Archive: Jun 2018

Australian Cities Getting Smarter

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Ever been shocked by size of your business’s quarterly water bill? Wouldn’t it be great if you could track your consumption in real time every hour of every day?

Ever seen an over-flowing industrial bin on a construction site? What if the bin could self-notify when it was full and send out an alert to be collected?

Ever wanted to go for a long summer walk or cycle but have been put off because it was just too hot? What if an app could recommend a low temperature route for your journey?

You may think these ideas are theoretical thought bubbles.

However, they are real solutions which have been funded under the first round of an Australian Government grants program called ‘Smart Cities’. The scheme, announced late last year, saw 49 projects share in close to $28m.

Tolerro’s CEO and Managing Director, Anomi Bruynius, says these projects are further evidence of a wave of AI innovation which is finally coming to fruition.

“In a world where ‘Internet of Things’ is commonplace; data analytics and sensor-enabled services can be used to improve the way we view our surroundings and utilise the facilities and opportunities available to us.

“At an industrial level the applications may not seem obvious, but they are definitely happening. For instance, at Tolerro we are seeing smart technologies beginning to revolutionise the world of asset management and facilities management.”

For all of us who rely on roads, waterways and power, the application of smart facilities and asset management solutions means our public infrastructure is being better maintained, will last longer and ultimately will cost far less to operate and replace.

Check out this video on smarter sensor driven street lighting, where lighting is provided when it is required. On-Demand street lighting can result in less energy consumption, less maintenance, less carbon emission and less cost.

Perhaps most exciting about the world of AI is the fact that the technology already exists. What we are now experiencing is the creative application of years of development, limited only by our imaginations.

‘Smart Cities’ is just one way of drawing out these creative ideas and a further $22m is now up for grabs under the program. The scheme offers grants from $250,000 up to $5 million for projects that apply innovative technology-based solutions to urban challenges. You can find out more about the next round of Smart Cities grants here.

Applications close on 2 July.

FLYING COWBOY DRONES, MILKING ROBOTS, & SELF-SIZING TRAINS

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Automation is rapidly changing our world. The promise of the Internet of Things (IoT) is being applied across an ever-broadening cross-section of the economy. And it’s not science fiction!

IoT is all about how computing technology is being applied to everyday devices in order to transmit and receive data. Such is the pace of change in this space that many of the most recent applications receive little fanfare outside of the industrial or business press.

Did you know that in Australia, Sydney rail passengers can now use an app to check the capacity of an approaching train? They can even see which carriage has the most room. The most fascinating aspect of this story is the back end of the technology which does not, as you might expect, involve a process of counting tickets at passenger entry and exit points. Rather, each carriage is weighed as it approaches a station, capacity is estimated and then that data is transmitted to the app in real time.

Outside of the city, the dairy industry is being turned on its head by robots which allow cows to come and be milked when they want. What’s known as Precision Dairy Technology or Automatic Milking Systems has an obvious benefit in terms of reduced labour requirements. However the real change is in productivity with real time data allowing farmers to better plan their days with some experiencing increases in output of up to 25%.

Curiously fixed time points for agriculture have been one of the sticking points in the debate over daylight savings in Queensland, Australia. With cows able to choose when they want to be milked, could these 21st century farm robots be the catalyst for a single east coast time zone?

Further west, Australia’s vast outback stations are tracking their disparate herds with the latest in drone technology. These ‘flying cowboy’ robots are quicker, easier and less prone to accidents than the real thing. In days gone by a Jackeroo on horseback might have been the preferred method for monitoring stock movements but electronic tagging combined with GPS is allowing graziers to know the real-time precise location of every asset on their property.

Tolerro is paying close attention to the rapid roll-out of the IoT technologies. With Facilities Management an ever-increasing aspect of our work portfolio, we are seeing industries transformed before our eyes as clients begin to appreciate the incredible amount of data at their fingertips and the efficiencies gained through the application of automated and integrated systems.

For businesses embracing this change it means improved safety, lower costs and increased productivity.

