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Missoula tech company strikes deal with IBM to help build trek-like sensor grids

A Missoula company has struck a deal with IBM that could shape how organizations monitor critical infrastructure and how the country secures its borders, the Helena Independent Record reports.

terraechos.pngThe deal allows the company, TerraEchos, to embed new IBM technology into a system of fiber-optic sensors, the company’s CEO, Alex Philp told the IR.

TerraEchos’ uses sound sensor technology licensed from the U.S. Navy. Sensors buried in the ground or underwater send acoustic data back to computers that compare the data to algorithms to figure out what made the noise, according to a press release published by the Wall Street Journal.

The company says its system can “instantly identify, distinguish and classify a variety of objects.”

From the press release:

For example, to monitor the security and performance of an oil pipeline, a company could bury the sensors strategically throughout the pipeline corridor at specific locations. The complex sound patterns made by a security breech (sic.) or problem in the pipeline, such as change in flow dynamics or impacts on the pipeline exterior, would be captured by the sensor array and instantly analyzed. Within seconds, the pipeline operator would be alerted to the problem, potential cause and where along the miles of pipeline it was located.