Smart City Environmental Monitoring with Cloud-hosted IP Video

CoastalCOMS’s first cameras were broadcasting live on the Internet in 1999. Chris Lane, co-founder of CoastalCOMS, said the company was doing IP streaming before IP cameras existed.

“We have long believed that IP was the way of the future,” Lane said. “So it was logical that we would gravitate to the software platform leading the IP video revolution, which is Milestone.”

It was Milestone’s truly open platform that drew EnviroCOMS in.

Milestone has been a superb addition to our solutions. It supports so many different cameras, and we can really dig into the software to tailor it to our specifications. It allows for an incredible level of granularity. – Chris Lane, co-founder of CoastalCOMS

EnviroCOMS has been using Amazon cloud-hosted infrastructure since 2007, which allows Lane and Sim to run cameras on beaches across California, Hawaii and Australia, and quickly push video to a command center without needing individuals on each beach manning the equipment.

“Choosing the right cloud infrastructure was an important piece of this puzzle,” Sim said. “And we love how well Amazon and Milestone work together. We’ve never had any issues when it comes to storage.”

EnviroCOMS Develops a New Smart City Application

EnviroCOMS-MilestoneClients-Beaches_GaragesEnviroCOMS has now built a self-monitoring data asset management system robust enough to handle all types of environmental monitoring.

They were recently tasked with creating a smart water application for the Australian city of Townsville on the northeast coast. This is part of the Queensland government funded Sensor-Q project, which aims to unite James Cook University and CoastalCOMS in an effort to initiate practical applied science and research projects in Queensland. The initiative is supported by a grant from the Queensland Government Accelerate Program.

As part of the Sensor-Q project, the city council in Townsville is also leveraging Milestone to create a smarter, more sustainable city. Working in concert with EnviroCOMS, Townsville is using Milestone to develop a low-cost system to help monitor urban water usage and measure water quality from creeks and streams.

“We’re looking at a really powerful solution here,” said Chris Lane, co-founder of CoastalCOMS. “Our custom environmental data management system leverages Milestone for a solution that measures water level on spillways and records video of certain positions of a dam. It stores video archives and processes environmental data and advanced environmental analytics. It’s more than just security – it’s a business intelligence application.”

Other EnviroCOMS Projects

EnviroCOMS is currently partnering with dozens of environmental projects around the globe, including one on the Gold Coast Seaway. Still images are taken from three set positions in the seaway every 30 minutes from the EnviroCOMS camera, processed in the Milestone platform and exported to researchers. The idea for this project began in August 2015 when a dirty water plume was discovered in the Seaway. In December, James Cook University deployed a water quality buoy with sensor equipment to take measurements of temperature and turbidity in the area.

EnviroCOMS is also partnering with the All Saints Anglican School on the Gold Coast in Queensland to monitor its wetlands. A camera and weather station have been installed to collect images and live data feeds of wind speed, wind direction and rainfall. This data assists school students with projects on environmental monitoring. Measurements of temperature and turbidity are recorded in the wetlands and relayed back through Milestone.

The image data includes daily one-minute video clips at 7 a.m. from set camera positions, which are collected and stored in the Milestone platform. These videos are used to count the number of birds in the wetland area. Daily snapshots at 8 a.m. are also taken from these positions, which can be used to create a time-lapse video of changes to the wetland before and after a flooding event.

Milestone has become a critical tool for us. We’re leveraging its video capabilities to monitor major environmental changes, which will help us make more informed decisions about how we take care of our precious natural resources moving forward. – Chris Lane, co-founder of CoastalCOMS

Looking to the Future

EnviroCOMS-Port DouglasLane said that the next step is to build a data management toolset that allows customers like Townsville City Council to manage their own projects. The EnviroCOMS solution includes high quality visualization and reporting tools, and it is currently working on leveraging Milestone to create a data management asset system that can handle video and images in addition to large data streams. EnviroCOMS originally designed an internal solution, but is now working to create a system that each of their customers can tailor to their specifications.

“We want to put the power of our solution in the hands of the people who are using it,” Nigel Sim said. “That means pulling in third-party data streams like weather providers and tide gauges. Milestone gives us the ability to see video and images in real time. When we combine that with powerful data and analytics processing, we get truly unique and innovative solutions.”

Learn more about Milestone Solutions Partner CoastalCOMS.

Courtney Pedersenby Courtney Dillon Pedersen, PR & Communications Manager, Milestone Systems