WIMTACH and Alphacor successfully develop an innovative energy management application

Photo: Appolinary Kalashnikova

Bofa Udisi studied Energy and Petroleum studies focusing on the oil and gas industry. Later when he came to Canada he studied Energy Management, a decision that introduced him to opportunities and long-lasting connections.

In 2015, Udisi co-founded his energy consultation company, AlphaCor Sustainability Solutions Limited with some of his friends. Alphacor was created with the mission of producing energy management technologies to help in reducing the effects of climate change through everyday life. With this vision in mind, Udisi hoped to develop a system to monitor individual energy footprints and in 2016 Alphacor developed the first prototype. “I felt like it would be beneficial if people were to have a basic understanding of the trend … so they understand ‘this is what energy management is about and this is what it entails,’” he said. To transition this concept into a tangible product, he asked WIMTACH to take on the task.

In 2017, Alphacor, WIMTACH, and the Centre of Explainable Data Analytics (CEDA) partnered to create an application that would give property owners the opportunity to calculate how much energy they need in a space and enable them to monitor and control their usage. This initial concept was developed further into a comprehensive software tool called Ecotapp. After years of development and different versions of the app, WIMTACH has successfully developed a minimum viable product that will enable Alphacor to gain feedback for future development. With Ecotapp, Alphacor hopes to bridge the gap in the public’s understanding of energy consumption and empower individuals to be conscious of their energy usage.

WIMTACH has been supportive of Alphacor and Udisi’s vision as he continues to develop ideas to meet Alphacor’s mission. The partnership has been instrumental in assisting Alphacor in securing funding and access to the expertise of senior professionals in software development and environmental science. “Getting this funding opportunity through [WIMTACH and CEDA] has also helped tremendously because, first of all, at Alphacor we don’t have the resources,” he said. He further explained that the applied research project and management structure at WIMTACH, which enabled him to delegate management responsibilities for the project, added a layer of great support.

Udisi had high expectations going into the development of a project, and he felt that his expectations were met. He initially had reservations about the collaboration because of a previous unsuccessful partnership with another college, but the research team at WIMTACH was able to adjust and adapt changes at his direction, an approach that he believes made communication easy. “I was scarred by an experience that I had with a different College,” he said. “So I went into this project with the mindset that this is what we’re looking to get so at the end of the project, we need that … WIMTACH met my expectations at the end of the project.” He is pleased with the results of this collaboration and notes that the Alphacor team finally has a product to build upon.

The application was successfully built, in large part because of the help of Student Researchers who were able to bring inventive and creative ideas to meetings. “The students were very amazing,” Udisi said. “They had a very good impact.” Understanding that some of the students were completely new to the concepts explored in this applied research project, Udisi was impressed with their ability to add thought-provoking elements to the development process. For instance, he mentioned that some students helped him consider how machine learning could be integrated into the project as well as other development tools. Discussions like these, helped him to consider unfamiliar paths, which have proven to be useful in the long run. “It was a difference for me, and I learned a lot,” he said.

Moving forward, Udisi hopes to test his application with property managers and gather findings for more improvements. As a result, his team is working on securing an investment for this initiative. “Our goal is to finish refining the product by June of next year so that we can actually launch that product in the industry,” he said. He is glad that he decided to collaborate with WIMTACH and hopes to continue a relationship. “I would say I’m a WIMTACH ambassador at this point,” he said. “I always recommend WIMTACH. The working relationship I had with the staff … has been amazing.”

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