Ted Chen, Co-Founder & CEO, EverComm SingaporeTed Chen, Co-Founder & CEO
The global energy transformation is underway and digitalization is revolutionizing every vertical of the industry. Countries are witnessing the power of data and modern-age technologies sweeping through to bring about the most disruptive changes. While forward-looking entrepreneurs are recognizing new opportunities, many existing companies are also banking on the rise of renewable energy as a window of opportunity to gain access to the energy sector—a highly regulated industry with high barriers of entry.

Furthermore, with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development gaining steam, the struggle for countries and organizations to become more agile in managing energy production/consumption while making the leap toward a zero-emission future is intensifying by the day. For government and companies looking to develop comprehensive energy strategy that can take the edge off this struggle, while also save cost and improve overall productivity in the process, EverComm Singapore’s AI-enabled Asset Performance Management (APM) services is their best bet.

Incubated and accelerated by NTUitive— Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and supported by the Singapore’s startup ecosystem, EverComm seized the opportunity to pioneer new digital capabilities through participating in various Singapore flagship innovation pilots and sustainability initiatives. More interestingly, the company was able to build next generation solutions for renewable energy management quickly by acquiring key industry knowledge through partnerships with cutting-edge technology companies from Germany, Israel, China and India. This was made possible through its participation in several overseas mission trips and bilateral business forums organized by Enterprise Singapore — a Singapore government agency championing enterprise development. Through its network of over 35 overseas centres and comprehensive assistance programmes, the agency partners Singapore companies to build capabilities, innovate and internationalise. The agency has connected EverComm to industry partners both in Singapore and its target markets to support its growth.

Under these unique circumstances, EverComm was able to quickly establish its domain knowledge and reputation in the industry. In 2018, the company won a spot on the first ever APAC 25 list created by Cleantech Group—a sister list of the Global Cleantech 100 program. This is a representation of sustainable innovation companies that are catching the attention of those in the market. On the digital front, EverComm has been recognized as a digital pioneer by the Singapore government and nominated to facilitate the high-level policy sessions on Digital Economy and Trade at the annual World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum—a global United Nations (UN) multi-stakeholder platform to advance SDGs with Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).

Geoffrey Yeo, Director for Urban Solutions, Enterprise Singapore, said, “Enterprise Singapore seeks to nurture and support entrepreneurial talent and startups that enrich Singapore’s innovation ecosystem. EverComm is a good example of a startup that has developed innovative and practical solutions in areas of energy management to drive sustainable energy consumption. We are excited to support them in their efforts to deploy their solutions both locally and globally.

From Ideation to Commercialization—A Singapore Approach

Following their entrepreneurial streak, former classmates and researchers at NTU Singapore, Chen Chiu-Hao (Ted) and Phyo KoKo, the CEO and the CTO of EverComm respectively, participated and won the first prize in 2013 Code XtremeApps (CXA)—Singapore’s longest-running hackathon organized by Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Information Technology Standards Committee (iTSC). The prototype they developed during the competition sowed the seeds of innovation and hence, kick-started their journey. With the aspiration to build a company together, Ted along with TS. Velan, the current change this to Head of Energy Partnerships and Digital Policy at EverComm, applied for the Startup SG Tech grant, which enabled them to further develop the prototype. Following this, the trio officially established EverComm.

As part of its on-going mission to grow the local supply of innovative technology suppliers, IMDA launched the Accreditation@IMDA programme in 2014 with the objective to accelerate the growth of these promising Singapore-based tech-product companies to establish credentials, build track record, grow and compete in the global market as accreditation opens up more opportunities for their products to be showcased and bought.
EverComm was the second batch of companies accredited by IMDA, and the accreditation process provides an independent third-party evaluation of the companies’ claimed product core functionalities and ability to deliver, which was crucial to secure Government and large enterprise clients. The initial prototype was pitched to 30+ government data centers and 11 of the data center followed up with commercial PO to pilot. These implementation helps provide critical feedback to the early prototype while also establishing a commercialization track record for the new product.

Integrating renewable energy for the government and enterprises, we are helping them progress toward zero-emission operations and a zero-carbon society

By the year 2017, EverComm has acquired key public-listed customer such as AcBel Polytech Inc in Taiwan that eventually became its early investor. Thereafter, through General Electric (GE) and PTT (a Thai state-owned SET-listed oil and gas company)’s Accelerator Programs, the company entered Thailand in 2018 and collaborated with local partners to pilot their first-of-its-kind “AI Energy Services” for the renewable energy and industrial sector. The collaboration aims to develop and scale cost-effective localized services that can help local factories and solar farms in Thailand to reduce their operational cost while transitioning toward a sustainable energy future.

“GE talent-spotted EverComm at our Innovative Energy Startup Pitching session and is pleased to have them as our first portfolio company under the GE Accelerator Program in Singapore. Supported by Enterprise Singapore, our programme leverages resources within GE and external experts to bring together an innovative community of people dedicated to solve the world’s biggest problem. We look forward to partnering EverComm across our business units and manufacturing facilities.” Mr Lai Yeow Hin , Government Affairs & Policy and Market Development Director , Brunei & Singapore, General Electric.

