Taras Wankewycz has been a tech entrepreneur in Asia for the past 19 years (9 years in Shanghai and 10 years in Singapore) and is at the origin of 5 companies at different stages of maturity, some of which are moving into the unicorn zone. They each cover various sectors from ed-tech to zero emission vehicles, as well as electric flight technologies, IoT/Robotics and AI-enabled digital services. He founded H3 Dynamics in Singapore in 2015. The company supplies enterprise and government clients with cloud-based visual inspection reports and remote security as a service, covering industrial, public or utilities installations. H3 Dynamics is going to market together with large MNCs in the areas such as telecommunications, cyber-security, enterprise software. In this interview, Taras Wankewycz talks about what his company has to offer and what’s next for H3 Dynamics.
E-3 Magazine: What exactly does H3 Dynamics offer?
Taras Wankewycz: H3 Dynamics sells digitized visual inspection reports as a service, targeting various industry sectors and use cases. Our solution starting point focuses on safety and maintenance monitoring of commercial and residential buildings.
How does your solution work?
Wankewycz: Central to the company is a cloud-based data processing workflow which applies a number of processes, including 3D modeling, computer vision and machine learning, to produce a complete visual inspection report that follows industry-specific standards in its delivery. The solution is open to different ways of acquiring unstructured data collection systems, ranging from simple portable or fixed CCTV cameras to autonomous robots or drones stationed in the field and connected to the internet, set up as autonomous scanning devices. Our digital reports as a service marketplace is organized by industry sector and is branded as H3 Zoom. Clients can log into H3 Zoom and subscribe to different use-case specific reports, and H3 Dynamics takes care of the entire delivery process, anywhere in the world. Some of our clients require an expert to validate or endorse the automated reports generated by our system. We’ve created an expert review portal in our system that enables the interaction with civil engineers, so that their input and recommendations can also be added to the overall findings.
Do customers need special technology to use your service?
Wankewycz: Customers simply provide us with the list of sites, structural assets and their locations. 2D drawings of these assets, 3D models if available, or 2D floorplans. If unavailable, H3 Dynamics can create 3D models of the structures and use these as the digital background for defect mapping. Clients can supply H3 Dynamics with images, hire drone teams if drones are to be used, or we can provide the entire end-to-end solution using in-country, certified third-party resources.
Why did you start H3 Dynamics to begin with?
Wankewycz: We were in a completely different technology space before, working with drone users to extend flight durations with novel battery technology based on hydrogen fuel cells. One of our clients, a leading oil and gas company, was using fixed-wing drones to survey pipelines in areas with no available infrastructure. We thought a better solution could be developed to accelerate and automate the entire visual inspection process, using a combination of machine vision and autonomous charging stations for scanner robots, which could be positioned in faraway, remote environments to help automate data acquisition. From there, we started experimenting with the software portion of our technology in our homebase of Singapore, which is home to about 45,000 buildings – all of which need regular inspections. We fine-tuned our software solution to meet the needs of this first use case, created the overall platform and started working on our autonomous robot shelter systems to help scale up data acquisition in both urban and non-urban environments. We see a large global potential for cloud-based services across multiple use cases and industries, which we have set out to build step by step.
How could your solution potentially help customers navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and the different challenges of reopening?
Wankewycz: Our developments were independent of the COVID-19 situation at first, but with stay-at-home notices and international travel bans, the idea of using remote robotics as the ‘eyes and ears’ of expert engineers became even more relevant. Basically, despite all the lockdowns, critical infrastructure must continue to operate safely and securely, which means automation and digitization of certain maintenance processes are in fact accelerated by COVID-19. This is similar to the rise of various other teleservices such as web-based conferencing or tele-commuting, tele-medicine, so on and so forth. What H3 Dynamics is essentially doing is building the ‘tele-medicine’ platform for health monitoring of industrial infrastructure. We believe that certain types of mobile robots can be the pre-deployed technicians in the field – their job is to collect data using advanced sensors (HD cameras, thermal cameras and more) so that experts don’t need to physically go to the site. By going digital and by adding AI and various other data processing capabilities, we can help create faster, safer and more accurate results for end users, and we can also help professional engineers avoid repetitive or tedious tasks, so that they can deliver even better results.
Can your solution be integrated in SAP systems?
Wankewycz: H3 Dynamics was part of the SAP.io foundry program in Singapore earlier this year. Our main outcome is we now have a working API link between our first ‘façade inspector’ product (exterior wall inspections of buildings) and SAP Asset Intelligent Network (AIN), and the solution is now on the SAP App center. By connecting to SAP AIN, our solution takes a big leap forward: not only do we provide clients with a digitized inspection report, mapping out each defect type across the surface of our client’s structures – but clients can now also take rectification/repair action on each of these defects sending work orders on the SAP system. The work orders are immediately reflected onto our cloud-based interface and onto the actual surface maps as ‘work in progress’ checkmarks. This means rectification progress can now also be tracked by end users over time, closing the loop on digitized maintenance-focused inspections.
How has SAP.io’s involvement impacted your journey?
Wankewycz: SAP’s technology layer is adding value to our solution and opens new business opportunities for both parties. We are encountering more companies as potential clients who are already running on SAP and eager to extend SAP capabilities to the type of solutions we are building. We are also interacting with SAP to check which of our existing clients are SAP clients so that we can offer a new feature and benefit related to rectification tracking and its visualization on digital representations of our client’s assets (2D or 3D models). As H3 Dynamics progresses its solutions across numerous other use cases, we now also have the knowledge and capabilities to re-apply the same API link to SAP AIN to these new solutions, which is adding more choices to the SAP App center as well as increasing our reach among SAP clients.
What’s next for H3 Dynamics?
Wankewycz: For the past year or so we have been working to increase our client base for our first digital services targeting the built environment, with a first focus on Singapore and South East Asia. Our next step is global expansion in the built environment sector, targeting specific regions or cities, including Australia, Hong Kong, France, Brazil, and the US. We are also entering new industries with new solutions under development in the maritime, renewable energy, and mining sectors.
Thank you for the interview.
Enjoyed this interview in our SAP Startup Spotlight Series? You might also like our piece on Energiency, an Industry 4.0 technology mixing human and artificial intelligence to enable manufacturing companies to detect and achieve up to 15 percent new energy and CO2 savings in just a few months.