ABB has revealed it is entering a strategic partnership with US-based Pratexo, a leader in edge-to-cloud acceleration platform technology. The partnership is underpinned by a minority investment in Pratexo via ABB's venture capital unit, ABB Technology Ventures (ATV). The specific financial details of the investment have not been disclosed.
Pratexo's technology platform enhances IoT and artificial intelligence initiatives requiring industry-leading computer power at the edge. The system allows for the swift installation of processing capabilities to manage substantial data quantities from IoT sensors. Crucially, it also enables advanced analytics in real time, close to the device location, rather than relying on the cloud.
The partnership will see ABB's Electrification Service utilising Pratexo's cutting-edge, no-code platform, Pratexo Studio. The technology will radically speed up and innovate the design of edge-to-cloud digital solutions for clients. This will lead to enhanced decision-making capabilities for future operations. The two companies are set to co-develop these edge computing solutions to boost security, autonomy and resilience for decentralised electrical networks.
Collaborating with Pratexo will assist ABB's customers in rolling out edge-based networks and solution architectures capable of providing real-time insights. Notable benefits of this innovation include reduced cloud data transfer volumes, bolstered data privacy and security, and the capability for offline operations.
An example of the technology's potential includes enabling distribution grid operators to monitor, manage, and assess electrical systems in real time. The system could identify potential machine faults and optimise local adjustments to respond quickly to changes, like shifts in power availability and consumption.
Stuart Thompson, President of ABB’s Electrification Service Division, said: “Investing in and partnering with innovative startups like Pratexo advances our technological services capabilities to provide enhanced industry 4.0 business outcomes to our customers. With the open technology stack from Pratexo, we can deploy and scale the transition seamlessly, securely and in a bespoke manner.”
Blaine Mathieu, CEO of Pratexo, added: “The last 20 years of IT have been mostly about centralising computing into the cloud. The next decade will be about balancing that with a hybrid edge-to-cloud approach. Our close collaboration with ABB will further enable and accelerate that transition.”
Pratexo is a member of the ABB SynerLeap innovation growth hub and was recognised as one of the winners of ABB Electrification’s 2022 Startup Challenge; an international contest for innovators advancing the world’s shift towards safe, smart, and sustainable electrification.
Mads Moeller, head of ABB Technology Ventures for Electrification, stressed the importance of this partnership in the current tech climate. "With the increased focus on IT security and privacy, companies are moving away from centralised cloud to edge and micro-cloud based IoT solutions to retain resilience, flexibility and scalability,” he said. “This partnership will fast-track the development of software technology for ABB’s customers to perform real-time, causal analysis for electrical faults, allowing for improved operations.”
This exciting investment is part of ABB’s commitment to fostering and investing in innovative tech startups. As the firm's sixth venture capital investment of 2023, it continues to broaden ABB's ecosystem of innovating partners focussing on decarbonisation solutions. Since its formation in 2009, ABB’s venture capital unit ATV has invested around $300 million into startups in alignment with its electrification, robotics, automation, and motion portfolio.