Climate Change and Urban Floods: How Machine Learning Can Save Lives

    Companies such as Carl Data Solutions Inc. (CSE:CRL) are already making great strides in using data as a tool to predict the next weather catastrophe

    Vasudha Sharma | June 11, 2018 | SmallCapPower: Record spring flooding during the months of April and May devastated many communities across Canada, stretching from New Brunswick in the east, to Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia in the west. Authorities described the spring floods as a “weather event never seen before,” and experts caution, that we can no longer “cheat the system” on flood risk.

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    As emergency services undertake the rehabilitation of thousands of homes and small businesses, and repair infrastructure destroyed by flooding, lawmakers are already talking about devising new measures to prevent similar damage next time.

    In fact, in the technology space today, companies are already making great strides in using data as a tool to predict the next weather catastrophe. Vancouver-based, Carl Data Solutions Inc. (CSE:CRL) (FSE:7C5) (OTC:CDTAF), is a data management specialist. They collect and monitor data from infrastructure and environment sensors, feed it into their predictive analytics-machine learning applications and generate valuable insights on where and when a possible environmental event could occur.

    Kimberly Bruce, Head of Corporate Communications at Carl Data Solutions, says that much of the monitoring of environmental data today is real-time. She says, “It’s very important for any kind of risk mitigation exercise to be able to get some advanced warning on when things might happen. Right now, there is some monitoring happening. But they can get more out of their monitoring than just real-time response. They can actually easily view data that can help forecast possible asset impact events ahead of time. That could possibly save millions of dollars in residential damage and damage to infrastructure as well.”

    The 7-Day Flood Risk Forecaster

    Carl Data Solutions has a cutting-edge application called Flood Risk Forecaster that can forecast flood risk up to seven days in advance. It is based on an adaptation of Carl Data’s FlowWorks application used to monitor waterways for pollution risk and potential infrastructure and asset damage. Dozen of municipalities across North America and cities like Toronto, LA, Dallas and Seattle have trusted FlowWorks to monitor their water, storm water and sewer systems. With infrastructure across North America and Europe passing their 75 to 100-year lifespan, Carl Data has a huge market opportunity emerging to help mitigate the risk of asset damage and identify areas for repair and replacement.

    “The concept is that it takes real-time environmental data, like water flow, slope stability, precipitation, ground saturation, pace of melting snow, weather prediction and ties them all together to understand what is really happening in the environment around an area,” explains Ms. Bruce. She further elaborates, “With our current deployed application, we are using eight different weather models so that operators and engineers can make an informed decision. We are trying to give them an understanding of their infrastructure to enable proactive operational strategy. There are time constraints when you have data analysts manually processing data. And sometimes one weather model is used to save time, because it is a fairly labour-intensive process. Whereas, with our machine-learning model, they get real-time results and also get to review a variety of outcomes from different weather models to help accurately predict when an event is going to occur.”

    Mining operations, which are so critical to the Canadian economy, are also being bolstered by Carl Data’s FlowWorks application. Teck Resources Ltd. (TSX:TECK.B) (NYSE:TECK) has deployed FlowWorks at their Fording river steelmaking operations to strengthen the environmental monitoring of their coal mine. It monitors water levels at their tailing ponds and generates predictive models to forecast water levels up to seven days in the future. It can analyze all kinds of environment data from weather to water to snowpack levels.

    “With tailing ponds in Canada, there are a lot of unsecured liabilities. Insuring these mining assets takes billions of dollars. We are not only providing environment and asset protection, but we are a risk mitigation tool as well,” states Ms. Kimberly Bruce.

    Domain Expertise in Machine Learning for Environment Monitoring

    Carl Data is an end-to-end (E2E) provider of Big Data as a Service (BDaaS) solutions. They can collect and store environmental monitoring data. They can supply the hardware-like sensors and data loggers. And their domain expertise in machine learning helps them deliver environmental predictions. Depending on their client’s needs, they can customize their data analytics solutions as software-based or web-based. And they can get their operations running within days or weeks.

    Their cost-effective, full-service offering has recently won them two pilot projects with municipalities to forecast basement flooding and combined sewer overflows.

    The Company management and board are made up of domain experts. Boasting strong financials and a low capex profile, the Company possesses the agility to service any industry vertical today. At the moment, it is on track to reach its $4 million revenue mark that it guided to last fall. And currently it is investing all its efforts to market its solutions to global players.

    Carl Data’s corporate growth strategy has been to acquire companies with complementary technologies. It recently entered a security exchange agreement with Astra Smart Systems Inc., a manufacturer of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices, which also runs a data centre that can host over 1000 servers. The addition of Astra’s capabilities allows Carl Data to mass produce its own IIoT devices. Their combined product lines will make them capable of predicting not just floods, but also drought and air quality.

    “The potential for our growth in revenue is huge over this next year, especially with the Astra acquisition. We are doubling our potential to reach new markets and fill this environmental monitoring Industrial IoT niche, which is huge right now,” says Ms. Bruce.

    The Industrial IoT market is estimated to touch US$14.4 trillion by 2022. The frequency and intensity of flooding in cities across North America and Europe presents a very real challenge for local governments and communities. And Carl Data is poised to address this huge market with its advanced solutions that have already been developed and tested over the last couple of years.

    To find out more about Carl Data Solutions Inc. (CSE:CRL), please visit the company’s Investor Hub.

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