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Melbourne Water Gets Bushfire and Lightning Detection Tech

A Sweden-based provider of IP video cameras, audio and associated security products will collaborate with US-based software engineering innovators to produce a solution to protect Melbourne Water from bushfires and lightning strikes.

The video surveillance company will provide state-of-the-art thermal sensors and high-precision visual spectrum cameras, enabling the geo-targeting of smoke plumes and lightning activity using the software engineering firm’s SPARC technology. This allows the solution to accurately detect lightning strikes as well as pinpointing the geographic location of a fire within 75 metres of the incident and over long distances.

The solution allows firefighting personnel to maintain 24/7 surveillance on a determined area without the need for staff to constantly man watchtowers and provides continuous reports and updates in real-time.

The software engineering firm also plans to release an autonomous software update later in 2021 that will provide real-time AI capabilities, negating the need for firefighters to maintain ‘live’ 24/7 surveillance positions and at times of high fire danger, instead of providing updates and reporting digitally.

The video surveillance company’s Q8742-LE bi-spectral visual/thermal camera provides high-resolution imagery in all lighting conditions. With PTZ functionality, users at Melbourne Water can hone in on areas of interest, detecting and geo-targeting potential trouble spots before they get out of control.

The Regional Director (Oceania) of the video surveillance company said a system like this can save lives and critical infrastructure while making life easier and more efficient for those involved.

He noted that the solution is a very smart deployment and one which demonstrates the many and varied uses of video technology in the wider community.

“There is so much scope these days for connected video and audio to be integrated with features such as geo-mapping and analytics, and people are only limited by their imagination or knowledge of what is possible,” he said.

The software engineering company’s Spatial Video Platform, coupled with SPARC technology, is capable of geo-pointing and reverse geo-pointing, allowing users to pinpoint a specific area and geo-coordinates on a virtual map, and have the video surveillance company’s cameras provide clear images in real-time.

The high specification visual spectrum cameras and thermal sensors with lightning detection enable bushfire teams to accurately locate a fire or thermal heat anomaly over a wide area, without the need for other frames of reference or triangulation.

The software engineering firm has been working closely with the video surveillance company for several years, utilising its cameras across our range of products in the market.

The combination of the video surveillance company’s camera technology with the software engineering firm’s spatial video smarts and cloud software provides our customers with entirely new situational awareness and intelligence gathering capabilities, the CEO and Head of Research and Development at the software engineering company said.

Melbourne Water Corporation is a statutory authority responsible for the management of Victoria’s largest water catchment.

The body has direct responsibility for bushfire planning, management and the identification of bushfires in and around the water catchment area. This is performed by staffing a network of bushfire towers, which have been successfully trialled by using the software engineering firm’s SPAC solution and the video surveillance company’s cameras.

In May 2021, the Victoria state government announced a pair of technology investments, including an allocation of at least AU$133 million towards technology that helps reduce the risk of bushfires.

The Victorian government will dole out AU$133 million for new digital radios for Forest Fire Management Victoria staff, said Minister for Energy Environment and Climate Change. She said the new digital radios would help Forest Fire Management Victoria staff avoid black spots and improve the way they communicate with other emergency services.

The AU$133 million is part of a bigger AU$517 million investment package that the Victorian government has said would “deliver important technology upgrades” for firefighters and improve bushfire risk management across various state agencies.

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