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Singapore firefighters don smartglasses for equipment inspections

Firefighters from the Singapore Civil Defence Force will employ smartglasses equipped with computer vision and 5G capabilities to perform visual inspections of their equipment

Firefighters from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) will wear smartglasses to conduct artificial intelligence (AI)-powered visual inspections of their equipment and support post-fire investigations in a 5G technology trial.

Conducted by the SCDF in collaboration with the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX), StarHub and IBM, the trial project will enable firefighters to issue voice-activated commands for receiving on-screen procedures and dynamic content on their 5G-connected smartglasses when inspecting equipment and monitoring equipment inventory.

Data from the inspections will be sent to a centralised dashboard to highlight defects and provide real-time equipment status updates. This is expected to raise SCDF’s operational readiness to respond to emergencies.

During post-fire investigations, the technology will also allow commanders on the ground to have live access to fire investigation specialists through real-time augmented annotations and video interactions, facilitating timely scene processing and analysis.

The trial will take place at SCDF’s Smart Fire Station in Punggol in north-east Singapore and will involve the latest-generation fire engines. HTX, the technology arm of the Home Team, is providing technical capabilities and guidance for the trial.

StarHub will supply the 5G connectivity for the project, while IBM will provide its Maximo Visual Inspection computer vision software for automating equipment inspection and ensuring equipment readiness.

“Equipment tracking and maintenance data aggregated into a single real-time dashboard will equip SCDF firefighters with data-driven operations and decision-making, which is crucial for safe and successful operations,” said Ronald Castro, vice-president of supply chain at IBM.

Ling Young Ern, deputy commissioner for future technology and public safety at SCDF, said the force has been piloting smart technologies to reshape the way frontliners are trained and operations are executed.

“The 5G-enabled fire engine makes secure, real-time transmission of high-quality videos and images achievable. Working closely with IMDA, HTX, StarHub and IBM is pivotal in pushing the boundaries of data connectivity to enhance our operational readiness. We look forward to collaborating further to accelerate the use of emerging technologies and 5G in our emergency appliances and operations,” he added.

Read more about 5G in APAC

  • The number of 5G connections in Asia-Pacific will grow to more than 400 million by 2025, but a usage gap due to the lack of digital skills and affordability will still exist.
  • India’s upcoming spectrum auction marks the start of larger scale deployments of 5G in the subcontinent, but telcos will need to find a way to address high infrastructure costs and monetise their investments.
  • 5G adoption in Australia is taking place in the industrial arena and other sectors, but telcos will need to transform themselves and overcome cost challenges to drive wider adoption.
  • Shipyard workers at Singapore’s Keppel Offshore and Marine can view work instructions on their smart glasses, pull out real-time data about their equipment and receive remote guidance in a range of operational tasks.

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