Techstars® Startup Week Tampa Bay is a five-day celebration with over 100 events led by entrepreneurs, and hosted in Tampa Bay’s hottest entrepreneurial spaces. Each day is loaded with sessions to educate startups: legal, marketing, tech, etc. These classes are led by entrepreneurs who have been there and done that. This action-packed week brings thousands of entrepreneurs, local leaders, and friends together to grow our community’s unique entrepreneurial identity.
Ms. Fitzpatrick joins an all-star panel of local leaders to provide attendees with expertise and advice in various subjects. Gain insights from this startup powerhouse panel. From raising capital to building multi-million dollar tech startups, these inspiring business leaders will shed light on how to thrive as a founder in Tampa Bay.
Tami Fitzpatrick is founder and CEO of Entropy Technology Design. Entropy is a Florida certified Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB) startup that developed the NIMBUS™ threat detection technology. Their smart sensors and software platform create new and untapped data fields to provide advance warning and protection against severe weather, tornadoes and earthquakes, invasive drones and drone navigation, infrastructure mapping, and other security and public safety threats.
Ms. Fitzpatrick’s professional background includes 25 years’ experience in small corporate management, public relations, international trade, with expertise in advanced technology development, product conceptualization, global sales and marketing. Appointed by the Florida House of Representatives, Ms. Fitzpatrick serves as Vice-Chair for the Florida SBDC State Advisory Board and also served on the Florida Chamber of Commerce Board of Governors and as their Small Business Council Chair.
Organized by Dreamit (a leading early-stage venture fund) and Bisnow, this two-day event featured dual content and networking tracks aimed at driving cross-industry innovation for urbantech and healthtech. An all-star line-up of industry titans, high-ranking government officials, innovators, and entrepreneurs provided actionable insights and unparalleled networking.
As major storms and potential terrorism have made America aware of the vulnerability and critical nature of our electric infrastructure (think Puerto Rico post-Hurricane Maria), new ideas are needed to better protect this essential part of our overall critical infrastructure systems and to repair it more quickly when it does get hit.
Awhile back, I wrote about a technology that could detect incoming lightning strikes with enough warning time to get exposed people to safety.
The Nimbus technology detects very low frequency magnetic signals that are generated by thunderstorms, hurricanes, and other severe weather.
In its basic form, the Nimbus 4D handheld detector could allow attendees of outside public events (ballgames, camps, concerts, etc.) to be moved to shelter before anyone was hurt.
Applied in different forms and to larger scales, the Nimbus technology could enhance our ability to detect and provide critical warning about thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes. The same base technology also could be modified to “see” small drones approaching facilities with possible hostile intent, with enough time to take counter measures.
All this remains on the cutting edge, but many experts contacted me (and Entropy Technology Design, the designers of Nimbus) and said, “Great stuff, but it is still a ‘nice-to-have’ tech capability.” But memorably heavy storms in recent years may enable this technology to make the leap to the status of a necessity.
The devastation wrought by big storms is always a tragedy, but in some cases it is catastrophic. A regular thunderstorm can knock out dozens to hundreds of neighborhood electrical transformers. Bigger storms (hurricanes, tornadoes, squall lines) can take that number into the thousands. The island of Puerto Rico lost nearly everything.
What if the good guys could “read” the storms before they hit and were able to power down the transformers (and other electric transmission infrastructure) in the likely target area? What if they could do it seconds before the storm hits and causes an electronic surge or flips their fuses? The transformers then could be turned back on without problem as soon as the storm passes.
And what about the transformers that do get hit and damaged?
You can use the same technology to locate the specific transformers that need physical repair versus mere reset. A huge portion of the recovery time after a major storm is spent in going from transformer to transformer to see which are broken and which just need their fuses flipped.
This may sound like wishful thinking, but it actually is achievable today and Entropy also is focused on this.
Infrastructure mapping has become a critical part of the development of the Internet of Things—the network of physical devices, vehicles, home appliances, and other items embedded with software, sensors, and connectivity that enables them to connect and exchange data—and the goal of smart cities.
Smart cities seek to use the Internet of Things to provide a detailed, real-time data web that can be used by the city infrastructure to make critical decisions quickly, safely, and seamlessly. The same logic that will allow your refrigerator to tell you to buy milk as you drive by the grocery store can be used to take important city equipment off-line before it’s damaged by a thunderstorm.
