Patents with a Purpose – Travelers Tech Employees Drive Innovation with New Inventions
At Travelers, innovation is part of our DNA. That’s never truer than during the Travelers Innovation Jam (InJam), an annual hackathon that provides Travelers employees the opportunity to develop new technologies that answer business challenges and aim to improve the experiences of our customers and employees. The inventions that come out of InJam and other working groups embody the spirit of innovation at Travelers, and several have become contenders for U.S. patents.
Travelers has filed 70 employee-driven U.S. patents in the last five years thanks to innovators like Michael Gammon, an Information Systems Engineer. Michael’s team created HomeSafe, an app-based system powered by machine learning which allows consumers to measure water usage more effectively. The team was inspired to create HomeSafe by personal experience. “Our team decided to focus on mitigating water damage after a particularly cold winter in the Northeast,” Michael said.
In creating this technology, they balanced researched-based findings and consumer needs to allow users to better protect their homes from water damage. In the same vein, the patented Wildfire Defender uses artificial intelligence (AI) to assess wildfire risk. “After the world experienced several years of devastating wildfires, we wanted to focus on the potential impact of vegetation when assessing wildfire risk in a proactive way,” said Stefanie Walker, Manager, Information Delivery.
Where HomeSafe shook up the consumer technology space, other Travelers patents focus on innovating in commercial tech. “When cargo is stolen, the first 24 to 48 hours of an investigation are crucial,” says Scott Cornell, National Practice Leader for Inland Marine Transportation. In response to this issue, Scott and his team developed The Cargo Theft App, which uses AI to prevent theft and aid recovery. “This app makes it possible for drivers to photograph their truck, trailer and cargo, and warns them about areas where theft has recently occurred along their planned driving route. If something gets stolen, the app can instantly send pertinent information to Travelers, vastly accelerating the investigation and supporting recovery,” he said.
Scott’s teammate Ernesto Jaramillo, Senior Information Systems Director and Circle Lead, highlights how crucial their interdisciplinary team was to the app’s development. “The keys to our success were our agile mindset and the fact that our team was cross-functional. If I had been at InJam with just engineers, we’d have been coding without a business partner’s expertise. And if our business colleagues had been working on a concept without engineers, it could have remained a mere idea.”
After working on Intelligent Imagery, another patented technology that applies computer vision models to aerial image data to determine a building’s footprint and characteristics, Data Scientist Murat Yasar, Ph.D., also credited the app’s success to a multifaceted team. “We approached the idea for this system with an inclusive, collaborative mindset, which brought out each person’s perspective,” Murat said. “Our team included people from product development, data science and architecture. And from that we could better consider every angle, outlining how our solution would benefit not only Travelers but also our customers, agents and brokers.”
At Travelers, innovation and collaboration go hand in hand—and everybody benefits. Each of these patents, which benefit stakeholders from large companies to the average consumer, is proof of the power of tech and of teamwork.