Mid West Wales Fire & Rescue

Providing X-Ray vision for Fire Command & Control

Mission-critical augmented reality

Brandwidth won a GovTech Catalyst Challenge sponsored by GDS and the Cabinet Office in partnership with Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service to help save the lives of firefighters by tracking them in real time during noxious conditions. An ongoing project, we’re on the path to developing a product to improve situational awareness for emergency services globally.

Once a team of firefighters enters a building, their commanders have only a limited ability to establish their current location, activity and safety. The objective of the project is to give command teams a view through building structures, fire and smoke to understand where crew are, the route they took, and which spaces have been searched.

Solving this challenge requires a meticulous combination of technical and user research and development, software and hardware engineering and elegant UX design to ensure that we implicitly understand the severe conditions in which fire services operate. Only then can we build a failsafe product that’s operational within 90 seconds of an emergency – something that’s never been achieved before.

Our approach deploys a custom developed battery powered hardware sensor device worn by each firefighter. Able to track movement and detect walls, doorways and other obstructions, combined with low-power, long-range, infrastructure free radio communications, into a package designed to mitigate extreme heat, high humidity and other adverse environments.

Secure and robust communications send data in real-time to a data-hub and display platform in order to provide fire commanders with the ability to react quickly when making life-critical decisions.

Our software visualiser creates a real time building schematic which displays the firefighters’ location and movement is plotted. Building features and abnormal motion information are highlighted, painting a picture of the live environment that firefighters are moving around in – without the need for access to pre-existing floorplans.

All data and visual information are cached to replay scenarios to assist with post-event analysis using 3D helicopter and isometric views so fire crews will have training blueprints based on pinpoint accuracy to help plan for future emergencies.

AR doesn’t just see through buildings, it helps to educate, entertain and explain – come and meet our R&D team for a demo.