iRestore: Turning the Lights Back on Across America

Deepak Swamy, Founder & CEO

Across North America, almost 1 million utility workers work to restore and maintain the grid to keep electricity flowing to homes and businesses. These workers perform a difficult and hazardous job—yet they often use paper or antiquated PC software designed for desk-based workers to document their work. “In fact, one of our advisors narrated how a utility lineman was so frustrated with their system that they literally flung their laptop out of the window of their truck!” According to iRestore Founder & CEO Deepak Swamy, “That story really spoke to me about the need for a new type of user experience for utility workers, and iRestore—the mobile app platform for utilities—was born!”

iRestore started by launching its First Responder app, designed to allow community first responders to become the utility’s “eyes in the field.” First responders (fire and police) in the utility’s service territory report utility damage directly to the utility control center with a photo and the precise address of the damage.

Rather than build (yet another) system that utility users must learn, the iRestore system focused on building a system that learns its users

This process is safer, simpler and faster because the iRestore First Responder app improves the utility’s “situational awareness.” In other words, the utility sends the right repair crews and equipment “the first time,” reducing unnecessary truck rolls and better prioritizing incident response. National Grid, iRestore’s first customer, rolled out the app to thousands of first responders across its three-state service territory. National Grid now uses the information provided by first responders to determine the necessary resources required to fix the problem—even before the trouble crews arrive on the scene!

“Reliability is a key metric for the industry, and iRestore’s location- and context-aware platform and apps help utilities pinpoint hotspots of grid damage and intelligently route crews to work locations, enabling faster restoration,” states Swamy. iRestore apps work in conjunction with existing utility systems such as GIS and automated distribution management systems (ADMS). ADMS integrations are in progress with multiple vendors. This enables seamless integration and inter-operation with the control room outage management system (OMS) software in use at most utilities.
This enables seamless integration and inter-operation with the control room outage management system (OMS) software in use at most utilities.

Building on the successful launch of iRestore’s First Responder app, iRestore has since rolled out a complete suite of smartphone and tablet apps that give electric, gas and water utilities real-time situational awareness to facilitate the rapid deployment of resources, for both emergency restoration as well as “blue-sky” work assignments. Other products include apps for safety, asset inspections, damage assessment for major weather-related incidents, crew callout/mobilizing, QA/QC management and many more.
Going one step further, iRestore is building new apps that blend augmented reality, edge computing technologies and machine vision to create new solutions to problems in grid operation and maintenance—and has also launched a suite of apps enabling safer and more reliable gas utility operations.

“Think of us like an enterprise Uber for utilities,” adds Swamy, “on the one hand, we help utilities determine where a resource is needed (i.e. what’s broken and where it is); on the other, we help them get the right resources (crews and equipment) to the right location.”