Re-thinking sustainability: simple and fast Edge AI deployment to turn existing cameras into intelligent weather sensors

 

The effects of climate change on the environment and communities are very visible nowadays and represent one of the biggest challenges faced by governments all around the world. Heavy rain and floods, extreme snow events and cold weather as well as wildfires are seen to be more and more recurrent, year after year.

From NextGenerationEU to the US Infrastructure Deal, the post-pandemic economy will be driven by unprecedented investments in infrastructure renovation, digital transformation and green transition, with an underlying focus on climate change resilience.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) will play a pivotal role here, helping to manage critical situations – like alerting for ice or snow on roads and rail tracks to prevent accidents, detecting smoke before wildfires occur or optimizing the efficiency of urban water systems during severe rain events.

This is why the recent partnership between Eurotech and WaterView can be a key point in confronting climate change effects through Edge AI solutions. Leveraging Eurotech’s integrated hardware and software, WaterView can deploy its Artificial Intelligence (AI) video analytics on the Edge in a simple, manageable and secure way, providing a foundation to monitor, evaluate and prevent the effects of extreme weather events and natural disasters in real time.

In this way cameras already installed on road infrastructures, telecom towers, trains and vehicles can be turned into intelligent weather AI sensors, enabling sustainable and scalable solutions across a variety of use cases.

 

Easy integration of AI on the Edge

 

The strength of Eurotech and WaterView’s combined solution lies in the ease of integration, regardless of the deployment type. Eurotech allows a simple and “plug&play” deployment on both its own and third-party hardware, allowing the AI software to be up and running in minutes and securely managed remotely.

Eurotech’s Edge Gateways host WaterView’s AI on Docker containers granting native integration with the software platform ESF (Everyware Software Framework), in order to enable real-time computing and analytics on the Edge. ESF – which can also run on Docker containers – provides remote device access and management through the integration with Everyware Cloud (EC), Eurotech’s Edge Management Platform. Through EC, WaterView is able to securely configure assets deployed on the Edge and perform over-the-air (OTA) updates of their software. This reduces system integration issues, allowing scalable and easily replicable solutions across different scenarios and verticals.

Furthermore, ESF allows to aggregate data coming from different sources and field protocols – like video images from cameras, metrics and alarms from other specific sensors and location information from GPS – and enable sensor fusion applications. Customers are able to develop complex systems through which they can gather real-time insights – for example related to flood or wildfires – and immediately send them to the cloud for alerting and analytics.

 

Edge-side vs. Server-side: an easy to integrate, secure and manageable solution for both

 

Eurotech and WaterView identified three main scenarios for which their combined solution is a perfect fit:

  • The retrofit of existing cameras with Eurotech’s Edge Gateways running WaterView AI and ESF enabling a secure and remotely manageable solution
  • The deployment of AI software and ESF on server appliances to manage higher number of data streams on the same piece of hardware
  • The deployment of AI software, ESF and EC on cloud or data center infrastructures

The flexibility provided by the solution allows both Edge-side and Server-side types of applications, adding a secure and manageable foundation for all the use cases.

 

Flexible and manageable Edge-side solutions

 

The first two scenarios above represent an Edge-side kind of solution, that typically requires rugged hardware to perform the computation in moving space-constrained environments, like onboard vehicles and trains , as well as in cabinets and substations along highways or railroads.

Eurotech’s Edge Gateways like the ReliaGATE 10-14 are certified with the most prominent cybersecurity certifications, including the PSA Certified Level 1 and the IEC 62443-4-2 and IEC 62443-4-1. By adopting Eurotech’s integrated hardware and software, WaterView can rely on a safe infrastructure to deploy its AI software and perform remote device management and OTA updates in a secure manner.

Moreover, Eurotech offers a portfolio of HPEC systems (High-performance Edge Computing – including Edge servers and Edge AI systems) that provide server-class CPUs that can be combined with GPU acceleration for real-time computation of high frame-rate videos, usually required onboard vehicles or trains.

These systems are fully rugged and enable virtualized, hyper-converged server environments where multiple applications can run in parallel on the same piece of hardware, allowing an easy deployment of WaterView’s AI software even in the harshest environments. Again, ESF – deployed on Docker – can be integrated with Everyware Cloud for remote management.

Server-side solutions: plug&play AI deployment on premise or Cloud

 

By using EC, ESF and WaterView’s AI on Docker, customers can deploy the integrated solution on Cloud or data center infrastructure. Again, integration efforts are close to zero thanks to the ease of use of the solution, and everything can be remotely managed thanks to Everyware Cloud.

Enabling cross-vertical applications

 

The flexibility of the solution makes it deployable in many use cases and scenarios and adaptable to the customer’s needs, thus reducing integration and management efforts.

Opportunities have been identified in the markets of:

  • smart cities and infrastructures by leveraging urban CCTV networks and cameras on highways and railways;
  • trains and truck fleets, where cameras are already installed for other applications
  • telecom tower sites, where cameras can be used to monitor weather events and other environmental-related information.

 

A sustainable solution

 

Another key point of this solution is sustainability: the ability to incorporate or repurpose existing equipment into a new or additional solution. The integrated solution transforms existing surveillance cameras into remotely managed intelligent sensors without having to change the existing infrastructure in order to detect early signs of extreme weather events and help increase communities resilience to natural disasters.

This therefore represents an effective way to confront climate change and its effects.. Wildfires can be prevented by detecting smoke at early stages, accidents can be avoided by analyzing the level of rain, snow and ice on roads and rail tracks, and risks related to flood events can be reduced by monitoring water level in critical sites.

 

Conclusion

 

We as Eurotech are Edge AI enablers, providing integrated solutions to reduce costs, simplify and accelerate the development and deployment of AI applications at the Edge. WaterView shares the same strong vision towards a more sustainable future enabled by AI technologies, thus providing common ground for a powerful partnership.

With these solutions in place, Eurotech enables an easy-to-access Edge ecosystem of applications that are all deployable and manageable on our integrated hardware and software platforms as well as on third-party hardware infrastructures. By growing the number of intelligent devices at the Edge, we enable the development of these applications at scale, allowing our partners and system integrators to deploy their AI solutions with minimum efforts, or allowing our customers to do it by themselves.

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