Guest: Eric Reichel
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Mr. Reichel is a vice president of Product Management and co-founder of Blue Pillar. Eric is responsible for product management of the Aurora product line. Eric’s expertise includes building systems integration, enterprise energy management, microgrid & virtual power plants, automated demand response, onsite power systems, and smart buildings.
Segment overview: Eric Reichel, VP of Product Development at Blue Pillar, a leading IoT company, talks about the recent announcement of major updates to its software platform for critical facilities, ensuring that even during disasters major hospitals keep their lights on and telecom companies keep cell phones working.
Health Professional Radio – Health Supplier Segment: Blue Pillar
Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to the program today, I’m your host Neal Howard on this Health Supplier Segment here on Health Professional Radio. Keeping the lights on when disaster strikes, our guest in studio is Mr. Eric Reichel, Vice-President of Product Management and Co-Founder of Blue Pillar. Welcome to the program Eric.
Eric Reichel: Thank you, appreciate your time.
N: What exactly is Blue Pillar involved in, how are you involved in it and how does it all keep the lights on when a disaster strikes?
E: Sure. So Blue Pillar is an energy IoT platform, we’re Software Company that helps our customers connect up the equipment assets inside their critical facilities thru a platform that they can then use that information in that feasibility to drive their business in a positive direction.
N: You said internet of things platform?
N: Talk about, for our listeners that aren’t familiar with IoT, talk about the internet of things.
E: Sure. So generically IoT is a term that references sort of some of the changes in technology that we’re seeing today with the hard…coming down and sensors becoming very affordable and cellular connectivity and cloud computing and all of these changes in sort of our technology, it really allow us to do very innovative things for our customers and connect to them with equipment and buildings and themselves, now we’re all running around wearing techs for monitoring ourselves that’s an example of IoT, your net at home, thermostat that’s a simple version of what we do around sort of controlling your environment and the equipment around you. Blue Pillar really focuses on the complex and critical facilities like a hospital…
N: That crucial function, the software, you’re talking about all of the systems within a building like a smart hospital, I guess this platform controls all of that. And there are some I guess some major updates too that have just been announced, talk about those updates and how Blue Pillar’s a part of them.
E: Yeah. So yeah, our new release of our Aurora platform has really taken our product to the next level. In the connectivity of all this…energy equipment that hospitals and critical facilities have and so we focus on connecting up all of the asset study that produce energy on site. So we’re sort of experts for the backup power in the emergency power site of what hospitals have to do for joint commission or DNV compliance. More of our customers are now starting to look at putting solar panels on the roofs and other types of onsite power generation, so we’re experts in sort of connecting all of that equipment up. Also focused on the consumption side of the facility as well, so one of the equipment that’s using this energy in connecting all that up, so you have this holistic picture both from a monitoring and a control stand point of where is my energy coming from, where is it going and how is it being used and hopefully identify areas that are considered being wasted and you can do something about that or areas of weakness within your facility so that you can increase the resiliency of your facility ultimately make it a safer place for your patients.
N: On an ongoing basis this platform can monitor the usage, not necessarily in a disaster but when a disaster happens say as energy sources fluctuate or the amount of energy that’s available, does this platform prioritize on its own and say “Okay, this can be utilized at this rate” or totally not used at all but when more power becomes available does it recognize and say “Okay, let’s turn this on now” as opposed to something else? Is it that smart?
E: Yes. We call those microgrids, it’s sort of a new emerging application of these onsite power assets and are application in Aurora does have the ability to sort of control and make those decisions during these events whether it be a storm or just a utility power outage. For many of our customers the Aurora platform becomes their emergency management tool. When they see the lights go out, the first thing they do is go to their computer and take a look at the Blue Pillar Aurora application and they’ll get real time feedback about which generator started up, which buildings are dark, what other assets they have at their control and they either manually make decisions. Some customers still like to ultimately make the final call but many are also starting to take that leap towards automation where they are sort of putting the rules some place to have the time so that the machines and the technology just take over from there.
