Naturally occurring forest fires are necessary for a diverse and resilient ecosystem. But global warming has exponentially increased the frequency and severity of fires and storms. Then, there are unnatural fires, like the one sparked by powerlines in California in 2018, triggering the deadliest and most destructive fire in state history. Thankfully, new satellite and AI technology is ready to leapfrog the way infrastructure is secured.

The new normal

As a small comfort, the coronavirus will prompt the largest ever annual fall in global CO2 emissions. However the overall positive effect is negligible, in fact, 2020 is on track to be the warmest year in recorded history.

Extreme weather is the new normal. 2019 was the year of mega-fires; in Amazon, Indonesia, Siberia, Alaska and Australia, forests were ablaze. The Australia fire alone released around 900 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. In comparison, this is equivalent to nearly double the continent’s total yearly fossil fuel emissions.

We live in times of exponentiality, for good and bad. Startups and investors are chasing exponential growth. Artificial Intelligence is advancing faster and faster. And infrastructure is struggling with increasing demand while trying to conquer the elements in shapes of droughts, floodings, super-storms and mega-fires.

“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic.”

– Peter Drucker

The old solution

Utility companies are required to regularly inspect infrastructures such as powerlines to keep them safe from growing or falling vegetation that could be ignited or cause damage. This inspection is traditionally done with gasoline-thirsty helicopters and large drones operated from nearby trucks. When needed the most, i.e. after a severe storm; drone and helicopter inspectors skyrocket their pricing due to high demand.

Worryingly, powerline damages and outages happen with such frequency that insurance companies won’t insure them. Also, governments usually issue hefty fines for downtime so utility operators need to keep a huge stormy-day-fund for compensations and repairs.

The new solution

Spacept is the Swedish startup with an AI-powered sustainable solution that is several times more affordable than the competition, offering lightning fast service anywhere on the globe and requires zero carbon emission. We make this possible by leveraging fresh satellite images and letting Spacepts proprietary AI automatically make three dimensional proximity threat assessments.

“Adaptability just became the most desired business skill, things will never again transform as slow as today.”

The pain of disruption

So why isn’t Spacept technology already the gold standard for inspecting everything from powerlines and railroads to pipelines and highways? Because adapting to change is hard, even more painful when the change is exponential. A couple of years ago, satellite network providers and computer vision AI were insufficiently mature. Today, utility companies can ground drones and helicopters, unscalable technologies that operated reliably for decades.

The obligation to change

Forget IQ, in 2020 a workforce with a strong Adaptability Quotient (AQ) can be the differentiator between growth and bankruptcy. When you stop getting better you stop being good. As a business leader, this means you need to embrace new technology faster, even if it disrupts your current operations. Otherwise someone else will.

Ref. The Guardian, Bloomberg, NBC News, The Guardian, The Verge, GreenBiz