SmokeD, developer of an automatic wildfire detection system,announced the relocation of its headquarters to Austin, Texas, paired with the launch of the Austin Wildfire Detection Project – a coalition comprised of patrons that share a common vision of protecting Austin and its surrounding area by detecting fires before they become too large to be effectively controlled.
According to the Texas A&M Forest Service, 224 out of the 254 counties in Texas experienced wildfires in 2022. With approximately 12,400 wildfires that burned across Texas, 2022 was recorded as the worst wildfire year since the 55-day burn of the Bastrop Complex Fire of 2011, which burned over 32,000 acres and killed two people. As of August 1, 2023, the Texas A&M Forest Service has confirmed that over 8,500 acres of land in Texas has been destroyed by wildfires.
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“Our goal is to detect fires quickly so that we can mitigate the damage and devastation they cause. We are building a network of points from which monitoring will be carried out around the clock using SmokeD fire detectors,” said Artur Matuszczak, founder and CEO, SmokeD System Inc. “The aim of the project is to quickly alert the fire departments and residents of endangered areas about an emerging fire in the area. By doing this, we can help protect people, buildings and nature.”
The SmokeD detectors provide early fire detection and immediate notification to users through a free, integrated mobile application called SmokeD Alerts. The early fire detection system uses artificial intelligence (AI) and sensitive optical sensors to provide improved fire and smoke detection accuracy with the capability to precisely pinpoint the fire location within a 10-mile radius.
Devices with built-in camera modules and microcomputers mounted on high masts continuously record images and analyze photos in search of the first signs of smoke or flames. When detected, the system automatically sends an alert with the fire’s exact location to the web or mobile app users. The fire is detected within approximately 10 minutes, increasing the probability of extinguishing it before it gets out of control. SmokeD currently monitors over three million hectares of land globally with intelligent cameras at 250 sites. With 24/7 monitoring, SmokeD devices have detected 3,974 wildfires to date in 2023.
SmokeD wildfire AI detection cameras are used by power utilities, forestry services, paper industries and private citizens throughout Indonesia, Europe and the United States. In Austin since 2021, the devices have endured harsh winter elements of snow and ice and the searing heat of Austin summers to provide continuous protection of life and property.
SmokeD is in the process of installing devices on the Austin area antenna systems of American Tower, a global provider of wireless communications infrastructure and next-generation wireless technologies. Once installed, the system will have 41 towers spanning the area from Marble Falls to Bastrop – an area that is inhabited by more than 1.5 million people.
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“From my participation in the initial pilot project for SmokeD, I can attest to the reliability of the system and its success in detecting early onset of fires,” said Ron Herzfeld, PRL Products & Services. “The AI-integrated sensors have reduced false positives and work to detect, decide and dispatch help before fires get out of control. While Austin has been grappling with unprecedented high temperatures and drought conditions, SmokeD provides a dependable solution to help us protect property and people.”
SmokeD was initially founded in Warsaw, Poland, three years ago. Upon deciding to develop further the SmokeD systems in the United States, Austin, Texas, was selected as the company’s new headquarters, effective September 2023.
“Since Texas is a hotbed for wildfires, public awareness of wildfire prevention is high. Austin presents a great opportunity for us to establish partnerships with other businesses looking to give back to their community through a shared mission to protect property and people in the greater Austin area,” said Matuszczak. “Austin also presents a hotbed for technical expertise and talent. We hope to tap into that talent as we grow our business.”
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