UPDATED 09:00 EDT / APRIL 09 2024


Mode Inc. raises $8.75M to build generative AI assistant for the internet of things

San Mateo, California-based Mode Inc. today announced it raised $8.75 million in new funding to accelerate the development of its generative artificial intelligence assistant for factories and construction sites using internet of things technology.

The Series B funding round included investments from SBI Investment Co. Ltd., True Ventures, JR East Startup Co. Ltd. and Daiichi Jitsugyo Co. Ltd. This current round brings the total raised by the company to more than $20 million.

Until now, Mode has been working to assist companies to analyze and gain insights from IoT data, but in June, the company announced the development of the “BizStack AI Assistant.” This would act as a generative AI agent that could work alongside management and workers in industrial facilities, construction sites and logistics to provide easy-to-understand real-time analysis on the job.

Mode’s Chief Executive Gaku Ueda told SiliconANGLE that routine inspection tasks at construction sites often take more than 10% of site managers’ time. Data and analysis are a very important part of the everyday life of construction site management, but at the same time, site managers don’t spend a lot of time in their offices – they’re walking the site. This means that they don’t have access to laptops or computers.

“BizStack AI Assistant solves these two problems at once: the AI Assistant is given access to sensors and cameras of the site — it can give site managers what they need instantly from anywhere via their smartphones,” Ueda said. “The AI assistant joins the team just like another team member on a real-time chat system and site managers can ask about the status of the work site.”

Mode leaned on its years of experience with construction companies to understand what pain points workers and managers were suffering in the field. Although data is constantly flowing from IoT devices and sensors, and real-time information is getting into reports, it’s not useful if it cannot be accessed in real time.

On top of that, putting a graph or a chart in front of someone without additional context is another barrier that chatbots make short work of. By giving someone an interface that they can just prompt for more information or follow up on can help provide insights in the field.

“The true demand is they want to know about the site from anywhere at any time,” Ueda said. “IoT data dashboards require time to learn how to get the data and insights they want.  We needed a tool that could be used by anybody on the site with a natural language interface.”

In a real-world example, the AI assistant was used in the field by a construction company at a tunnel construction site for tunnel boring underneath the water table. When constructing a tunnel when water is involved, sensors are set to detect water seeping into the tunnel at specific sections to manage the effectiveness of the waterproofing mitigation. In this case, the AI assistant assisted with monitoring the water pump and notified the construction team when it had issues, effectively increasing the safety of the entire team.

“Once the trouble is reported, the site manager can interactively investigate the issue with the AI: look at the current situation via video streaming, see measurements in a graph and quickly pull up the troubleshooting manual provided by our customers,” Ueda said.

Aside from accelerating the development of the AI assistant, Mode said that it would use the funding to expand in the North American market by acquiring new customers and potential global partnerships.

Image: Mode

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