Singapore is arming its firefighters with smart glasses capable of inspecting and identifying defects in their equipment, so the frontliners can be better prepared to respond to emergencies.
The initiative involves several public sector agencies — Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX), and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) — as well as local telco StarHub and tech vendor IBM.
The pilot will roll out at SCDF’s smart fire station located in Punggol, on the latest generation of fire emergency vehicles, and test AI-powered visual inspection and AR-enabled remote assistance.
These will involve the use of voice-activated commands and dynamic content displayed on 5G-connected smart glasses to enable firefighters to inspect their equipment and monitor inventory. Data collected from the inspections then will be sent to a centralized dashboard to identify defects and provide status updates of equipment in real-time, so SCDF can be better prepared to respond to emergencies.
With 5G enabling ultra-low latency and high-bandwidth connectivity, the agency also will be able to run AR-enabled remote assistance. This will enable emergency frontliners on the ground to have live access to fire investigation specialists through video interactions and receive help in scene processing and analysis.
IBM’s AI-powered computer vision application, Maximo Visual Inspection, automates the inspection process and generates aggregated maintenance data. This is pushed to a central dashboard to equip firefighters with data insights they then can use to make operational decisions.
The project subsequently will be integrated with backend services and ongoing field testing, with IMDA and IBM helping SCDF to fold data governance and cybersecurity processes into the operations.
“SCDF has been piloting smart technologies to reshape the way frontliners are trained and operations are executed,” said Ling Young Ern, SCDF’s deputy commissioner for future technology and public safety. “The 5G-enabled fire engine makes secure, real-time transmission of high-quality videos and images achievable.”
Noting that Singapore is among the first global markets to have nationwide standalone 5G network coverage, IMDA’s assistant chief executive Ong Chen Hui said the government agency has been focused on efforts to commercialize 5G projects. These have included rollouts in verticals such as maritime.
Another 5G pilot involving the use of smart glasses was launched in August 2022 at Singapore’s Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M), where AR/VR technologies were tapped to facilitate site inspection and remote monitoring.