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Verdigris Makes AI 100 List

By Chrissie Cluney January 31, 2017

Verdigris, a company that harnesses artificial intelligence (AI) for commercial facilities management, has made CBInsights "AI 100” list due to its new AI platform that empowers buildings to have complex conversations with humans.

Mark Chung is the founder and CEO of Verdigris and he believes deeply that technical innovation can make a difference in the future of humanity. In this interview, he offers more insight into that belief.

IoT Evolution: Congrats on being an AI unicorn and the evaluation by CB Insights.   Let's parse your history first.  When did AI become your focus?

Mark Chung: The idea for Verdigris was born when I came home from vacation to a massive electricity bill. I couldn’t figure out why my energy bill was so high, and thought, “why couldn’t we get an itemized utility bill?” Being an engineer, I installed sensors throughout my house to determine the source of the problem. Turns out I had a faulty pool pump.

When we realized that there was no such system for commercial buildings, we decided to make one. We searched for a combination of hardware and artificial intelligence that would easily break down a building’s energy use, and that’s how we built Verdigris. So, AI was always our focus.

IoTE: You have a strong history in hardware solutions, yet Mark Andreessen has taught us it’s all about software these days. When it comes to AI, what is the mix and should we expect chips to drive product sales or services to dominate? 

MC: I don’t have an easy way to analogize hardware and software. To me, they are one in the same. When we were developing chips, we were developing software. All chips were simulated logic. Designing clock circuitry was done via an aggressive search and optimization algorithm. The AI technology we used to understand signal patterns was derived from insight on optimizing hardware architecture to understand IP packet routing and transformation.  

What makes AI and IoT incredibly important now is its ability to impact people in the physical world, not just through a touch screen or monitor but in many more ways -- through their cars, their clothes, their jewelry, their homes, their offices, their factories, their farms. This will imply a pretty healthy mix of new types of specialized computing, sensing, and actuating hardware driving the next generation of companies. I think the paradigm of how this technology will be adopted will also shift, as all this hardware will be constantly connected. Businesses will shift toward models that provide recurring services, as they need to constantly improve the capabilities of the deployed hardware. As a result its hardware and software as a service (saas) that I think will dominate.

IoTE: Verdigris has targeted hospitality with your AI solutions. Are the days of the Concierge numbered?  What innovations should we expect and when will it impact our hotel stays?

MC: Verdigris does not negatively impact hotel concierge. In fact, Verdigris makes their jobs easier. Our technology helps hotels transform into smart buildings. The impact to a hotel stay will be lights that always work, no need to call the front desk to tell them your TV isn’t working or your microwave doesn’t power on, or your wall outlet isn’t charging your laptop. Or that it is too hot or too cold in the room. A smart hotel will know the problems before guests are impacted and chief engineers will no longer spend their valuable time reacting to problems. With Verdigris, hotels and other commercial buildings can be proactive about the issues they will see and they can.




Edited by Ken Briodagh
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