An interview with Shahar Levi, Co-Founder and CEO of Locusview.
We heard a lot about Locusview in the past few months, tell us about your company.
Locusview helps CGD and transmission utilities digitize and automate the collection and validation of data during construction. As a digital as-made tool, Locusview makes it easy for field crews to collect highly accurate data including GPS coordinates, pressure tests, joint and weld records, checklists and asset data all in one place. We’ve worked with leading gas utilities in the USA to create a truly end-to-end solution, by and for the gas industry. Digitizing all data during construction has created significant value for our customers including real-time construction progress, full material traceability, streamlined project handoff and automatic report generation including digital as-mades and pipebooks. Our technology enables leading gas utilities to build their networks safer, smarter and more efficiently.
What brought you to India? What work have you completed thus far?
I had the privilege of meeting Sandeep Trehan, Co-founder of Think Gas, at a conference in France. Sandeep implored me to visit the country due to the vast expansion of pipeline and CGD networks. In the past six months, we have visited India four times, met with the industry’s leading players and administered multiple successful pilots. What keeps us coming back is positive feedback across the board. Each company we’ve met understands the need for Locusview’s technology and urgency to implement it. This is because construction data can only be captured at one point in time, during the construction itself. Once assets are buried, utilities run the risk of losing critical data forever. Furthermore, real-time project management and automated validations ensure that construction work was done properly the first time, helping complete projects quicker, reducing risk and cost.
What are your main takeaways from the pilots that you’ve done in India?
We have learned that utilities in India are facing challenges of meeting project deadlines, ensuring all data is collected correctly, and validating workmanship quality. Locusview’s technology ensures that mistakes are rectified while the trench is still open and helps manage all concurrent projects. This process eliminates bottlenecks and lets construction managers focus on what’s most important. We’ve also learned that due to inaccurate location data, third parties frequently damage gas infrastructure which our technology helps avoid.
How will the Indian market leverage your experience working with USA leading gas utilities?
We’ve worked closely with leading gas utilities to build a solution which fits their needs. This customer-centric approach allowed us to identify and address common pain points and create new industry best practices. We are constantly developing new features to meet our clients needs, which are now available to the Indian market. This approach allows our customers to reap the benefits from requirements gathered and best practices established for all our gas customers worldwide.
Does Locusview require GIS implementation?
Our system is viable alongside these systems, and as a standalone offering. For utilities with GIS already implemented, we can integrate with any GIS for the automatic export of construction data after it has been approved. For utilities with no GIS implemented, our technology can act as a standalone solution to collect, validate and view geospatially all construction data in one place. Our ability to integrate with any existing technology provides us the flexibility to build a custom solution and meet the specific needs of each customer. Whereas GIS can be implemented at any time acting as the “data-bank”, ensuring data integrity can only be done during construction itself.
Can field-crews really use such an advanced tool?
We’ve built our solution for the field-crew end user specifically. We understand that if a mobile solution is not easy to use and understand, it’s worthless. During our pilots in the country we’ve seen crews begin collecting data after minimal training and take great pride in using cutting-edge technologies.
How will Locusview’s technology impact contractors?
In most cases, pipebook and as-made creation are the contractor’s responsibility. Creating these reports from loads of paper-based forms is time consuming and inefficient. With Locusview’s technology, contractors will no longer have to create these reports, instead they will be automatically generated. Furthermore, our technology eliminates the need for paper, another benefit which contractors are excited about. We hope that by creating more efficiencies in the back office, contractors will allocate more resources to the field to further speed up construction.
What type of business model are you offering?
Locusview developed a turnkey leasing model. Every field crew that is constructing gas assets will be provided a Locusview kit including a tablet, barcode scanner and high-accuracy GPS. This kit will enable them to collect all necessary construction data during construction. We’re also responsible for all the managed services such as cloud hosting and high accuracy GPS network services. The last peace is our web tool to review, approve and export the data.
How do you plan on serving India?
We’ll work closely with our customers to develop the best data model and configuration encompassing both US and Indian best practices. We’re currently in the process of building a local team and local servers to support the market and comply with regulation. We will also be providing 24-hour phone support in English and Hindi as well as 24-hour hardware replacement. India poses an exciting opportunity for Locusview, as we look forward to helping build India’s gas infrastructure as safe and efficient as possible the first time around.