Tekfen | June 21, 2022
Tekfen Holding A.S., a leading conglomerate in the engineering, contracting and agriculture industries, announced a partnership and investment in Petra, the first undergrounding company using autonomous systems to bury critical utilities with robots capable of boring the hardest geologies in the world.
Tekfen Construction, the flagship company of Tekfen Holding, is renowned for the construction of large-scale projects—ranging from pipelines, power plants, industrial facilities, highways, railways, oil and gas terminals, tank farms, marine oil platforms, pumping and compressor stations, stadiums and high-rise buildings. Tekfen will implement Petra’s unique undergrounding technology into future construction, as well as grow their utility infrastructure business offerings. Together, they will utilize Petra’s technology in extreme environments where Tekfen Construction operates—European mountains, Middle Eastern deserts, and deep below existing urban infrastructure across EMEA—as well as explore new frontiers where Petra now makes undergrounding projects possible.
Petra’s undergrounding technology bores utility-sized tunnels through previously impenetrable geologies, making new projects possible in extreme environments. Petra provides engineers, contractors, and owners peace of mind by arming them with an undergrounding tool that successfully tackles nightmare geologies and changing ground conditions. Petra’s undergrounding machinery is equipped with remote operability, increasing safety measures on the job site.
In phase one of the partnership, Petra and Tekfen Construction will complete a 100-foot pilot tunnel in North American hard rock geologies that are substantially similar to Tekfen Construction’s traditional service area. Tekfen Construction will provide Petra with specifications of their typical pipeline projects and help inform Petra’s development of a trenchless method that can bore through mixed conditions, both hard rock and softer soils. The partnership will focus on developing projects which uniquely showcase the benefits and capabilities of the Petra technology, specifically focusing on opportunities in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and CIS countries.
Petra’s one-of-a-kind tunnel boring technology will bring multiple benefits for the Company. Time is always a principal component of our responsibilities towards our clients in the projects we undertake. Difficult geographical and geological conditions are critical factors that affect our projects most adversely by interrupting project timelines, thus seriously affecting our costs. Petra will considerably shorten our drilling timelines. In addition to benefiting our future projects we are also excited to collaborate with the company to leverage Petra’s unique competitive advantage to pave the way towards new segments of the business.”
Mustafa Kopuz, President of Tekfen Construction
Petra created the first non-contact, thermal-drilling robot that can uniquely bore trenchless utility installations less than 72 inches in diameter through hard rocks. This makes it possible for Petra to bore utility tunnels through previously impenetrable geologies. Petra’s customers can rapidly bury critical utilities for a fraction of the cost of legacy techniques. Conventional microtunneling machines are purpose-built for a single diameter. By contrast, Petra is capable of boring a range of diameters between 18-72 inches, dramatically reducing the costs of tunneling and is designed to minimize downtime. The boring unit can be completely reversed, through the carrier pipe, to the inlet at any time during the operation, enabling system maintenance and cutterhead rescue.
“The world needs new undergrounding tools that are smart enough to handle changing ground conditions at various diameters through a variety of geologies,” said Petra CEO Kim Abrams. “Partnering with Tekfen Holding on some of the largest utility projects around the world will ensure communities have access to quality infrastructure that can be delivered economically to more places throughout the world.”
“Tekfen Construction’s success requires staying ahead of construction innovation—both in technology and new project opportunities—and Petra represents a novel way to innovate in both domains,” said Sinan Uzan, Tekfen Ventures’ President. “With more infrastructure safely underground, we can now envision new uses for the reclaimed above-ground land, including preserving biodiversity along with rights of way. Petra’s non-contact technology promises to lead the next wave of innovation for infrastructure construction at Tekfen and beyond. This kind of direct investment in a complementary US-based technology that is scalable worldwide represents a new path for the investment arm and we look forward to what’s possible working together.”
Petra is the first robotics company solely focused on undergrounding utilities. Petra is solving one of the biggest problems in utility infrastructure today: how to inexpensively underground utilities and enable trenchless installations in the most difficult geologies on earth. Petra changes the economics of undergrounding to make it more accessible for all communities. Underground your utilities with Petra to affordably safeguard your critical infrastructure.
Tekfen Holding is a publicly traded industrial conglomerate based in Istanbul, Turkey. The company conducts its operations in multiple countries with a workforce of 18000 employees through thirty-nine companies and thirteen subsidiaries, each of which is a leading name in its respective industries. The company’s five main areas are: Engineering and Contracting, Chemical Industry, Agricultural Production, Services and Investment. Tekfen Holding’s shares are traded on the Borsa İstanbul and are quoted in that exchange’s BIST 30 Index.
Ecobot | July 01, 2022
Ecobot, the premier digital solution for pre-construction environmental permitting, has been named a Silver partner within the worldwide Esri Partner Network after successfully graduating from the Esri Startup Program. Esri is the global leader in location intelligence. The Ecobot platform leverages and integrates with Esri's ArcGIS software to facilitate efficient, accurate environmental data collection for mandatory permits ahead of large-scale infrastructure projects.
The Esri Startup Program is a program that supports innovative early-stage startups integrating location intelligence and mapping within their own product offerings. Esri startup partners are companies who offer innovative technological solutions with GIS capabilities. As a member of the program, Ecobot had access to a robust set of resources to jumpstart product development.