In both examples, the data is real and delivered exactly where it’s needed in time to make a quality-of-life decision.
But cities can’t become truly smart until the very real threat from dangerous weather is made a part of the moment-to-moment database used to make decisions.
The Nimbus technology represents one way to add this important weather data into the planning and reaction capability of a smart city. Because the Nimbus was designed to be small and portable, it’s easily mounted on commercially available drones of the sort that are owned and operated by lots of folks today. That new concept can be used in several ways that feed on each other to provide a comprehensive system.
The first step is to “map” the electric transmission infrastructure, in particular the unique “fingerprint” of the radiated magnetic field produced by the different parts of the system (major transmission line towers, normal power poles, and neighborhood transformers). There are an enormous number of miles of these systems, but by using multiple low-cost drones, this can be done fairly quickly.
Once this map of “normal” is obtained, you have a baseline heartbeat of the city, town, or infrastructure that tells what the system looks like when in normal operation. As a storm approaches, operators use the Nimbus Base Station (provides more range and thus warning) in its original mode to determine the storm’s likely specific target area and use this information to preemptively shut down key elements seconds before the hit, and to restart it as the storm passes.
This alone would limit the damage to a point far below the norm for a major event. You don’t need to shut down an entire system for hours, or lose it for weeks when you truly can limit the shutdown to seconds (perfect for critical systems) and keep the damage to a minimum.
The final piece is sending out the same drone fleet after the storm to find the specific transformers or towers that no longer “match” the baseline. This pinpoints which should be prioritized for repair, which will allow it to be accomplished with fewer repair assets and eliminate the need for checking every individual device in the effected area.
This is a classic example of the out-of-the-box thinking we need today. By using a linked technology in different manners to accomplish multiple tasks, you save money, space, and training. Can any community or power provider afford to not invest in this kind of capability?
Nimbus may have been a cool, added safety device before, but this wider application is absolutely needed today. No one could have foreseen how brittle the critical infrastructure of Puerto Rico had become. Hurricane Maria simply destroyed it.
The American people have stated clearly they think the recovery operation is too slow, despite the Herculean efforts being made. We must do better as a society, and the goals and visions of the Internet of Things and smart cities as a driver can help us accomplish this.
Today there is a choice. Deployment of technologies such as Nimbus can map our infrastructure systems, identify a storm’s target, guide mitigating actions to minimize damage (and downtime), and finally triage the recovery effort. Every step gets citizens back up and on the grid faster and more effectively.
All together, this means less suffering and less cost. The investment is small compared to the savings.
Why are we waiting?
PHOTO CREDIT: A Puerto Rico resident clears away debris left in Hurricane Maria’s wake. (Photo: Carl Juste/Zuma Press/Newscom)
Here is what’s missing from your weather information today?
The world of technology and information has changed dramatically in the last twenty years. Wireless communication and blue tooth devices power the daily lives of billions of people. Entirely new technologies from AI, smart cities, drones to driver-less vehicles have appeared, and the IoT (Internet of Things) is creating a mesh of connectivity that changes every part of daily life. But the basic detection of dangerous weather still relies on technology installed decades ago. Because of this, we still can’t react fast enough to dangerous weather conditions such as tornadoes. This is why I have spent the last decade in this industry and the past several years laser focused on plowing through every challenge and naysayer to bring a new technology to the public. Some people scratch their heads in disbelief when I describe what we are developing in our breakthrough NIMBUS technology. In this series of blogs, I will explain why the things you are relying on today for weather information must be improved and how the NIMBUS is going to help make that happen. Most people turn to their TV, phone app, radio or simply look at the sky above them for weather info. Here are a few weather facts. A bolt-of-lighting can strike from up to ten miles away even when the sky is blue. Seventy percent of injuries and facilitates due to lightning occur after the storm has passed and a bolt of lightning occurred from the trailing edge of that storm long after it had passed by. Counting “one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three….” after you hear thunder is simply not an accurate form of calculating when you need to take shelter. Phone apps, weather reports, radar, and big news equipment that everyone is relying on for FAST information isn’t fast at all. Most weather information you think is real-time actually happened 10 or 15 minutes ago and is just now reaching you! Plus the details you see on your lightning map app or TV typically cover large blanketed areas and may not accurately cover your specific location. Meteorologists use thermometers, anemometers, barometers and satellites that photograph