water reservoirs or other structure types. With its H3 Zoom cloud based inspection services platform, H3 Dynamics has made it possible for experts to review the results of an inspection carried out by a machine learning integrated workflow, without having to go to the actual site.
How it works: Tele-Robotics-as-a-Service
H3 Dynamics has built a digital services platform that takes in unstructured data and outputs ready to use reports.
This digital services platform can connect to multiple forms of data acquisition devices, typically cameras — on cellphones, mounted on fixed poles, and now also mobile robots that can be deployed in the field.
To automate data collection using mobile robots, the company designed rugged shelter systems which can link up to the internet and recharge the batteries of various third-party drones or ground robots. Such base stations send the data collected by robots to H3 Dynamic’s digital services platform. There, via artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning processing on the cloud, physical world data is turned into useful insights for the end-user to activate necessary actions.
The company delivers clients with valuable outcomes that result from an autonomous data processing and data acquisition as an end to end solution.
How it began: high-rise building inspection automation
H3 Dynamics’ first digital services address built-environment safety challenges in smart cities and targets commercial / residential real estate.
“Being based in Singapore, we are surrounded by buildings making real estate a logical first entry point — our first use case focused on accelerating building facade inspections in Asian megacities,” said Taras. “Even though Singapore is a modern city, its built environment is aging. After more and more reports of falling facade elements from tall buildings, a law was recently passed to boost facade checks on all Singapore buildings. This translated to a real need in this area. But this is not a Singapore problem. It’s a global issue, as more and more megacities emerge.”
Manual inspections: Lengthy, error-prone, paper-based and expensive
The problem with building facade inspections is that it’s a lengthy, manual, and expensive process. And there are various challenges associated with it.
“Typically, it takes up to 8 weeks and costs tens of thousands of dollars to inspect one building,” said Taras. “Manual inspection is quite dangerous, and prone to human error which can lead to mishaps when defects are missed. The process is also paper based, which hampers the ability to track the state of defects and repairs over time.”
H3 Dynamics felt it needed to tackle this because the paper-based and manual way of inspecting building facades is simply not scalable and safe enough to meet the needs of Asia’s megacities. There are also no easy ways of measuring the state of buildings over time without having a digital starting point.
Automated inspections and monitoring: Safer, faster, better, and cheaper
With a digital defect mapping solution based on an intelligent processing on the cloud, together with autonomous drones or robots used as scanners, the entire process becomes safer, faster, better, and cheaper.
The 4- to 8-weeks inspection process can be condensed to a few hours — decreasing work time by 97%. Reduced manpower and the redirection of precious resources to higher value business areas offer productivity gains by over 70%. The solution also identifies 20% more defects than the human process. And a digital track record for all buildings inspected via this process simplifies the monitoring of defects and repairs.
“To ensure it’s simple and intuitive for users, we have different interfaces for different parts of the value chain. Certified professional engineers, for example, can validate and endorse the results found by our AI solution. Meanwhile portfolio owners can visualize the state of progress of inspections as well as high-level insights using findings across multiple structures,” said Taras.
“We are rolling this out in Singapore right now. Some of our key customers include JTC Corporation, a state-owned property developer and manager; Housing Development Board, a government agency in charge of public housing; and SMRT, the local rail transport system. To date, over 300 buildings have been inspected. That’s over 14TB of data gathered, and 4M images validated.”
Transforming the future of mission-critical operations, with SAP
H3 Dynamics’ DBX is now integrated with SAP Asset Intelligence Network.
“With SAP, we have created a seamless connection between the defects identified and the customers that are SAP-enabled,” said Taras. “This allows SAP customers to automate the work orders for repairs, track the status of work orders, and generate reports that can be shared with contractors to ensure a unified view of problems and resolutions.”
Taras added, “H3 Dynamics is thrilled to be helping facilities management companies, government agencies, and more achieve operational excellence and safety — together with SAP.
Autonomous robotics and actionable intelligence play a huge role in driving more efficient, effective, and safer mission-critical operations. They are vital for organizations looking to optimize their assets — both human- and infrastructure-wise.
For us, buildings are only the start. The exposure to SAP technologies, and opportunities to collaborate with SAP customers will help us develop use cases across industries smarter. We look forward to working with SAP to help enterprises operate more intelligently.”
The enthusiasm goes both ways. At SAP.iO, our work is about identifying and supporting innovative startups that can make a difference and change the world. We are glad H3 Dynamics is a part of our program.