Ecobot's key Esri integrations include:
Embedded mapping system powered by Esri for defining project areas and adding wetland polygons or polylines
Compatibility with select external GNSS devices from Esri partners Trimble, Eos GNSS, Juniper Systems, and SXBlue
Generation of GeoJSON shapefiles for seamless export into the Esri ArcGIS system
Ecobot is a platform that includes a mobile field application that is fully functional offline coupled with an Amazon AWS cloud-based dashboard with automated quality assurance, project management, and team collaboration features. To date, Ecobot customers have generated some 65,000 environmental regulatory reports for over 7,000 projects using the platform.
"The partnership with Esri, and Ecobot's integration with Esri ArcGIS products, has been invaluable as we've built out our platform, We are thrilled by how far Ecobot has come since joining the Esri Startup Program, and we're excited to continue evolving as a Silver partner."
-Lee Lancecofounder and CEO Ecobot.
"As a company that was once a startup partner, we understand the early years for any business are hard, said Martin Copping, Esri Partner Executive. We are impressed with how the Ecobot team executed on the opportunities provided by the program, bringing the value of geospatial to a broader audience using the Esri ArcGIS system. We congratulate and look forward to continuing to work with them as a Silver partner.
Since closing a $2.8M round in late 2021, the Ecobot platform continues to expand to include additional project management capabilities and a wider range of environmental permits. Ecobot makes data available for engineers to leverage into a digital twin to improve the resilience of the built environment. Connect with Ecobot at the Esri User Conference or read the ArcNews article: "Startup Makes Preconstruction Data Collection Faster, More Accurate".
Esri, the global market leader in geographic information system (GIS) software, location intelligence, and mapping, helps customers unlock the full potential of data to improve operational and business results. Founded in 1969 in Redlands, California, USA, Esri software is deployed in more than 350,000 organizations globally and in over 200,000 institutions in the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, including Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, nonprofits, and universities. Esri has regional offices, international distributors, and partners providing local support in over 100 countries on six continents. With its pioneering commitment to geospatial information technology, Esri engineers the most innovative solutions for digital transformation, the Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced analytics. Visit us at esri.com.
Ecobot builds revolutionary software that improves how we interact with the environment. Ecobot is the future of environmental monitoring, reporting, and data forecasting, providing efficiency across all sectors of the environmental services industry. The first version of Ecobot provides a swifter way to input wetland field data, provides contextual vegetation and soil data lookups, and automatically generates USACE wetland delineation reports.
ROBOTICS AND AUTOMATION
Groupon | June 20, 2022
Groupon, the trusted marketplace where consumers go to buy services and experiences that make life more interesting and deliver boundless value, is taking steps to simplify the company’s technology platform and lean more into automation. Ultimately, Groupon believes these changes will allow it to accelerate its pace of product development and support better customer and merchant experiences.
We have amazing talent within our Product and Engineering organization, and I believe that we can do a better job leveraging our significant tech assets to create value for all of our stakeholders. Currently, our platform is too big and too complex, and this is prohibiting us from moving as quickly as I think we can to launch new products and features. So, I’ve empowered the entire tech organization to challenge our long-held thought process of creating a new service for every nuance and fundamentally rethink how we structure our platform––only building and supporting what’s mission critical to drive Groupon’s business forward.”
Sachin Devand, CTO, Groupon
Devand, who was appointed to the CTO role in May after serving as a consultant since February, is working with the Product and Engineering organization to improve its operating processes and streamline Groupon's tech platform. Some of the team’s big 2022 initiatives include:
Embracing Agility –– Reorienting the product engineering organization to be more customer centric. Product roadmaps will better align with providing specific customer solutions, more quickly. To that end, the entire team is embracing Agile software development methods, doing rapid delivery of features versus traditional methods that can take years. In addition, the team uses OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) to prioritize these features every 90 days.
Migrating to the Cloud –– To date, Groupon has moved nearly 75% of its data center capabilities to the cloud. Groupon is already gaining operational benefits from the move to the cloud, including better monitoring, observability, elasticity and ease of deploying infrastructure. Once the migration is complete, the cloud will enable Groupon to scale infrastructure up and down as the needs of the business change, which should provide even more flexibility and cost savings. The cloud also enables Groupon to use cloud-native services that can unlock additional automation opportunities throughout the company’s marketplace.
Re-architecting Services –– The company is re-architecting its services, taking stock of which services are required and which ones can be combined or eliminated. At the start of the year, there were about 700 services operating behind the company’s global marketplace platform, which is too complicated and big for Groupon’s needs. As the move to the cloud continues, Groupon intends to move to a domain-driven design model which will allow for a more nimble architecture with significantly fewer services.
Leaning into Automation –– Groupon is automating processes throughout the entire business to create efficiencies and improve productivity. For example, the company is scaling its self-service automation features to enable more merchants to join the Groupon marketplace without human touch. At the end of the first quarter, 65% of new campaigns in North America were created using Groupon’s merchant self-service tool that enables businesses to create and edit campaigns. From a customer perspective, Groupon is doing more to automate insights from search data to create a feedback loop with the company’s sales teams to ensure that its marketplace has the right inventory in the right places.
When this work is completed, these actions should significantly reduce the size of Groupon’s tech platform and allow it to accelerate its pace of product development focused on building a larger and more differentiated inventory base and launching products to support better customer and merchant experiences.
Groupon is a trusted local marketplace where consumers go to buy services and experiences that make life more interesting and deliver boundless value.