We can only begin to imagine what incredible life-changing applications lie ahead as Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things technologies continue its rapid move from theoretical science fiction to real world innovation.

 

ENDS

THE SERIOUS BUSINESS OF KEEPING SAFE

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Safety Management is a critical and important aspect of business.  In fact, these days we hear about safety in our workplaces in pretty much everything we do.

When we get on a flight we hear the same safety instructions and what to do in the event of danger.  In some workplaces, instructions are provided and repeated on what to do in the event of a bomb threat or if one was to receive a threatening phone call.

These instructions are a constant and consistent reminder of the importance we as a community place on personal safety and the safety of others. But being safe isn’t just confirmed to the workplace and we must take seriously all aspects of safety, in the home, in transit and wherever we may find ourselves.  It is our responsibility as much as it is someone’s else to ensure the organisation we are associated with, whether it be a workplace, a school or community centre, has safety as its first and foremost consideration.

At an industrial level, safety issues become magnified when projects are held up over safety concerns. These are the disputes which often hit the headlines where unions and employers are at loggerheads over the validity of claims and counter-claims.

However, the stark reality is that better safety practices save lives. In Australia workplace deaths halved in just ten years, down from 300 in 2006 to 150 in 2016. Obviously, any loss of life or injury at work is a tragedy, but the downward trajectory of these numbers is an encouraging sign.

Safety Management Systems and their accompanying accreditation are now standard across many areas of the economy and in fact the need to have these systems in place is often a prerequisite for winning and maintaining contracts.

In addition, there are numerous industry conferences now focused exclusively on safety. Tolerro is particularly looking forward to Safety Connect 2018, the annual conference of the National Safety Council of Australia which is being held in Brisbane this coming August.

One Australian industry that stands out for its safety track record is mining, which is characterised by highly dangerous work involving heavy machinery, and remote underground locations.  Remarkably, Australia’s mining sector doesn’t make the top five industries for work-related deaths.

Tolerro’s CEO and Managing Director, Anomi Bruynius, says the reason for this will be obvious to anyone who has ever been to an Australian mine site where the ethos of safety runs through every aspect of life on site including travel, communication, clothing, environmental hazards and more.

“I have had the great privilege of working in remote mine sites in Australia where safety was number one, and nothing else came close to that consideration.  The miners and their management did not put a price on human life.

“Sadly, the same consideration is not placed at the same level in other industries. I learnt firsthand while working in the Middle East, that a price is in fact placed on human life, and the $amount payable to a family should their loved one lose his life. Some operators saw workplace casualties as acceptable and inevitable; a situation which I found then and still consider to be abhorrent.”

At Tolerro workplace safety is a way of life and a standard we hold in high regard. Importantly, we extend the same consideration in the way we work with our clients. Best practice in Asset Management and Safety Management go hand in hand and this ultimately means that a long-lasting high performing asset, is also a safe one.  Conversely, once an asset’s safety is compromised, it is no longer a viable asset.

Over recent years our focus has been on broadening our clients’ understanding of effective Safety Management from not just being about the safe operation of assets but also the safe interaction and management of the elements surrounding an asset including the environment, the weather as well as the general public and the human workforce. This last point isn’t merely theoretical, the biggest cause of workplace deaths in Australia continues to be road accidents.

For many years safety was mostly related to the physical aspect of us and our place of occupation.  In more recent times, the wellbeing of our mental and emotional state has become just as important.  Just like the physical aspect, emotional and mental safety does not discriminate – it affects everyone who finds themselves in that unpleasant and unfortunate situation.  As managers, business owners, co-workers and friends, it is our responsibility to notice, to report, to help those who may fall into an unsafe situation.  We all walk a thin line sometimes, and we can all sympathise and empathise.  As much as we look out for the physical safety of us and others, we must also give equal attention to the emotional and mental safety of our workers and those we serve.

While Safety Management may be a little repetitious, it is a very serious business, and we can all contribute to making improvements and to saving lives.

 

ENDS