Planet | November 24, 2021
Planet, a leading provider of daily data and insights about Earth, today announced a number of new contracts with state and local governments, including entities in the states of Alaska and Mississippi. Operating about 200 earth imaging satellites, Planet provides near-daily images of every terrestrial location on earth, enabling their customers to track environmental change, support regional enforcement efforts, and make informed decisions.
Through their 7-month pilot program, Planet and the State of Alaska explored solutions for department managers that have historically been challenged by Alaska’s unique geography, marked by severe winter storms and remote landscapes. Notably, 82% of Alaskan communities are inaccessible by roads, and it is time consuming and costly to get boots on the ground for evaluations. Previously, employees would take small aircrafts to monitor approximately 50 weather stations across 90 million acres of land to determine when a station became snow-free. With daily PlanetScope images, their team was able to look back at satellite imagery day-by-day to determine the exact moment the station became snow-free, saving substantial time, costs, and energy, and increased the accuracy of the data collected. By decreasing the number of aircraft trips needed to these remote regions, Planet’s data also significantly increased employee safety.
Using Planet’s SkySats, the State of Alaska was also able to support inspectors for mining operations. With more frequent visibility, managers tracked mining activity on a month-to-month basis to plan inspections and support regulatory enforcement. They further utilized PlanetScope and SkySat data to provide environmental situational awareness for wildfires and reveal final fire perimeters. Additionally, the state leveraged Planet imagery of forestland to determine enforcement policies prior to on-site evaluations.
Using Planet’s datasets under a multi-department license, the State of Alaska ensures this data is shared through the State’s Imagery portal so that the imagery data can be used by various agencies. For example, the satellite data collected for mining inspection analysis by the Department of Mining Land and Water is also open and accessible to the State Department of Conservation, Fish and Game. By sharing this data across agencies, there is increased project transparency to support economic development and sustainability efforts.
At the other end of the continental U.S., Planet’s satellite data also supports the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (DMR). The Mississippi gulf coast is home to some of the nation’s most productive fin fish and shellfish waters. To ensure the sustainable use of these wetland ecosystems, the DMR works to regulate and restore these habitats yearly. Using PlanetScope imagery, the DMR was able to conduct necessary due diligence to protect wetlands and enforce accurate permitting programs.
Wetland habitats are home to a variety of submerged aquatic vegetation, including seagrasses that are vital to the ecosystem. As part of their role, the DMR provides permits to allow clients to mitigate and transport sections of vegetation for coastal development. In one instance, a client reported that in their designated zone, the aquatic vegetation was no longer present and requested a permit modification. It was critical that the DMR was able to ensure that the movement of this growing vegetation was a natural phenomenon and not due to human interference, such as mechanical removal or obstruction of light from a barge.
Using PlanetScope’s high-cadence imagery, the DMR team was able to go back day-by-day through the previous year to ensure that there was no man-made structure, barge, or interference to the vegetation on the site. They concluded that the species movement was indeed a natural phenomenon, and thanks to Planet’s high temporal resolution imagery, they were able to support the changing permit status with confidence. This case highlighted how daily transparency allowed the DMR to increase local enforcement and conduct their due diligence to keep the wetlands safe.
As a new customer, the Mississippi DMR was able to see immediate results from Planet’s product; and they are now exploring further uses for the data. These explorations will dive into identifying point sources of wetlands sedimentation, monitoring seagrass movement, and evaluating tidal marsh health and water quality. By working with Planet’s high-cadence imagery, the DMR will be able to better gauge secondary and cumulative impacts when projects are implemented.
Each year, more and more state and local governments are using Planet’s data to support their regional planning processes, manage their local industries, and protect their ecosystems. Their additional customers include the New Mexico State Land Office, the Port of Long Beach, Humboldt County, California, City and County of San Francisco, Autoridad Nacional de Licencias Ambientales in Colombia, the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission and the County of San Luis Obispo in California.
Working with state and local governments aligns with Planet’s goals to support communities and protect the environment. Earlier this year, Planet entered into a definitive merger agreement with dMY Technology Group, Inc. IV (NYSE:DMYQ), a special purpose acquisition company, to become a publicly-traded company. As it joins the public market, Planet will become a public benefit corporation (PBC), in which its mission will be encoded into its corporate DNA, obligating Planet’s directors to stay true to their mission as part of their fiduciary duty to their stockholders. Planet’s public benefit purpose is: “To accelerate humanity to a more sustainable, secure and prosperous world by illuminating environmental and social change.”
Planet is the leading provider of global, daily satellite imagery and geospatial solutions. Planet is driven by a mission to image the world every day, and make change visible, accessible and actionable. Founded in 2010 by three NASA scientists, Planet designs, builds, and operates the largest earth observation fleet of imaging satellites, capturing and compiling data from over 3 million images per day. Planet provides mission-critical data, advanced insights, and software solutions to over 700 customers, including the world’s leading agriculture, forestry, intelligence, education and finance companies and government agencies, enabling users to simply and effectively derive unique value from satellite imagery.
