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How do you raise the alarm in the middle of nowhere?

By Dr Gerard Dyson, Managing Director, Spectur

For organisations operating public spaces or sites with serious safety hazards, community safety should always be a top-of-mind concern. Yet unpowered, temporary, or remote sites have long been challenging to monitor, making it difficult to detect threats and respond to emergencies. Innovative off-grid AI surveillance, sensing and warning systems can help – sensing, thinking and acting to make communities safer than ever before, even when disaster strikes.

From remote outback areas to bustling metropolitan cities, emergencies can happen anywhere. In many situations, a timely warning, a quick response or the ability to call for help can save lives. Yet the personnel responsible for protecting public safety, such as first responders, lifeguards and rangers, can’t be everywhere at once. Remote surveillance is commonly used to oversee sites without a constant staff presence. However, traditional surveillance solutions have limited applications and reach.

Across Australia, there are countless locations where using grid power to run monitoring equipment isn’t possible. These include public beaches, campsites, remote utility installations, unoccupied buildings, construction sites, and many more, each with unique safety and security concerns. So how can the organisations responsible for these sites protect public safety?

The solution: self-contained intelligent solar and battery-powered AI surveillance, safety, warning and communication solutions that sense, think and act autonomously to address safety issues.

Smart safety with AI

Spectur has developed advanced systems that don’t just record what’s happening – they detect problems, make decisions and take immediate action. Their AI can assess situations as they occur, identifying real threats and preventing false alarms. When safety issues are identified, they respond in real-time, taking appropriate action to warn the public, alert staff, call in reinforcements, and more.

The systems use solar power and battery storage, removing the need for mains power. Similarly, they are connected to the internet via mobile networks and amplified (as needed) antennae, or in extreme cases via satellite. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to safety, so Spectur’s systems are infinitely customisable to the needs of each unique site and application.

Self-contained, they can easily be moved to wherever they are needed by a single person with a van, making them ideal for temporary, as well as long-term, installations.

Using smart technology to protect safety in remote and unpowered sites, organisations can cost-effectively mitigate risk to save money, time and even lives.

Public warning and emergency response

Councils, government departments and other organisations that manage off-grid outdoor public spaces like beaches, parks and campsites have a responsibility to protect the health and safety of the community. Yet such spaces often come with various safety risks. These include storms, floods, fires or other natural disasters; the potential for serious injury due to accidents or wildlife attacks; medical episodes; anti-social or criminal behaviour; and more.

In an emergency, every second counts. This is especially true in remote locations where human help may take some time to arrive. In many outdoor public spaces, a constant staff presence is not possible. Distance and limited resources can reduce the ability of personnel to effectively oversee each and every site. For instance, lifeguards or rangers may be responsible for multiple locations, meaning certain beaches or campsites are infrequently patrolled. In many remote or off-grid locations, it can also be difficult for visitors to alert first responders and seek help in emergencies.

Spectur’s smart surveillance, warning and communications systems ensure rapid response to safety threats. Among other functions, they provide a means of warning the public of hazards, evacuating areas, and contacting emergency services.

In Western Australia, advanced shark warning systems are protecting surfers and swimmers in many locations across the state. Spectur installed the systems in collaboration with the Department of Fisheries, the Department of Primary Industry and Regional Development, Surf Lifesaving, and local government authorities. The chosen beaches are popular with beachgoers but do not have a constant lifeguard presence or frequent patrols to watch for Great White Sharks.

When activated automatically through tagged shark sensors or by rangers, the warning systems alert visitors with a loud spoken warning to evacuate the water, audible hundreds of metres offshore, and flashing red lights.

Alerts are sent to the rangers or lifesavers responsible for the area, who can then view conditions at the beach remotely in real-time to confirm that everyone has left the water.

Spectur emergency response beacons are also protecting communities on more than 20 New South Wales beaches. The systems warn beachgoers of threats and allow them to communicate directly with first responders in emergencies. Since their recent installation, the beacons have helped Surf Life Saving NSW save multiple lives, including those of suspected heart-attack victims, fishermen swept from rocks and potential drownings.

In Western Australia, Spectur is developing an initiative to protect campers and ensure rapid emergency response. The Campsafe solution can alert the public to danger, allows camp managers to remotely view and assess conditions, and provides fast access to emergency services.

These are just some of the ways AI sensing, thinking and acting technologies can contribute to making communities safer. Other potential applications include flood level assessment and warning, road condition alerts, bridge strike prevention and more.

Trespass protection – safeguarding people and property

While security for trespasser prevention is often approached purely from the perspective of protecting property, it also has a critical safety role. When people enter restricted sites for any reason, or undertake other illegal activities, they can come to serious harm.

Empty buildings, utility infrastructure installations, building sites and other ‘off-limits’ locations often contain an assortment of hazards. These commonly include electrocution or explosion risks, structures that may collapse, heights and uneven terrain, open excavations, broken glass, dangerous equipment and more. When unauthorised individuals enter these areas, they are generally not considering these dangers. Whether trespassers are prospective thieves or vandals, children or teens looking for thrills or a place without adult supervision, homeless people seeking shelter, or anyone else – all are vulnerable to serious or life-threatening injury.

By preventing people from entering restricted sites in the first place, AI surveillance solutions can not only mitigate property damage – they can prevent unnecessary injury or loss of life and protect site owners from potential liability.

Unlike traditional security cameras, Spectur systems can be positioned at the fenceline of a site that does not have power or cabled connection to detect and deter trespassers before they even enter. Instead of merely recording illegal activities, they actively prevent them by verbally warning off perpetrators, projecting an active security presence, and alerting the relevant authorities if further action is needed.

Similarly, the systems can be used to deter other dangerous illegal or antisocial activities, such as burnouts in car parks, charity bin theft or misuse, and illegal dumping of waste.

When safety is at stake, doing nothing is not an option. While smart surveillance systems are already saving lives, their current applications are just the tip of the iceberg in regards to how they can help make the job of protecting the public easier.

For more information on using Spectur’s smart solutions to enhance community safety, download our whitepaper Sense, think, act: how smart technology is making communities safer hereor call 1300 802 960 and talk to our team about finding the right solution for your unique onsite challenges.

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