Earth’s weather from their orbit in space. Balloons monitor upper-air data and weather spotters call in reports while daylight permits. These stations measure weather conditions such as temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind speed and direction, amount of cloud cover, and precipitation for use in creating weather maps. The data collected is shared to the public via weather reports, internet programs and is often old by the time it reaches you. Existing handheld products include wind meters, and lightning detectors. Almost all handheld lightning detectors were created or are knockoffs and failed reverse engineering attempts that my company’s Chief Technology Officer developed over the past 30 years. He was inspired to develop advance warning of lighting when he read an article about a little boy who was struck and killed by lightning while playing ball. The story that appeared in the newspapers called it a tragedy that was unavoidable. Well, this man thought there was a better answer and he went out and developed the first commercial handheld lightning detector. Much has happened since his first creation. The world has become digital in almost every way, and the NIMBUS technology we are creating has been developed specifically to play an important role in this new digital reality. One example is the presence of cellphones everywhere. They didn’t exist when the first storm detection products were being created, and for this reason they are a source of false alerts in older products. What makes The NIMBUS so unique and how will it make a difference? The NIMBUS proprietary sensor (which is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand), is continuously tracking, storing, updating and analyzing storm and threat data every milliseconds to provide fast and easy to understand notifications to the user. The NIMBUS alerts the user of lightning, squall lines and up to 50 storms at a time, all within a 600-mile radius of your location. The NIMBUS tells the user the estimated time of arrive, time-to-clear, how fast the storms are coming and from what direction. The NIMBUS is also notifying the user of cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-ground lighting as well as pre-tornado conditions and much, much more. Once fully developed we will be able to give up to two hours advance warning of a tornado. Today people receive a few minutes of warning or no warning at all! Watch a video here. The NIMBUS technology platform is no tinker toy and definitely not your moms jeans. What we have done doesn’t exist in any text book (yet). We’ve cracked the code on low frequency magnetic-field detection of severe weather and other threats. Our mission is to enhance weather information by providing the kind of real-time and accurate information that the public needs to make real-time decisions in the real world. Really. If you want to learn more about our technology and see how completely nerdy I really am, visit our website www.NIMBUS4.com. We all have something we are passionate about. This is mine. Thanks for taking the time to read. Follow your passion!
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Having studied the physical characteristics of severe storm development for over 30 years, Shaver is a pioneer of lightning and storm detection technology with global sales of his previous lightning detection device selling over $3M. Members were educated on his latest hand-held severe weather forecasting tool, that has more capability and expanded range. Floridians attempt to adequately prepare each year for hurricane season. Local weather predictors armed with copious amounts of data, and decades of meteorological studies try to predict severe weather. Despite their earnest efforts, most are best guess scenarios. There are no absolutes, and often create severe thunderstorm warnings that span several counties, that most natives tend to ignore. Entropy Technology Design, Inc is on the verge of releasing yet another gamechanging technology named NIMBUS™. This is hand-held device that uses a patent pending quad core antenna and proprietary software that collects Mother Nature’s sounds caused by magnetic disturbances. These signals found around 10khz are modeled, characterized and observed as the storm develops from its very inception. “It’s the ability to listen for Mother Nature’s warnings that allow NIMBUS™ to provide early warning, even for tornado development, in your immediate area with no false alarms”, says Shaver. His presentation received great response and generated a great deal of technical questions from tech minded operators, some former military and some who also have Electrical Engineering degrees. The overwhelming response sent our meeting into overtime, and many said it was one of the most informative presentations the club had seen. Mr Shaver was invited to come back to the club again, as soon as the product available to customers. This spread of knowledge opened the door for sharing this life saving technology with the National Weather Service, local media, and SKYWARN Severe Weather Spotter’s. But wait, there’s more! NIMBUS™ isn’t just a better VLF receiver with great reception. The technology Mr. Shaver has invented can be used in a plethora of other platforms, both in the civilian and military sectors. Many other VLF signatures can be detected and analyzed, including those created by drones, sandstorms, unmanned autonomous air and undersea vehicles. In addition, once the NIMBUS™ has determined that a threat is imminent, it can also serve as the catalyst to disconnect sensitive electronic equipment. The sky is literally no limit.
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