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Technology has the power to transform the way in which we look after the world around us. Below, we discuss five ways in which the latest video technology is being used for faster, more efficient, and more effective environmental monitoring.
As economic development and growth continues across the world, pressure on the natural world is increasing rapidly. In this context, the responsibility to minimize our impact on the planet is arguably greater than it’s ever been. But importantly, there is no panacea; solving the problems requires creative thinking, innovation, and collaboration between a variety of people and organizations.
The environmental power of intelligent video
One innovative tool that is already proving itself invaluable in the field of environmental protection is video technology.
The latest HD video cameras feature artificial intelligence technologies that are incredibly powerful for environmental monitoring. By linking these cameras to a variety of Internet of Things (IoT) devices – sensors, video equipment, unmanned aerial vehicles, and more besides – those working on environmental projects can gather and analyze all manner of data about air, water, soil, and local ecology in real time.
This information can be used in a whole host of inventive ways. Below, we explore some current applications of this technology in more detail.
1. Preventing Air Pollution
As urbanization increases, dealing with air pollution is becoming more and more challenging. And how best to reduce pollutants and improve air quality is the subject of intense debate.
In urban areas, video technology is already being used to monitor air quality on construction sites, where swirling dust is constant, and heavy plant emits significant exhaust fumes. Drones are also being used for environmental monitoring on a large, city-wide scale. In industrial zones, cameras can help management teams to monitor factory gas emissions in real time. And in the countryside, video technology is used to detect a variety of sources of air pollution in farmland, such as burning straw.
2. Tackling Water Pollution
More than 99 percent of Earth's water is unusable by humans and many other living things - only about 0.3 percent of our fresh water is found in the surface water of lakes, rivers and swamps. With this in mind, the protection of global water resources is vital.
Here, video technology can help to eliminate hazardous water pollutants in order to safeguard the health of local residents and wildlife. Using intelligent video analysis tools, users can remotely monitor water sources for a variety of potential issues – from floating objects and changes in water color, to illegal occupation of riverways, illegal construction, and illegal dumping of waste. Today’s video technology is also robust and compact enough to be installed at a variety of locations, from the water source, to river cross-sections, to river mouths.
What’s more, to overcome any potential restrictions of working in more challenging waterside environments, video technology can be utilized in combination with other supporting technologies. For example, when monitoring the draining of sewage at a river mouth, users can install thermal imaging cameras into drones and unmanned vessels. This ensures the clearest view day and night, without the need to be present at the site.
3. Preventing Wild Fires
Wild fires and forest fires can be devastating to people, animals and the environment. But today’s video surveillance technologies can allow a fire to be detected early, before it has fully broken out.
The most advanced thermal and optical cameras will feature fire detection algorithms, employing deep learning and artificial intelligence to provide highly accurate alarms at the earliest stage of a fire. Armed with this technology, users can build a smart early warning and control system, for 24/7 uninterrupted forest monitoring and fire prevention.
4. Intelligent Ecological Protection
Traditional environmental inspection and monitoring processes can involve a lot of traveling on foot and by car, which can be time-consuming, labor-intensive, and even damaging to particularly sensitive locations. Through video, however, authorities can manage sites remotely, monitoring for ecological problems without setting foot in vulnerable areas.
For example, aerial surveillance solutions can be used to quickly detect illegal construction in protected places. Combined with thermal imaging equipment, users can also accurately identify poaching or over-grazing around ecologically fragile or sensitive areas. What’s more, state-of-the-art video cameras with built-in speakers can be used to warn off intruders should they step into sensitive locations.
5. “Zero Waste Cities”
More and more urban residents are paying attention to the issues of garbage and waste treatment in China. As a result, we are seeing an emerging trend for "zero waste cities”, with a focus on reduction, recovery, utilization and disposal of hazardous solid waste.
Here, video can be used with a variety of supporting technologies to enable transparent, intelligent solid waste management – from waste production, to waste transportation and waste disposal.
At the point of production, radio-frequency identification (RFID) equipment can be used to accurately sort, track and trace waste. When waste is transported, vehicles can be equipped with mobile surveillance equipment, which transmits video images to a central management system in real time via a high-speed data network. What’s more, satellite navigation systems can intelligently raise an alarm if there is any deviation from the correct driving route.
When it comes to waste disposal, the latest intelligent video technology can be used to enhance the safety of the disposal process; for example, incinerators can be video monitored to prevent the outbreak of fire.
What’s more, we strive to be at the forefront of the industry. In June 2019, the main session for 2019 World Environment Day was held in Hangzhou, China. The event aimed to raise awareness about air pollution and discuss efforts to tackle it. To get a clearer picture of how tech companies can make a difference in environmental protection, more than 50 international environmental experts from this event visited Hikvision. Together, we discussed current best practices and future developments in the field of environmental protection technology.
Following on from that discussion, Hikvision will continue to explore the potential of video technology to empower environmental protection, monitoring, and early warning. It is our belief that by creating innovative solutions that combine intelligent cameras, drones and sensors, we can transform ecological monitoring, empower the early warning of critical events, and help to maintain essential biodiversity in increasingly innovative ways.
In the years to come, technology is set to become a game-changing element of environmental protection activities all over the world. At Hikvision, we are proud that our technology is playing a key role in this vital process.