Fujitsu ‘Digital Owl’ project trials drones and video analytics to identify threatened plant species

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Click to watch the video of Fujitsu’s Digital Owl initiative.

When our Sustainability consultants engage with a customer one of the questions they ask is ‘where does your main source of emissions come from?’ Surprisigly when working with a NSW Government Department, the answer was ‘Helicopter Jet Fuel’. This discussion led to a ‘co-creation’ project that has resulted in an innovative approach to identifying threatened species of plants in NSW bushland.

Fujitsu recently completed a successful trial to identify threatened plant species in New South Wales. Working with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) ‘Saving our Species’ program, the ‘Digital Owl’ project uses Fujitsu’s high-performance computing, video analytics and drone technology to capture and analyse video information over a broad geographic area.

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The information can then be used to help locate endangered species for management, and invasive plant species for eradication purposes. The project was successfully trialed recently in remote bushland at Mount Dangar, NSW. The trial resulted in successful identification of the endangered plant species, Acacia dangarensis and Senecio linearifolius var. dangarensis, both of which are feared to be facing extinction, but were found growing in the wild.

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Senecio linearifolius var dangarensis – one of the threatened plant species that was successfully identified during the trial. (Photo credit: Lucas Grenadier)

In NSW alone there are approximately 1,000 plant and animal species under threat of extinction. Saving these species is crucial to the ongoing health of the various ecosystems in NSW. However, monitoring such a broad area can be prohibitively expensive, especially when considering the cost of chartering and fueling helicopters.

Drone technology with detailed layers of analytics behind them enables the collection of more accurate information including maps of otherwise inaccessible areas.

This project is aligned with Fujitsu’s vision of using technology to help provide sustainable outcomes for our customers and society.

Through an internally funded Co-creation project, Fujitsu identified the opportunity to apply advanced drone technology, combined with video analytics and spatial mapping technologies, to reduce the cost of monitoring and make the identification process more efficient.

This solution has the potential to improve the efficiency of identifying and locating particular plant species, which often requires exploring vast forest areas by helicopter. Use of the drone provides a significant saving in the cost of helicopter charter and fuel as well as a reduction in emissions.

Additionally, artificial intelligence (AI) technology is currently being trained to help identify species through video analysis. Fujitsu will continue to refine the technology by surveying the area at different altitudes to capture a richer base of data. Stage two of the project will employ SpatiOWL, Fujitsu’s big data enabled geospatial computing platform, to further enhance species geolocation. Fujitsu is exploring the application of this technology for a wide range of related purposes in Australia and New Zealand.

The technology can potentially be applied to identifying and locating outbreaks of noxious weeds in conservation areas and also identification of endangered birds and animals.

Fujitsu has commissioned a video overview of the initiative at the following link: Digital Owl video

The first Fujitsu World Tour in Sydney exceeds expectations!

 

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As the beat from the Taiko drummers filled the auditorium there was a great sense of pride among Fujitsu staff that Fujitsu World Tour in Sydney was finally under way. After months of preparation the event opened its doors to over 400 delegates including customers, partners, media, analysts and the ICT community.

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After an inspiring welcome by Mike Foster, the Hon. Dominic Perrotet – NSW Minister for Finance and Services –  delivered an opening address about Government in the Digital Age.

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Mr Perrottet was followed by Fujitsu’s international thought leader, Chiseki Sagawa who painted the picture of the Human Centric Intelligent Society and Fujitsu’s Technology and Services Vision.

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After Segawa-san’s insightful presentation, Albert Olley Executive Director, Business Services, Department of Family and Community Services delivered an address about the challenges faced by the Department and how ICT is addressing these challenges.

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At morning tea, the delegates were able to explore our Technology Expo, which included a great cross-section of technology from Fujitsu and our partners. Of particular interest was the ‘Fujitsu Innovations’ stand, which showcased the unique Haptic Sensory Tablet, the Next Generation Cane, and SpatiOWL modelling.  Also on display at the expo were our Cloud and Mobility solutions, Sustainability solutions, the latest version of the TELentice digital media platform and a comprehensive display of the latest in Fujitsu products including laptops, desktops, servers and storage.

It was great to see the level of participation from conference delegates continue well into the afternoon through the various breakout sessions concluding with a well-attended auditorium at the final keynote delivered by Fujitsu’s futurist, David Gentle.

After a feature packed day delegates had a final opportunity to explore the Expo for the last time and to network with Fujitsu staff and exhibitors over drinks. After the final prize awards from the various competitions held during the day the conference closed on Friday evening with smiles all round.

Celebrating 40 years of Fujitsu in Australia and New Zealand

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To celebrate its 40th Anniversary in Australia, Fujitsu has launched an eBook documenting its history over the last 40 years.  Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand – The First 40 Years, was written by well-known journalist and analyst Graeme Philipson. The book covers the highlights of Fujitsu’s first 40 years in Australia. The book tells the story of how the company has grown to become part of the Australian and New Zealand ICT landscape.
 
Today Fujitsu officially announced the launch of the eBook at the Establishment Hotel in Sydney. The launch was attended by around 40 people including journalists, analysts, Fujitsu executives, as well as a number of long-standing employees. One of the highlights of the launch event was the attendance of 5 of the 6 past and present CEOs and Managing Directors of Fujitsu Australia.
 
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In the picture above are Mike Rydon (Managing Director 1973-1985), George Ranucci (Managing Director 1985-1989), Rod Vawdrey (CEO 2003-2011 and current President of International Business), Neville Roach (Managing Director 1989-2000) and current CEO Mike Foster.
 
The launch event included an address by Keith Besgrove (on behalf of former Senator Stephen Conroy who wrote the foreword to the book), an overview of the book by Graeme Philipson, a business update by Mike Foster and an insight into Fujitsu’s global business by Rod Vawdrey. 
 
The eBook can be found at:
 

Fujitsu Cloud keeps dogs fit and healthy!

Wandant Dog PedometerEvery week we are seeing interesting and innovative new ways that cloud computing is helping us in our day-to-day lives. This week was no exception, with Fujitsu announcing the release of the ‘Wandant‘ dog pedometer, which was developed by Fujitsu Laboratories.

The Wandant uses a combination of motion-tracking technology(and an associated cloud service) that supports health management for dogs—the first of its kind in the pet care industry. It uses the same sensing technologies developed for use in mobile phones incorporated into a tag worn on the dog’s collar, which automatically measures and records the number of steps taken, shivering motions, and temperature changes. This data is collected in the cloud and presented as a graphic on a website that reports trends in the dog’s activities that are easy to understand at a glance, facilitating management of the dog’s health and preventing obesity.

 As high-speed broadband becomes ubiquitous thanks to networks such as Australia’s National Broadband Network we are sure to see more cloud enabled innovation such as in this example.