EnviroCOMS Innovates with Amazon Cloud-Hosted Environmental Monitoring

EnviroCOMS has spent many years leveraging the Milestone video management software (VMS) to create a new environmental digital asset management system that combines video, data and analytics, to monitor wave heights, measure shoreline erosion, calculate beach population density, improve beach safety and analyse risk prevention tactics. Now EnviroCOMS is being used to manage assets in real time.

CoastalCOMS, the parent company of EnviroCOMS, was founded in Melbourne in 1998 as a group that delivered specialized video content analytics and environmental monitoring via public and private cloud architectures. The technology was cutting edge and garnered plenty of attention. In the mid-2000s, Australia’s Queensland government contracted them to deliver a system to better monitor local environmental assets as part of its Smart State Initiative.

EnviroCOMS-MilestoneClients-Beaches_GaragesFor the Queensland project, CoastalCOMS made the spinoff group called EnviroCOMS to develop environmental engineering applications. With financial backing from the government, EnviroCOMS created advanced digital weather models, smart data analytics and reporting, and a system for storing and managing manual and real-time environmental data. Early in its existence, EnviroCOMS archived and stored video on its own video management software (VMS) platform.

In 2007, Nigel Sim joined the EnviroCOMS team as senior application developer. He faced a 2-pronged challenge: develop a more advanced environmental digital asset management system that could communicate with a VMS; and select a cloud-hosted infrastructure where the VMS and data could be hosted. EnviroCOMS looked for a new VMS to fuse seamlessly with its data systems. What was needed was a large-scale solution that could handle global monitoring of video and images, while also processing environmental data and analytics.

Early IP adoption meant the company was at the forefront of the digital revolution which started to gather momentum in the late 1990s. Chris Lane, co-founder of CoastalCOMS, says the company was doing IP streaming before IP cameras existed – CoastalCOMS’ first cameras were broadcasting live on the Internet in 1999.

We have long believed that IP was the way of the future. So it was logical that when we started looking for a VMS partner, we would gravitate to a software platform leading the IP video revolution, which in our opinion, was Milestone. – Chris Lane, co-founder, CoastalCOMS

Lane and his team have had Milestone XProtect software incorporated into the EnviroCOMS solution since 2009. The EnviroCOMS system primarily monitors wave heights, measures shoreline erosion, calculates beach population density, improves beach safety and analyses risk prevention tactics. This is done internationally in partnership with organisations as varied as CoastalWATCH, surf life saving groups, port authorities, government departments, specialized consultancy groups, coastguards and city councils.

We used the Milestone rules engine to drive cameras based on time profiles. After the event, we would extract recordings during those profiles and our video extraction and processing (VEAP) system would dig through the workflow and process the results. – Nigel Sim, Sr. Application Developer, EnviroCOMS

EnviroCOMS-SonyPTZatLennoxHead_AUSAs a digital pioneer with global interests, it was natural that the team would also be very early adopters of cloud. EnviroCOMS has been using Amazon cloud-hosted infrastructure since 2007 and this allows Lane and Sim to run cameras on beaches across California, Hawaii and Australia, and quickly push video to a command centre 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.”

See the article on the SEN magazine website.

Read the full Milestone story on EnviroCOMS.