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Singapore aids civil defence with AI and smart glasses

Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), HTX (Home Team Science and Technology Agency), Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), StarHub and IBM have announced a new 5G project that will enable SCDF frontlines to enhance operational readiness through automating equipment inspection process and facilitating remote assistance using smart glasses, AI and AR technologies.

The project, underpinned by 5G technology, will be test-bedded on its latest-generation fire emergency vehicles in SCDF's Smart Fire Station, i.e. Punggol Fire Station. It will feature AI-powered visual inspection, voice-activated commands, step-by-step on-screen procedures and dynamic content display on 5G-connected smart glasses. All this will save the time needed for firefighters to inspect their equipment and enhance the monitoring of equipment inventory.

Moreover, inspection data will flow into a centralised dashboard to capture defects and provide equipment status updates in real time. This will raise SCDF's operational readiness to respond to emergencies.

In addition, there will be AR-assisted real-time remote assistance, enabled by the ultra-low latency and high bandwidth. During a post-fire investigation, the technology allows commanders on the ground to have live access to fire investigation specialists through real-time augmented annotations and video interactions to promptly assist in thorough scene processing and analysis.

The next phase of this two-year project will see full integration of solutions with backend services and ongoing field-testing. IMDA and IBM will support SCDF in integrating data governance and cybersecurity into the operations.

The project is supported by IMDA's 5G Innovation Programme, which helps enterprises adopt and commercialise 5G technologies. As the tech arm of the Home Team, HTX offers its technical capabilities and guidance for this project to ensure that it meets SCDF's operational needs. IBM delivers the end-to-end solutions leveraging AI technology, automation and AR. StarHub provides secured 5G connectivity and hardware to ensure optimal performance of these solutions, with network technical expertise offered at every project stage.

“IMDA has been championing 5G innovation and commercialisation over the past four years, and we have seen significant progress. As a leading regional hub for 5G innovation, Singapore has pioneered many of the region’s first 5G projects in the areas of Industry 4.0, Holomedicine, Maritime and more. We will continue to support our industry and enable our partners to tap on 5G capabilities in enhancing their operations and service offerings,” says Dr Ong Chen Hui, assistant chief executive at IMDA. 

“As one of the first-in-the-world to achieve nationwide 5G standalone (SA) coverage and as the first country to extend public 5G SA coverage to sea for maritime operations, IMDA will continue to build a robust future-ready digital infrastructure that meets both current and future demands.”  

“Innovation is key to carrying out our mission in protecting and saving lives and property. SCDF has been piloting smart technologies to reshape the way frontliners are trained and operations are executed,” adds DC Ling, Young Ern, deputy commissioner for future technology and public safety, SCDF. 

“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.”

“StarHub 5G delivers ultra-low latency and greater bandwidth, which is crucial in data-intensive industries and mission-critical operations where each millisecond counts,” notes Tan Kit Yong, head of the enterprise business group at StarHub. 

“With our StarHub 5G technology, we are proud to play a pivotal role in this game-changing project and help SCDF enhance their operations through real-time information management, operations synchronisation, and AR remote assist. Leveraging our capabilities in 5G, AI, Cloud, and Green Tech solutions, we are committed to delivering enduring value to enterprise and government clients in the region, co-creating our digital transformation journeys together.”

“As a global technology provider, IBM has brought the power of AI-based IBM Maximo Visual Inspection, through 5G-connected AR smart glasses, to automate equipment inspection and ensure frontliners’ equipment readiness. Equipment tracking and maintenance data aggregated into real-time single dashboard will also equip SCDF firefighters with data-driven operations and decision-making, which is crucial for a safe and successful operations,” says Ronald Castro, vice president of IBM Supply Chain. 

“IBM is committed to support Singapore in its Smart Nation efforts and will continue to help organisations and partners explore new possibilities brought by cutting-edge technology like AI to drive process efficiency, augment labour productivity and transform IT automation."

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