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When he was 15, Gridware CEO Tim Barat dropped out of high school in Victoria, Australia to become an electrical lineman. In that dangerous job, he realized utilities had no way to monitor physical electrical lines and poles in real time, making it hard to anticipate and address problems like power outages and wildfires. After going back to school for electrical engineering and computer science, Barat created Gridware. The network of solar- and battery-powered sensors—they don’t rely on grid power—is trained with artificial intelligence to recognize vibrations in electrical lines and what they may signal: a truck driving past, high winds, a branch falling on the wires. Each sensor sits on a powerline pole and alerts the utility when it detects a problem. Utilities in California and Washington state have installed Gridware, an upgraded version of which was rolled out in August.


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