Title: EYEfi Research and Development trials of EYEfi SPARC - spatial targeting technology (2009)

Organisation/Stakeholders: EYEfi Pty Ltd and AusIndustry, Telstra, Department of Sustainability and Enviornment (DSE), Office of the Emergency Services Commissioner (OESC), Melbourne Water. 

Location: Mt St Leonard, Mt Riddell, Poley Tower and Mt Toorongo 

Industry segment: Emergency Management

Application: Bushfire monitoring and tracking to provide real-time intelligence and situational awareness 

Mission

Bushfires in Australia continue to put communities and infrastructure at risk while costing Australia around $2.5B per annum in response efforts alone. For example, the Victorian Black Saturday fires killed 173 people, destroyed thousands of homes and burnt almost 100,000 hectares of Victorian parks with 90 per cent of this being National Park. In 2013, fires have continued to go either undetected and rage out of control before Emergency Services personnel could be alerted, a situational assessment made and an appropriate response effort mounted. 

In 2009, EYEfi were part way through a small scale R&D field trial of our patent pending SPARC spatial targeting technology (created by Simon Langdon and in development since 2006), when the devastating Black Saturday fires came through. Bushfires in Australia continue to put communities and infrastructure at risk while costing Australia around $2.5B per annum in response efforts alone. EYEfi SPARC is a suite of tools that assists in the detection, tracking and ongoing monitoring of fires, while significantly reducing their financial impact.

The purpose of the EYEfi R&D trials in 2008 was to:

  • Conduct field trials to test EYEfi's remote camera, communications and remote power solution

  • Test the SPARC spatial targeting technology in real-world scenarios, and continue development efforts

  • Build the application with input from the stakeholders and demonstrate the developed solution  

  • Develop and refine the operational use-cases and document the trial

Solution

A trial agreement was established by EYEfi with the stakeholders, commencing in early 2008. EYEfi worked with the stakeholders to deploy the technology to a variety of selected sites, involving the following site equipment;

  • Axis IP network cameras

  • 3 x 85W solar panels, 3 x 100aH deep cycle batteries and integrated solar controller

  • EYEfi 3G Remote Gateway Device (RGD) and GPS equipment

  • Tower or standalone pole mounted

  • The EYEfi Cloud application (back-end) was already deployed in Telstra's co-location hosting facility in Melbourne, with EYEfi's control centre connected to this environment via Telstra's private IP wireless network along with Internet access.

EYEfi's core server application, EYEfi Navigator, utilises a web browser-based user interface and facilitates camera controls, data/video transfer, GPS and telemetry information, and a variety of other site monitoring capabilities, and was developed to incorporate the various modes of EYEfi SPARC as described elsewhere on this website. It also connects to Bing Maps online and the Victorian Mapping and Address Service (VMAS).

The key intention of the pilot was to provide remote access to the cameras so that EYEfi engineers could test and further refine the overall system and EYEfi SPARC technology, with the eventual outcome of enablinge users (fire tower operators and emergency services personnel) to utilise any individual camera in the network to zoom in and determine the location of a specific point of interest, without the need for triangulation.

Outcomes

"“EYEfi SPARC is an innovative, home grown solution that will save lives and potentially billions in emergency response efforts, impacts on regional economies and rebuilding local communities.”  Bruce Esplin, retired Emergency Services Commissioner.

During the R&D trial period, the unthinkable occurred when on Saturday the 7th of February 2009, fires swept across many parts of Victoria on what was to become known as Black Saturday.

On this day, EYEfi's chief engineer, Simon Langdon, was conducting calibration testing on the cameras and system from within the EYEfi Control Room at EYEfi's Head Office in Collingwood (Melbourne CBD), and was able to manually monitor and track the whereabouts, direction and rate of progress of some of the fire activity. In particular, the EYEfi system captured critical evidence in relation to the Murrindindi fire that devastated Marysville and killed 41 people.

The following key outcomes and ongoing developments have occurred since Black Saturday;

  • Simon Langdon was subpeanoed to the Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission (VBRC) as a professional witness, along with the evidence captured by the system on Black Saturday

  • The VBRC Final Report suggested that Government explore the utilisation of EYEfi SPARC as a means of providing significantly improved real-time information and situational awareness

  • Simon Langdon assisted the Victoria Police and CFA Fire Investigators as part of the Victorian Police Pheonix Task-Force that was set-up to investigate the circumstances surrounding the Marysville fire

  • DSE-SII commissioned the Victorian CRC-SII to independently test the accuracy of the EYEfi SPARC technology (+/- 150m at 15km and a 95% confidence level)

  • Telstra and EYEfi embarked upon a productisation and licensing process for the EYEfi products, resulting in Telstra's launch of Telstra Spatial Video Solutions (powered by EYEfi Pty Ltd) in late 2012

  • Simon Langdon produced full reports, videos and whitepapers regarding the learnings and experience from the EYEfi R&D trial project

  • Simon Langdon appeared on the the ABC New Inventors program in 2010

  • EYEfi and Telstra has continued to advocate the extensive capabilities and benefits of EYEfi's technology to Local, State and Federal Governments.   

ENDS

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