Power investor Warren Buffett backs Israeli power saver tech

eVolution Networks Smart Energy Solution saves electricity by turning cell networks’ base stations on and off as needed

Cellphone base station tower (Photo credit: D.Pranhu/Wikimedia)
Cellphone base station tower (Photo credit: D.Pranhu/Wikimedia)

Bandwidth isn’t the only thing the burgeoning cell network is consuming more of. Already electricity costs account for a large chunk – as much as a third – of operating costs, and that amount will likely get larger as networks get bigger and more devices come on line.

All that energy use is due to the deployment of base stations, and as energy efficient as they are now nowadays, the sheer number needed is enough to put a strain on supplies in big cities (New York, for example, has 14,000 mobile phone base stations).

To solve that problem, eVolution Networks has developed a big-data solution that examines the relationship between phones, usage rates, locations, energy costs, and other factors, to activate and deactivate base stations as needed.

And although it sounds like a technical, even prosaic solution, top investor Warren Buffett likes the idea – enough to invest in the company. eVolution announced this week that Berkshire Hathaway Energy subsidiary IES Holding and GE Ventures have invested $22.5 million.

With its Smart Energy Solution (SES) technology, eVolution conducts both a thorough radio coverage analysis and a deep study of typical daily traffic patterns for each existing base station across the network and creates individual traffic and radio profiles for each. The information allows the network to list the stations that can be safely deactivated while still maintaining coverage and service integrity.

Buffett first invested in Israel in 2006, when Berkshire Hathaway investment firm bought 80% of the ISCAR Metalworking Company firm for $5 billion. In May 2013, Buffett bought the rest of the company for an additional $2.05 billion.

Warren Buffett is not alone in noticing eVolution’s usefulness. In November, Spain’s Telefonica Group said it would deploy eVolution’s SES across its Radio Access Networks. Telefonica has been rolling out SES on its European networks, and expects to save as much as 35% of energy costs.

“Energy costs are a huge problem for mobile operators,” said Roy Morad, CEO of eVolution Networks. “Operators are constantly forced to expand their network to support the growing data demand from subscribers and the Internet of Things (IOT). However, the way networks are designed today doesn’t allow operators to wisely ‘right size’ their energy use according to live traffic demand. eVolution Networks’ Smart Energy Solution eliminates this problem.”

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