Catching up with the winner of DTECH 2020 INITIATE!

LiveEO was the winner of Initiate! at DISTRIBUTECH 2020.

“Where have they been” reviews typically involve major movie stars. It can also apply to start-ups. LiveEO was the top winner of DISTRIBUTECH’s 2020 INITIATE! Pitch contest. The company uses data heavy information sources and modern analytics to identify risks to power lines. Despite the challenges of the last couple of years, LiveEO has accomplished a lot. Participating in INITIATE! definitely helped.  Here’s the story.

At DISTRIBUTECH 2020 INITIATE!, LiveEO presented its offerings to the panel of innovation- focused judges. INITIATE! is DISTRIBUTECH’s forum for startups, utilities and investors. LiveEO talked about how its platform married open source satellite and agricultural data with grid data, to train models to identify trees in relation to circuitry. The idea was to advance vegetation management to better manage power disruption. For example, visualization could identify trees close to power lines that, if weakened, could cause outages. At that time, LiveEO was working with a few European utilities. INITIATE! was part of a foray into North America.

A lot has happened with LiveEO, despite the challenges of the last couple of years. The company has grown to 60 staff members. Platform capabilities have been expanded operationally. Integration with work and asset management systems now support prioritization of tree trimming by utility personnel and vegetation management contractors.

Risk analytics have been enhanced. Artificial intelligence has helped to train models on tree species. Risk models have been improved to include power line conditions such as line sag and wind swing. The platform also can perform 3D analysis (through stereoscopic sat imagery).  Visualization provides insight into trees’ type and health and displays trees’ distance from powerlines. This is helpful in understanding wildfire potential.  In addition, platform data and model results can be downloaded into a variety of different geospatial file types to use in wildfire prediction models.


DISTRIBUTECH International and POWERGEN International showcase energy startups each year through Initiate!, the Clarion Energy start-up challenge. In 2022, the event will take place January 26-28 in Dallas, Texas. Register Today.


The company has also built traction in the North American utility community. A year after INITIATE! LiveEO demonstrated its capabilities by analyzing vegetation risk to the US transmission grid. In total, over 15,000 public satellite images were used to detect vegetation distance from transmission grids. LiveEO has also been working with EPRI on rapid assessment of storm damage. In June 2021, EPRI selected LiveEO as one of 20 companies that will get a chance to collaborate with North American utilities as part of the Electric Power Research Institute’s Incubatory@labs program. LiveEO is currently running pilots with several North American utilities.

LiveEO’s experience demonstrates the value of participating in INITIATE!  Utilities get exposed to the latest innovations. Start-ups get a chance to show their advances in technology and/or business models. Even better is the opportunity to understand the needs of utilities as potential customers. Investors share what startups will need to succeed.


About the Author

Jill Feblowitz is a member of the DISTRIBUTECH International Advisory Committee and was one of the Initiate! 2020 judges. Feblowitz is an internationally recognized expert in the energy industry, with over 30 years of experience in energy markets, business models, operations, policy, regulation and technologies. She has a historical perspective on the industry as well as a keen sense of game-changers ‘ renewables, distributed energy resources, energy storage, transactive energy, analytics and block chain.

Feblowitz Energy Consulting, in partnership with other consulting companies, provides advice to energy providers including utilities (regulated and unregulated), generators, competitive energy retailers, DER providers and suppliers to the industry. Prior to Feblowitz Energy Consulting, Jill was Vice President of the energy vertical at IDC. As an analyst, she advised energy executives on business and technology strategy and suppliers on product development, marketing and sales. Areas of coverage included key business initiatives (reliable and efficient operations & maintenance, energy trading & risk management, security, customer engagement, energy efficiency, etc.) and technologies (cloud, Big Data, analytics, mobility, and edge computing). She also worked as an associate analyst at the Meta Group (now Gartner) and as Director of the Energy Practice at AMR (now Gartner), and as a senior consultant at XENERGY (now DNV GL) Ms. Feblowitz holds a B.S.in Urban Planning from MIT, an electrician’s license, and is a certified women’s enterprise (WBE) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. She is also the chair of the MIT Enterprise Forum CleanTech Committee.

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