Today, the company offers premier AI-driven asset performance management services to enable enterprise customers to maximize their productivity, optimize existing valuable assets, and improve overall energy efficiency through indexing equipment performance at scale. Ted adds, “Through a centralized data repository, we eliminate gaps or blind spots in equipment operation by dynamically learning various equipment behaviours through machine learning algorithms under different operating environment.” In addition, EverComm’s AI-enabled APM combines wireless data collection techniques with edge analytics to further reduce integration cost and time for the customer.

The Building Blocks of an Energy-Efficient Future

The energy industry often hits snags along the path to efficient energy management due to its siloed asset management structure, wherein diverse domain/application specific sub-systems do not necessarily communicate with each other, resulting in massive overheads and cost. To deal with the same, EverComm adopts a holistic approach, from energy generation to consumption, through its Smart Multi Energy System (SMES) framework, co-developed with Energy Research Institute at NTU. The SMES is designed to manage different energy sources in a network that includes renewables such as solar power and thermal energy, where it will pick the most optimal energy mix for specific power demands in different situations. In short, one system caters to all energy requirements, helping different industries to progress toward zero-emission operations,” explains Ted.

EverComm was one among the nine companies that are part of the SMES test bedding at Jurong Port, an initiative supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF).

“Government-led innovation pilot program provided us with validated industry problem statement to work on, and a test bed to quickly iterate the technology prototype. This reduces the development cost and minimizes the early adopter risk dramatically,” said Ted.

Beyond just leveraging on information and communications technologies, EverComm also partnered with AcBel Polytech Inc to co-develop plug & play hardware products that can enable bi-directional energy flow at the grid level starting from the end user.
Ted stresses, “At EverComm, our goal is to see renewable energy being integrated into our daily operations, and partners like AcBel plays an important role for the overall translational R&D process. Their global manufacturing facilities and expertise in designing for large scale manufacturing helps transform highly volatile prototype into reliable mass production-ready product.” As such, the startup/ mnc duo is currently working on Virtual Power Plant (VPP)—a concept of integrating various renewable energy sources with demand response. Not only VPP enables organizations to manage and integrate renewable energy into their daily operations, it is also a much cheaper alternative to generate green energy compared to building and operating a 24/7 renewable energy power plant.

VPP requires virtual operation and support. In an attempt to assemble all the operators into one virtual chat room, EverComm has integrated its energy system with popular communication platforms such as Slack, Line, and more. With the help of a dedicated virtual energy assistant, operators can leverage real-time information to troubleshoot and/or optimize any existing sites as part of their daily operations. In turn, EverComm creates a digital workspace within the system coupled with a 24/7 virtual energy assistant that helps capture/organize information and operational knowledge for organizations and their people.

Exporting Innovation & Achieving The Sustainable Development Goal

To ensure the Singapore’s long-term investments in research can be effectively captured by the local enterprises, universities as Institutes of Higher Learning (IHL) serve as a strategic facilitator in developing the local innovation ecosystem. One such example would be helping companies like EverComm to tap into the world’s biggest engineering college at NTU Singapore through NTUitive—the university’s innovation and enterprise company. On a yearly basis, some 45+ innovative companies were created under the university’s ecosystem and more than 5,000 students were engaged in entrepreneurship related activities. These are significant activity levels for any organizations.

What sets EverComm a notch above other competitors in the market is the company’s ability to fully utilize NTU’s innovation resources to bridge technological gaps, while developing the know-how and processes to integrate domain knowledge with big data analytics by managing agile with waterfall together. Consequently, multinational corporations are now setting up joint ventures with EverComm to co-develop IP and products together.

“We are so proud of Ted and Ko Ko, who are not only our own NTU graduates, but have developed into the successful entrepreneurs that you see today. They are great role models for our enterprise ecosystem. What NTUitive has done is merely to ignite the spark by facilitating contact between our star entrepreneurs with our students, faculty and industry partners,” Dr. Lim Jui, CEO, NTUitive.

Being guided by NTUitive’s mentors who were successful entrepreneurs themselves, EverComm was able to learn quickly and deliver its unprecedented capabilities to a vast client base since its inception. The company’s founders have won several accolades such as ‘Forbes Asia 30 under 30’, ‘51 Most Impactful Green Leaders’ and “Nanyang Outstanding Young Alumni Award”. EverComm has also received the Singapore-Israel Industrial R&D Foundation (SIIRD) Grant—joint funding between Israel innovation Authority and Singapore Economic Development Board—to develop advanced industrial analytics solution.

EverComm exhibits the potential to reach stellar heights in the future with its cutting-edge solutions and services. The company is currently pre-launching digital energy services for the industrial sectors in Southeast Asia along with various partners. “With this pre-launch, we aim to service close to 100 factories and introduce them to renewable energy by the end of this year. By the official service launch, we should have already perfected the technology, delivery processes and logistics. Ultimately, we aspire to be able to service thousands of customer per sector per country each year, and assist them in the transition toward sustainable energy consumption by no later than 2030,” conveys Ted.