Houston Startup Creates the Alexa or Siri for Oil and Gas Companies
When Sidd Gupta's friend lost his job and struggled to find a new position after the major oil downturn in 2014, Gupta noticed a systemic problem within the industry.
"A company rejected him because he was unfamiliar with the software they used in their operations," Gupta said. "In our industry, companies will judge a potential hire's technical capabilities based on which software they know how to use rather than how good they would be at the job."
While software requirements for oilfield jobs are common, it made Gupta consider how we can make complex data and knowledge more accessible.
Gupta saw something else brewing in the energy industry that also piqued his interest.
"There was entrepreneurship in the oil and gas space and an interest in data science during the oil downturn. We saw startups created in Austin then Houston. There was an infectious entrepreneurial energy at that time," he said.
Last year, he took the entrepreneurial leap, quit his job and founded Nesh, a smart assistant like Alexa or Siri, but specifically for oil and gas companies. Nesh sources information from public data, vendor sources, technical papers, journal articles, news feeds, and more to give answers to complex, technical questions related to energy.
Because this tool is meant for businesses and not personal use, the software must be trustworthy, Gupta said, and he asked himself what he needs to do to make an engineer or a head of an energy company believe Nesh's response.
The answer: transparency. With Nesh, users can see how the smart assistant came to its answer. The software shows the data and work flow behind the answer as part of the user interface.
And Nesh learns from its users too. If an unfamiliar question is posed to Nesh, users can add new training phrases to teach Nesh what to do next time the question is posed.
"We created Nesh as something super simple to use," Gupta said. "There's no learning curve, no technical knowledge required. You just need to speak plain English."
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15 August 2019