January 8, 2019

Augury Utilizes IoT and AI to Detect Mechanical Issues in Facilities

If you work at a facility that utilizes machines to monitor anything, be it large forms of data, manufacturing, or weather patterns, you’re going to want to make sure that those machines are in top shape. However, a lot of these machines are older and it may be tedious to oversee them. With the development of mobile technology, using a small device to observe the appliance is more intuitive.

Founded in 2012, Augury has created an IoT and AI-enabled device that allows people to monitor these kinds of appliances with a smartphone.

The company’s Co-Founder and CEO Saar Yoskovitz had a chance to speak with us about how the technology works and who some of their clients are. He also shared what it is like to work at Augury by describing the company culture.

Colin Barry [CB]: Every tech company has a story to tell on how they came together. What are the origins behind Augury?

Saar Yoskovitz
Saar Yoskovitz, Co-Founder and CEO of Augury

Saar Yoskovitz [SY]: I’ve always had the drive to build and grow something from the ground up. In 2012, my co-founder, Gal Shaul, and I founded Augury out of our basement in Israel. We both have technology backgrounds. Gal specialized in computer science, while I studied machine learning on acoustic data.

The concept for Augury was inspired by a trip that Gal took while working with a medical device company. He was sent to fix a bug in one of the machines and was able to identify just by the sound that the machine was making that the fan was simply dirty and needed to be cleaned. After returning from the trip, Gal told me of the experience and how he could hear the fault that had occurred within the machine, before even seeing it. We were intrigued by the idea of using software to listen to a machine to tell if it is working properly, malfunctioning or if a malfunction will occur.

Over time the concept blossomed into our end-to-end predictive maintenance solutions, which provide early, actionable and comprehensive insights into machine health and performance. We established the New York office to serve as the headquarters for pursuing marketing and sales of our company’s products. Today, three years later, Augury has 80 employees: 50 in Israel and 30 in the States.

CB: On the website, Augury works a lot with IoT and AI. What experience does the team have with these types of technologies?

SY: We have a long history of working with IoT and AI, as it is the intersection of these two trends that allow us to provide continuous insight into the state of machines. One of the biggest hurdles of industrial IoT is that all too often, the influx of data is going to siloed parts of an organization which prevents the data from being impactful. With so much data flowing in from a multitude of sources, it is difficult to tell a clear story about what should be done with that information.  

To avoid this inundation, we utilize AI and advanced algorithms to translate raw data into actionable insight. Instead of looking at a series of numbers, we clearly outline what action to take and what malfunction it will prevent. It is this real-time approach that enables companies to create visibility into the actual condition of one’s equipment in order to avoid surprises, make decisions intelligently, and effectively improve equipment health to mitigate downtime.

CB: Say I am working at a facility that may need Augury’s technology, but I am not sure what it exactly does, and I have no idea how it works. Can you care to explain both of these concerns?

SY: First, we work with the customer to understand the role that each facility and each machine within that facility plays in keeping their operations functioning smoothly. We then use that information to determine which machines to diagnose. We come on site to install our sensors which capture and send vibration, ultrasound, temperature, and magnetic data to our secure cloud. Machine-learning algorithms diagnose and translate the data into actionable insights delivered directly to a user-friendly dashboard illustrating the state of the machines in each facility.  Real-time alerts can be set up for instant notifications of changes in machine health, developing issues across a facility as well as suggested maintenance practices. We essentially tell you what is wrong, what will go wrong, how to prevent it, how to fix it and what’s most important.

Augury Dashboard

CB: What are the typical problems that Augury is looking to solve? What sets Augury apart from other companies that are working in this space?

SY: There are significant cost and effort that goes into designing, manufacturing, installing and maintaining the machines that power our factories, facilities, and businesses. We are on a mission to make these machines more reliable and reduce their impact on the environment. We do so by providing a full stack solution - from our sensors to our diagnostics - for gleaning actionable, business insights from machine data.

Our customers use our diagnostic insights on a subscription basis, paying per machine and for the level of diagnostics received, and can easily scale the number of machines that are being analyzed by Augury across a facility or multiple locations.

CB: Who are the typical clients of Augury? Are there any use cases that have stood out to you?

SY: Augury’s technology is in place in over 6,000 facilities around the world and across industries - from bottling plants and food manufacturing to pharmaceutical manufacturing, personal and home care as well as utilities and commercial buildings. Our client-based is quite diverse and includes many Fortune 500 companies. Locally, we are working with the NYC Department of Education and the Brooklyn Navy Yard, to name a few.

We have helped companies avoid a number of machine failures and unplanned downtime over the years. One such case was in a canning facility where Augury’s solution detected a malfunction on a piece of critical equipment in the production line. Armed with the information in real-time, the maintenance team was able to quickly divert production to another line, preventing nearly a million cans from being lost due to unplanned downtime.

CB: What is the culture like at the company? What kinds of perks can you offer potential employees?

SY: The key pillar of Augury is people first. We understand that people have lives, dreams, and goals and at Augury we want to be part of our employee’s journeys. Our culture is built on believing in our employees and creating an environment that enables them to feel inspired, excited, and passionate for the technology that they are sharing with the world each and every day. We are creating a space where passion and creativity are continuously supported and encouraged.

CB: Augury is a rather interesting name for the company. How did the team come up with the name?

SY: When searching for a name, it was evident that it needed to have a strong meaning behind it. As our technology is centered around prediction and future thinking, it was important that our company name reflects the same importance. Augury seemed like the perfect name. It refers to an ancient Roman practice of interpreting omens and today has taken on the meaning of a sign of what will happen in the future. Our technology “predicts the future” using the sound, vibration, magnetic, and temperature data machines provide.

Colin Barry is an Editor & Staff Writer to VentureFizz. Follow him on Twitter @ColinKrash

Images courtesy of Augury