Laura Jones is the definition of undaunted entrepreneurship and grit. In addition to being a longstanding business owner with great successes and undeniable rough patches to her name, Jones also faced a severe spinal problem with temporary partial paralysis. But throughout the health crisis, she was mulling the idea of a green power company. She pushed through the pain, multiple surgeries and treatments for nearly 10 years and regained health and the guts she needed to launch Regent Power and make it a success.
When Jones launched Regent Power in 2015, it was "to make a difference in the face of advancing climate change: improving the stability of the electric grid, reducing demand for energy, and developing the infrastructure to support the incoming electric vehicles." Back then, her vision seemed pre-mature but today is recognized as a most-needed reality.
“Regent Power was born from having worked in the energy and battery industry for more than ten years. After winning the global General Motors electric vehicle lab contract, I became very involved on the G.M. Volt project. I knew the statistics of the future of E.V. (electric vehicle market) and the need for charging infrastructure and battery and power integration,” Jones said. It was an attractive opportunity.
“I worked closely with a senior engineer on the Volt project, Carmine Pizzuro of eCAMION of Toronto, who went out on his own to develop solar/ renewable-powered microgrids and community energy storage systems.” Pizzuro developed a design one of the first community energy storage systems that has outperformed expectations and was among the first in the field of microgrids and community energy storage. Pizzuro then developed a unique D.C. fast-charging system for electric vehicles and buses that outperforms anything on the market. Regent represents the firm in the United States.
As Regent Power began operations, Jones realized that the sales cycle for microgrids and E.V. charging was very long and a bit on the bleeding edge. “I added Smart City L.E.D. lighting to my portfolio and found that by integrating other technologies and solutions, we can have a tailored product offering for the city, municipality, corporate entities, or police,” Jones said.
As gunshot violence skyrocketed in her hometown, St. Louis, she added turnkey, mobile gunshot detection solutions to her product portfolio. Because the platform that she adopted, the V5 Gunshot Detection System, uses artificial intelligence to identify gunshots, it provides immediate, accurate detection compared to other systems that require human monitoring and determination of an actual shot. That need for human intervention can take up to four minutes of analysis and often yields false-positive results. Other systems also struggle with inaccurate location issues and lack of streaming video, which wastes valuable police time and energy.
Today, Regent Power, as integrator of turn-key solutions is a technology leader owing to a partnership with the V5 Gunshot detection technology with integrated solar/battery for grid-free mobility, camera surveillance, and license plate detection. For instance, University City, Missouri, Police have successfully completed a quarter-mile pilot project to test the V5 system and have awarded an installation contract to Regent. The outdoor detection system, developed by V5 Systems of Freemont, California, also includes high definition streaming camera surveillance and license plate recognition. University City selected the V5 system because it performed well above expectations during the three-month pilot.
Regent has also integrated indoor detection and entry sensors for universities, schools, and corporate buildings. The company is working to introduce emergency drone surveillence to provide a complete system by utilizing multiple experts to create a comprehensive solution to gunshot voilence.
“When we compared to the various gunshot detection systems on the market, we knew the V5 System would offer us a better way — a more technologically advanced, self-powered, immediate response system — to aid in gunshot detection than what others in the Midwest are utilizing,” Jones said.
Among the advantages of the system is its prompt notice of gunshots, which are sent in real-time to police and assigned first-responders. University City gets real-time detection push notifications without the frustrationof false positives, or noise, that isn’ t a gunshot.
Jones monitors changes and advances in the industry by staying connected to industry leaders such as Herb Sih, a leader in the Smart City space who has become a mentor. She carefully listens to the problems and needs of each client and seeks out the best possible collaboration with other companies that design complementary products.
“At least three challenges are facing Regent Power: criminal and hacking groups, budget-conscious administrators , and determined competitors,” Jones said.
“The need to stay technologically ahead of each aspect is paramount. Our core competency is a collaboration with the best-in-class complementary technologies.”
Regent Power is pushing further into the eco-friendly smart-cities technologies by offering Smart Streetlights that can be controlled by the police to brighten areas at bar closing time, or when nefarious activity is suspected or outfitted with cameras, traffic monitoring, and crime detection solutions. The company is also working on an infrastructure roll-out for D.C. fast-charging electric vehicle and bus charging stations.
“Innovation is the key to maintaining any stake in the technology business today. A new concept has to be first, has to be better, and has to fully anticipate and fulfill the needs and requirements of the client,” Garland Edwards, owner and envisioneer, GravPower Generator Co. and chief information officer of Regent Power.