MilliporeSigma | December 30, 2021
MilliporeSigma, the U.S. and Canada Life Science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, today announced that it has been awarded a $136.7M USD contract award for the construction of a lateral flow membrane production facility over a three-year period at the company's Sheboygan, Wisconsin site. The contract award from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is part of an effort to ensure secure local supply and production capacity for critical products for pandemic preparedness.
"With this agreement, MilliporeSigma will construct a state-of-the-art lateral flow membrane production facility that will give our in vitro diagnostic (IVD) manufacturing customers greater flexibility and security of supply of our Hi-Flow™ Plus lateral flow membranes."
Matthias Heinzel, Member of the Executive Board and CEO, Life Science, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
"Our lateral flow membranes have earned a reputation for high consistency among rapid diagnostic manufacturers and the already robust demand for this membrane has significantly increased since the onset of the pandemic. With this critical investment, we are expanding much-needed access to essential diagnostic testing as a trusted partner to the world's most sophisticated diagnostic manufacturers," said Jean-Charles Wirth, head of Applied Solutions, Life Science.
Building this new facility supports the overall Life Science business sector's strategy to add physical capacity and expand its regional network to enable further growth of its key portfolios.
Hi-Flow™ Plus Lateral flow membrane is used in rapid diagnostic test kit manufacturing by the Life Science business' customers, enabling reproducible results due to its consistent quality and optimized properties. The rapid test kits are used for a variety of applications, including Infectious Disease testing (Covid-19, HIV, Influenza, Malaria, etc.), as well as in women's health, biomarker detection, drug testing, food safety and animal health. Due to continuously increasing demand for lateral flow membrane, the Life Science business had already invested in a second membrane casting line in Cork, Ireland, which was recently completed, and expanded the range of other critical reagents (antibodies, beads, blockers, buffers) utilized to develop lateral flow rapid test kits. These strategic investments position the Life Science business as an important critical raw material supplier for the Diagnostic market, especially as the company prepares for IVD Regulation and Medical Device Regulation.
The Life Science business is undertaking an ambitious, multi-year program to increase production capacity and capabilities to support the growing global demand for lifesaving vaccines, therapies and diagnostics. Within the last year, the company has accelerated investments to expand capacity to produce its support Mobius® single-use assemblies in both the U.S. and France, as well as increased capacity for the production of cell culture media in the U.S. and UK, among others. Additionally, several expansion projects continue to advance across the company's manufacturing and distribution global network.
About the Life Science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
The Life Science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, which operates as MilliporeSigma in the U.S. and Canada, has more than 23,000 employees and 59 manufacturing sites worldwide, with a portfolio of more than 300,000 products focused on scientific discovery, biomanufacturing and testing services. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science and electronics.
SparkCognition | February 16, 2022
SparkCognition Government Systems (SGS), the first artificial intelligence (AI) company devoted entirely to government and national defense, announced its participation at International Maritime Exercise (IMX) 2022/Cutlass Express. IMX/CE 2022 is not only the largest multinational naval exercise in the Middle East, but also the largest unmanned maritime exercise in the world with more than 80 unmanned systems from 10 nations participating. SGS joins more than 9,000 personnel, 60 partner nations and international organizations, and more than 50 ships to show the power of aggregating sensor data, imagery, and acoustics into AI models that spot abnormalities and prescribe solutions in real time.
A combined task force called Task Force X was established to allow participating forces to test unmanned systems and artificial intelligence in different training scenarios, and ultimately apply the lessons learned to future real-world operations.
SGS leverages proven commercial technologies and customizes them to meet government customers' needs, ultimately empowering mission readiness, enhanced decision making, and efficient operations. These solutions have an open architecture, are hardware-agnostic, and can be easily integrated with SGS's allies and partners. Through its participation in IMX/CE 2022, SGS is demonstrating how intelligent software transforms physical systems' capabilities by applying SGS's world-class solutions, built with AI, machine learning, and natural language processing technologies, to maritime missions. These enhanced missions lead to increased efficiency, reduced costs and asset failures, and increased warfighter and civilian safety–especially in the case of life-saving missions.
"At SGS, we are focused on helping operators and analysts leverage data from a wide variety of sensors and sources across multiple domains to help improve the speed and quality of decisions on the battlefield. The hardware-agnostic technologies we built are transforming the way government and military leaders around the world are thinking about security and mission readiness–and as a key participant of the IMX exercise, we're pleased to help build the future of national security."
Logan Jones, President and General Manager of SGS
About SparkCognition Government Systems
SparkCognition Government Systems (SGS), a wholly-owned subsidiary of SparkCognition, is the first artificial intelligence (AI) company devoted entirely to government and national defense. By developing and operationalizing next-generation AI-powered systems, SGS enables government organizations to meet the needs of their most pressing national security missions. SGS advances government operations by analyzing complex data to inform and accelerate intelligent decisions, applying predictive and prescriptive analytics to improve logistics, deploying autonomy technology for power projection systems, using AI and machine learning for large-scale processing of unstructured data, and more.