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mCloud, Google venture a 'multi-billion-dollar' opportunity

IMAGE: mCloud's CEO Russ McMeekin
MCloud's CEO Russ McMeekin. (Courtesy mCloud Technologies Corp.)

mCloud Technologies Corp. has forged a partnership with Google Cloud to launch three sustainability applications and create a "multi-billion-dollar" opportunity to reduce emissions and energy waste.

The company’s AI-powered, Internet-of-Things AssetCare platform employs visual analytics and 3D digital twin capabilities, combined with the tools of the cloud, to measure, locate and correct emissions. 

The goal is to eliminate energy waste, minimize carbon and methane footprints, and maximize the efficiency of facilities for the oil and gas, commercial buildings and wind farms sectors.

mCloud will integrate Google Cloud services such as Google Earth Engine, Vision AI, Natural Language AI, Translation AI, TensorFlow and more into its platforms.

“That's all we do, right? Make oil and gas better, so it's an accepted energy source," said mCloud's president and CEO Russ McMeekin. "When God blows wind (to) make maximum power, and then in a car dealership (you) try to use the least amount of power from utility as you can.

"Those are the three things we wake up every day doing. We did that right, and we are doing it right. When we do it with Google there'll be a multi-billion-dollar opportunity.”

mCloud and Google Cloud 

mCloud (MCLD) is headquartered in Calgary but also has offices in Edmonton and Vancouver in Canada, as well as internationally in San Francisco, Atlanta, Perth (Australia), Singapore, Beijing, London and Trnava (Slovakia).

AssetCare will be available via the Google Cloud Marketplace later this year.

As McMeekin explains, the partnership was born in Saudi Arabia, thanks unrelated developments from mCloud and Google Cloud.

In December 2020, Google announced a cloud region in Saudi Arabia, where a local strategic reseller sponsored by Saudi Aramco also offers cloud services to customers. In January 2022, mCloud signed a memorandum of understanding with Aramco to explore the co-development of a digital technology hub for delivering ESG solutions in the country.

“We announced those two things separately, and totally uncoordinated,” McMeekin said. “By spring of this year, the question became of Aramco – could all these applications run on the Google Cloud? And the answer was, ‘of course.’"

At oil and gas facilities, field teams can access asset information in the cloud and on any voice-enabled mobile device with Google Cloud's Natural Language AI. AssetCare streamlines the detection and localization of methane leaks in real time.

At commercial and industrial facilities, access to data unique to Google Earth Engine and other Google Cloud Ready – Sustainability data partners, such as solar intensity, weather conditions and site occupancy, can help drive reductions in peak demand and energy-use intensity per square foot through intelligent building management.

Finally, at wind farms, the same Google Earth Engine data can be combined with AssetCare to improve wind energy production, eliminate maintenance overhead from manual work and automate the inspection of wind turbine blades.

Oil and gas, wind applications on market

Oil and gas as well as wind applications are now available for customers, with implementation for buildings and electric vehicle charging for auto dealerships coming by the end of the year.

There is less back and forth for existing customers, McMeekin explained, and for the company itself because Google also becomes the central hub for payments.

“You don't have all the usual T's and C's (terms and conditions), of course, and then billing and collection will be done by Google,” he said. “Typically in those scenarios, they'll have a billing and collection relationship. So it leverages an existing infrastructure. It makes our life a lot simpler.”

"By leveraging Google Cloud and capabilities made possible with Google Earth Engine and AI/ML services, customers will be able to increase their sustainability efforts by optimizing and mitigating their carbon and methane emissions with technology and at cloud scale," said Amit Zavery, Google Cloud’s vice president/general manager and head of platform in a statement on the partnership.

Future of the partnership

McMeekin sees the initial applications as a smart starting point, and is open to further integrations between AssetCare and Google Cloud. He considers the partnership a “first mover” due to its combination of an aerial AI with an asset-level AI.

Any future iterations or expansions would have to be energy and sustainability-centric.

“We don't want to deviate from our core,” McMeekin said.

He praised the partnerships' possibilities in corporate account structuring, because a potential client can access the platform through a Google Cloud representative and the Google Cloud marketplace. 

mCloud was drawn to Google over other cloud services due to the level of security, as well as the Google Earth Engine, he noted.

McMeekin did not divulge financial nor specific technical details for either company, only to say “the numbers are huge,” and they’re on a three-year timeline.

“That's a lot of bandwidth from very senior people at Google, they wouldn't do that for little things, right?”

AssetCare has been in the news several times in recent months, with SustainableBiz reporting on its installation in Slate Asset Management’s Life Plaza office tower in Calgary, as well as a 20-year agreement with Carbon Royalty Corp. to install the platform in auto dealerships in the U.S., for electric vehicle charging.

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