Spark Delivers Its First 5G Multi Access Edge Compute Pilot With EnviroNZ | Scoop News – Scoop

As a first step in developing its Multi Access Edge
Compute capabilities, Spark has taken a Qrious-developed
AI-powered computer vision pilot for EnviroNZ, the parent
company of EnviroWaste, and enhanced it with 5G connectivity
and local edge computing (AWS Snowball Edge). The pilot of
the computer vision system helps solve a key business issue
for EnviroNZ at its resource recovery centre identifying
health and safety risks.

Chris
Aughton, CEO of EnviroNZ
explains the company is
embracing technology to solve their business challenges,
“Safety is a constant focus for us. We have strong
controls to protect people on our sites but we’re always
working on how we can take it to the next level. In the past
year we’ve seen instances at one of our resource recovery
centres where members of the public have tried to retrieve
something from a clearly signed and barrier protected no go
area where our excavators work. Thankfully no one was
injured. Our on site team constantly monitor for this type
of situation but it got us thinking, could we use technology
to make it easier for them? So we challenged Qrious to
develop a cutting edge AI solution that could make our site
safer by enabling us to anticipate and react immediately if
someone bypasses our safety controls.”

As a result,
Qrious worked with EnviroNZ to develop a hazard detection
system using AI to help them detect if people are too close
to excavators working in the waste disposal area at a busy
resource recovery centre. Using computer vision and IoT
(Internet of Things) video cameras, it identifies and tracks
people and excavators within a specified detection zone and
calculates distances between them. The Qrious system can
trigger alerts when a person is identified as being too
close to an excavator.

To help explore the potential
of Multi Access Edge Compute within this pilot, the
EnviroWaste video feed is transmitted over 5G connectivity
to the cloud-based application hosted at the edge.

The
added benefit of adding edge compute to this mix allows data
to transfer more quickly back to the cloud-based application
to the 5G connected video camera, and therefore for hazards
to be flagged more quickly.

The hazard detection
system has been running as a pilot for the last six months.
Aughton says that results have been so successful that the
business is now exploring extending the trial to a second
site, “We’re hugely enthusiastic about the ability of
this technology to alert our team to an incident as it is
happening so we can instantly respond. We’re now looking
to test it in different site situations.”

Qrious,
part of the Spark Business Group, is dedicated to New
Zealand’s growth as a digital nation, creating products and
services that transform organisations and investing
significantly in building local AI and data analytics skills
and capability. Qrious CEO Stephen Ponsford
says the company has helped numerousorganisations use AI
to automate repetitive processes, improve efficiencies and
generate rapid insights, “By using AI to improve
decision-making, speed, and efficiency, we can create new
opportunities for businesses to think creatively, solve
business challenges and innovate
boldly.”

The business value of Edge
Computing 

While other use cases are
still emerging, it’s clear that Multi Access Edge Compute
minimises latency and network hops required to connect from
a business cloud-edge application to an end user’s or IoT
device.

Mark Beder, Technology Director for
Spark
explains that lower-latency data processing
over a 5G network will eventually deliver value to business
applications involving machine learning, IoT, and video
streaming.

He continues, “We are looking for ways to
bring the potential of 5G to life – demonstrating how
faster throughput, lower latency and high levels of
reliability can create tangible business outcomes. We are
looking forward to working with the business community in
the coming years to identify and test further use
cases.”

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