City LightsUP and City LimitsUP with DeskUP

Daedas Inc. team poses with WEtech’s DeskUP Program Director, Irek Kusmieczyk

Guest Blog by: Daedas Inc.  

Although our energy startup—Daedas–is located in Windsor, Ontario, we are constantly looking out past our city limits. Volunteering our time to reach out to the surrounding areas, we have learned the value of a strong network. Recently, we had the opportunity to see some of our community outreach pay off in a big way.

In 2013, Daedas crossed the border to reach out to mayoral candidate for the City of Detroit, Mike Duggan. We volunteered our nights working on part of the campaign platform focused on public lighting and the city’s outdated electrical infrastructure. Throughout the campaign we met regularly with city residents and administrators to learn more about the situation at hand. We evaluated the streetlight system and began to research possible solutions, with our findings eventually compiled into a report.

The report highlighted the current situation, along with what is required to develop an action plan to restore the streetlight system in the City of Detroit. Our objective was to create a sustainable strategy to restore, expand, operate, and maintain the streetlights. Suggestions included: building an accurate street lighting database, setting performance standards to monitor outage response times, and identifying areas to upgrade to efficient LED lights. It was a great learning experience.

This payed off when Mike Duggan was elected as mayor of Detroit. When we initially set out, we knew that our efforts did not guarantee change. The implementation of our ideas relied on Mr. Duggan taking office. After the election we saw that our hard work had paid off. We found out recently that the city is in the process of upgrading its streetlight infrastructure and many of the suggestions that we made have been incorporated into the action plan. We were part of a change that will improve the life of Detroit residents.

Venturing past our city limits was pivotal for us as we continued to define this unbeaten path. Building relationships and gaining trust through community outreach is worth all the effort. To push a product like ours out to market, we need to bring the right stakeholders to the table. Being an early stage tech startup, we understand that if we can leverage our network and limited resources, we could achieve anything. Over the past year we have attended countless networking events, workshops, and seminars that have helped us build a network across industry, our city, our province, and across our borders.

We are happy to announce that we are working closely with our partners to strengthen tech innovation in Windsor and the surrounding area. In October of last year, WEtech Alliance helped us reach out to local programmers through the HackWE Code Jam Hackathon. We were responsible for designing the problem space centered around energy-tracking web and mobile applications that coders would work to untangle over the course of the 24 hour event. The connections that we made through this event helped us access an emerging market, and over the next few months we will be collaborating with the key stakeholders to roll out our residential energy application.

Through that competition, we connected with the Energy Apps for Ontario competition being organized by the Government of Ontario and MaRS Discovery District—a Regional Innovation Centre in Toronto.  With support from WEtech, Daedas sent a delegation to Toronto for the Energy Apps Award Ceremony that brought together partners from both the programming and energy world. The networking opportunity was invaluable and is already bearing fruit.  Stay tuned for our next blog to find out how.

In short, what we’ve learned is that when you set out to achieve something, and dedicate your efforts to a greater cause, you can gain so much from the people around you.  Quite often, that something is beyond the horizon and beyond the city limits.

Daedas is a Windsor-based startup company launched by Paolo Piunno, Naiel Samaan and Brad Colthurst, and it is supported by WEtech Alliance through its DeskUP program.