FROM DEEP SPACE TO UNDER THE EARTH’S CRUST: BEYOND LIMITS’ ENDLESS IMPACT

Beyond Limits has conquered the depths of space—now see how it’s bringing its expertise home.

What’s 20 years old, has been in deep space, and is now looking to take on the oil and gas and healthcare industries?

Beyond Limits’ artificial intelligence, of course.

“Whereas many popularized cognitive computing solutions in the marketplace are focused on deep machine learning applied to sensor fusion and computer vision, our cognitive computing focuses on human thinking and automates human decision processes,” CEO AJ Abdallat said.

NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense trust Beyond Limit’s AI program. NASA used the software for optimization on Mars missions and diagnostics of its deep space network. The AI evolved in the vacuum of space, but is it ready for earthly functions?

BP Ventures thinks so. The company was the sole investor during the California-based AI company’s Series B round of fundraising, bringing $20 million to the table. Five-year-old Beyond Limits already had $5.5 million from previous fundraising efforts.

The company claims its AI is faster than any other option on the market because it has been “battle tested in deep space where there is zero margin for error”.

“Our AI can work with unknown or missing data and figure out hypothetical scenarios and fill in the missing pieces—much like humans with experience do,” said Abdallat.

How it’s going to take on the oil and gas market and then conquer some of the toughest problems in healthcare may be a slightly different process.

Bringing AI to O&G

“Oil and gas is one of the largest industrial segments and is a natural fit for our cognitive computing capability,” Abdallat shared.

BP in particular is interested in bringing Beyond Limit’s on board. The partnership is expected to fundamentally change the way BP does business.

“The BP-Beyond Limits partnership could enable a step change in the way BP locates and develops reservoirs, produces and refines crude oil, and markets and supplies refined products,” the companies said.

Just the value an AI system can bring to drilling makes the BP-Beyond Limits partnership an advantageous opportunity. When machine learning is applied to drilling, information from seismic vibrations, thermal gradients, strata permeability, pressure differentials, and more is collected. By analyzing this data, AI software can help geoscientists better assess variables, taking some of the guesswork out of equipment repair and failure, unplanned downtime, and even help determine potential locations of new wells.

Beyond Limits AI Inevitable

This was a timely strategic move from BP. GE Oil & Gas has already been working with AI tech for about two years now. Other companies outside the oil and gas space—including Cisco, C3, and Aeris—have been contributing their respective AI software to the industry for some time now.

The funding from BP Ventures is expected to contribute to the hiring of cognitive and data scientists and software engineers, which will assist the company’s AI software with making the transition to earthly matters. CEO Abdallat also shared that more sales staff will be put in place to keep up with the increasing demand in the oil and gas marketplace.

As the oil and gas market—and the price of crude oil in particular—continues to be unstable, AI brings better predictive technology and efficiency to mining operations. It also means that companies can reach new levels of production without driving costs up.

“Our strategic cooperation with Beyond Limits is a perfect fit with BP’s vision of using digital technology to help transform our organisation. We believe artificial intelligence will be one of the most critical digital technologies to drive new levels of performance across the industry,” Morag Watson, Chief Digital Innovation officer at BP, shared.

By providing process automation, optimization from a business standpoint, and a different lens aimed at operational insight, Beyond Limits can truly evolve the way the oil and gas industry works.

The oil industry had been lethargic at best in adapting to digital technology. BP’s Director of Exploration and Production Business, Bernard Looney, knows this, but is optimistic for BP’s ability to catch up.

“We are now making up for lost time—fast,” he said. “Big data is revolutionizing big oil.”

Beyond Limits AI in Healthcare

“Our technology benefits sectors where there are any people managing complex operations, especially where there are well-defined operational procedures and best practices,” Abdallat shared.

“Our cognitive computing helps to improve decision velocity, decision quality, detects the unknown, and digitally assists with knowledge transfer from experts to other personnel.”

Sounds like a perfect fit for the healthcare sector, doesn’t it?

Beyond Limits thinks so, and has appointed Dr. Manikanda Arunachalam, Cardiologist and Venture Capital specialist, as its Senior Vice President for Corporate Development and Investments. The good doctor will guide the company through expansion into the health tech space, bringing truly cognitive AI solutions to the sector via its Life Sciences platform.

“Beyond Limits’ Life Sciences platform provides transformative value proposition to diverse stakeholders in the healthcare industry that could improve clinical outcomes, optimize costs, and build sustainable business models,” said Dr. Arunachalam.

“[It] will be an ideal partner for health systems, care plans, CRO’s, genomics companies, and many other providers in digital health and the healthcare Internet of Things.”

One of the biggest areas we see AI contributing to the healthcare market is through security. Patient privacy is paramount, and AI’s ability to look at multiple network data points at the same time will allow it to take immediate action on hacking threats, minimizing the impact. For Beyond Life Sciences—Beyond Limit’s healthcare division of the company—AI software could help doctors come up with personalized treatment plans after gathering and analysing data points from throughout a patient’s medical records and history. IBM’s Watson, the only easily recognizable AI in healthcare right now,  is already helping oncologists treat cancer.

From data security, patient care, and even the automation of medical devices, Beyond Limits is looking to have a big impact in this space.

To Limits and Beyond

This isn’t the end of where Beyond Limits can make its impact. The company’s leaders are currently building the foundation for the organization to contribute to spaces like energy, finance, manufacturing, and logistics and transportation.

Beyond Limits has already performed out-of-this-world capabilities—literally. But I’m betting it will have an even bigger impact here on earth.

“Exploring space is about being able to handle the unknown,” shared Abdallat. “Real-world industrial-grade AI will need to do the same to truly become commercially viable at scale in critical industries.”