The Industrial Development Bureau, Ministry of Economic Affairs directs the project, “Smart City Taiwan,” as part of Taiwanese government’s goal to promote industrial upgrading and transformation and digital technologies. The central and local governments and industries work together to introduce smart, innovative applications covering “health”, “governance/safety”, “traffic”, “agriculture”, “education”, and “tourism/retail” to 22 cities and counties across Taiwan. So far, the project has yield remarkable results. About 300 companies have released more than 220 smart services accessible to 8.54 million people. These smart services are designed to address local issues and are also being exported to foreign countries.
Taking smart fire control/disaster reduction services in the field of governance for example, there is a shortage of firefighters, which disproportions the population served in cities/counties across Taiwan. According to the National Fire Agency statistics in 2020, there was a 15% shortage of manpower at fire departments in some counties and cities, and the proportion of firefighters to the population served reached 1:1830. In Taiwan, the work scope of firefighters ranges extensively, from firefighting, disaster relief and rescue, and inspection and maintenance of firefighting equipment to catching bee swarms and snakes; among them, firefighting is the most likely cause of death and injury. From 2016 to 2020, a total of 405 firefighters were injured on duty and 16 died on duty. Almost all of these deaths and injuries were caused by firefighting.
About 90% of fires in Taiwan occur in buildings. Firefighters have different psychological and training qualities such as stress resistance and mastery of equipment in the fire scene. Without sufficient on-site information and construction drawings, fire commanders are unable to give clear instructions to the disaster relief personnel; after entering the fire scene, firefighters are prone to fall, be hit by objects or trigger flashovers and explosions as they have difficulties locating dangerous objects. Changes in compartments or blocked exits ensue the build-after-occupancy-permit, or firefighters lose directions due to thick smoke. These external factors also pose a high threat to the lives and safety of the disaster relief personnel.
In view of this, eZoom Information, Inc. worked with Yilan County Government to design the “Smart 3D Realty Fire Control System” featuring 3D-BIM (Building Information Modeling), 3D map and panoramas shooting, and LiDAR. Based on the internal/external environments filmed and points of interest tagging, commanders can track the location and status of fire hoses and roads around the fire scene and dangerous objects inside the building; in addition, commanders can deploy in advance through the system on the way to the fire scene and fine-tune the deployment as needed after arriving at the scene.
After applying the system in disaster relief, the Yilan County Fire Bureau shortened the time for deployment by 10% on average; most importantly, commanders could fully control the physiological state of firefighters, the amount of gas cylinders, and the location of a firefighter whose vertical and horizontal errors are within 5 meters. This means that once firefighters are trapped, rescue can be provided immediately or instructions can be given to evacuate them quickly from the fire scene.
Built on this successful cooperation with Yilan County Government, eZoom Information, Inc. has been improving solutions to stringent firefighting environments and working with other local governments to export the system. As of today, the Fire Department, New Taipei City Government has adopted the system, and European positioning system manufacturers and Filipino firefighting equipment manufacturers have also expressed their willingness to purchase the system. To augment the applications of the system, the eZoom Information, Inc. also applies panoramas shooting inroute directions in large places such as hospitals and personnel positioning service in the management of key equipment, assets and dangerous objects in companies and hospitals.
Yu-Chi Yang from ISTI,
Smart City Taiwan Office of Industrial Development Bureau,