Tuesday, September 13, 2011
According to the United Nations World Economic and Social Survey 2011, over 500,000 hectares (1.2 million acres) of Russian forests were lost to wildfires last summer. The BBC reported on the thick smog that blanketed Moscow for almost two months leaving CO2 levels in the air more than three times higher than normal. Wildfires are common in Russia – as they are in any area with large amounts of forests – and serve as a natural part of the ecosystem regeneration. Unfortunately, however, widespread wildfires have been a recurring theme for our summers the past years.
MTS is bringing technology to fight these fires in an innovative way – by launching a federal early warning system called “Forest Fire Watching”. We have joined forces with LLC Systems of Distant Control who has developed the video-monitoring software. MTS will couple its network with advanced technologies (IP-video monitoring, mobile applications, computer vision) to enable one expert from “command central” to monitor wide areas of forest and pinpoint fire locations. This will enable fire fighters to react faster as well as significantly cut costs. Monitoring points are already operational in some of the Russian regions.
It’s essential that all eyes and ears are on this issue; as such, we’re linking up with young Russian entrepreneurs to make fire prevention system more efficient. The Forest Fire Watching project was one of the competition winners for youth innovation in telecom at Telecom Idea 2011, supported by the Russian Ministry for Communications and University Higher School of Economics.