N: And I would assume that your recent receiving the Dell Internet of Things Silver Award, recognized as the 15th fastest growing company in energy technology. Talk about that award and what were some of the key things that allowed you to excel?
E: Sure. The underlying complexity of what we do is there and making it simple as sort of what IoT, the vision of IoT right? Your iPhone makes things that are very technical and very complicated, very simple to the user and so IoT sort of focus on doing the same thing. And so in working with Dell, they’re one of our partners that provides some of the underlying hardware that provides to the connectivity and the data access that allows us to do what we do. And so we find that the companies that really embrace partnerships and working together and building an ecosystems of companies that add value together are gonna be the ones that really excel in this IoT space, coz there’s not a single company they can do all of it and be experts at every single part of it coz the underlying complexity is really there, so we’re constantly working with the likes of Microsoft and Dell and many others that are making the great, the best pieces of the solution and helping bring those and wrap those up in a holistic solution to our customers. And it’s just, it’s an exciting time in the market being named as one of the 15 fastest growing energy companies by…it just proves that this market is finally starting to take off and the 10 years that we’ve put in it will pillar developing our product and getting ready for this point are paying off.
N: Where do you see Blue Pillar going in the future when it comes to, say government contracts and things of that nature, working with the military closely?
E: Yeah, so the military definitely is a target for us and someone that we hope to do business with. They obviously account themselves as a very critical power customer and have some very strong leadership pushing them towards really the resiliency and the microgrid side of things so that ultimately they are in control of their own sort of energy future and energy destiny. And they also have some very strong renewable goals on sort of switching from fossil fuel-based energy production to just solar and other types of renewable. So it’s a really exciting driver in our industry both the DOD and the Federal Government in general sort of pushing towards these newer cleaner types of energy production, more distributed energy production, some more of…facilities and that’s where a solution like Blue Pillar and the Aurora Platform really become a vital piece of the puzzle to make that sort of smart…happen.
N: Now when we visit bluepillar.com, talk about your web presence there. What would we expect to find there and how much information can we get in order to make an informed decision as to whether to go with you guys?
E: Sure. So at the end of the day IoT and energy IoT is really all about the used cases. The platform itself provides us this underlying level of connectivity that you need to get access to the equipment and the bidirectional control but then what you do with that platform is really where the rubber hits the road and so if you go to our website, you’ll see it’s very focused on what our customers are actually doing with Aurora and our application and what are the business cases and used cases and the drivers that have driven them to ultimately choose sort of a technology solution to drive that but at the end of the day it’s all about the business case and the used case and so you’ll see used cases, about how hospitals are using it for their emergency power management compliance testing, how other critical facilities are using it for improved resiliency and microgrid control. And so there’s a good amount of case studies and examples of sort of our product in use that really give people a really good idea of how can this actually be applied and how is it relevant to me.
N: Now what about the smaller maybe not so critical entity that still wants to take advantage of your platform and its technology?
E: Yeah, definitely there’s a used case for that as well. We have a good percentage of our customers that are sort of smaller facility owners but they have a large number of them and so the ability to manage them all, they don’t have enough people to be physically at all their locations is another very strong used case for us and at the end of the day people’s definition of what critical is varies, right? For hospitals it’s very clear right? Its life safety and patient safety is number one priority and without power things get very, very tough in a hospital. But for many other businesses that have smaller, what those of us that has been in a hospital space might think “Well that’s not quite as critical.” It’s still critical to them because its revenue protection, its business continuity, there’s a lot of drivers other than protecting life and things like that that the owners define as critical to them.
N: Great, great. You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard for this Health Supplier Segment here. We’ve been in studio talking with Mr. Eric Reichel, Vice-President of Product Management and Co-Founder of Blue Pillar. Now, Eric is responsible for product management of the Aurora Product line. Well it’s been great having you here with us today Eric.
E: Thank you very much Neal, appreciate it.
N: Thank you. Transcripts and audio of this program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au and also at hpr.fm and you can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes.