This summer British Columbia faced a devastating series of wildfires that left a profound mark on both the province's landscape and its residents. These fires, fuelled by a combination of record-breaking heatwaves and prolonged drought conditions, unleashed an unprecedented level of destruction.
Wildfire detection technology plays a pivotal role in B.C. where the threat of wildfires looms large due to its vast forests and dry summer seasons. The province has witnessed a surge in the frequency and intensity of wildfires in recent years, posing a significant risk to both human communities and the environment. These technologies, including satellite-based systems, drones, and ground-based sensors, enable authorities to monitor and detect wildfires in their early stages. This early detection is crucial in initiating a swift and effective response, helping to prevent wildfires from growing into uncontrollable infernos that can devastate vast stretches of forest, threaten homes, and even cost lives.
Furthermore, wildfire detection technology in British Columbia not only aids in mitigating the immediate threats posed by fires but also contributes to long-term ecological preservation. Rapid detection allows firefighting teams to respond promptly, minimizing the ecological damage and the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which contributes to climate change. By safeguarding these precious ecosystems and reducing the risk to communities, wildfire detection technology plays a pivotal role in ensuring the sustainability and resilience of British Columbia's natural environment and its people in the face of an increasingly volatile fire season influenced by climate change.
Vancouver-based SenseNet is at the forefront of environmental protection technology. They’re dedicated to mitigating the threats posed by wildfires. Harnessing the power of advanced sensors and AI-driven analysis, SenseNet provides early detection and real-time alerts, reducing potential devastation to communities and ecosystems. Earlier this year, SenseNet was awarded funding through Innovate BC’s BC Fast Pilot program to install their IoT system as a wildfire monitoring and protection belt around the City of Vernon. We sat down with Hamed Noori, SenseNet CEO to see how things are going.
What do you do and why do you do it?
Hamed: SenseNet is the most comprehensive wildfire detection and management platform. We merge data from diverse sources, including sensors, cameras, satellites, historical records, weather stations, topography data, and various maps, to offer the most comprehensive wildfire monitoring and management solution on the market. Our mission is to enhance wildfire response by providing unparalleled insights and effective decision-making tools. We do it to protect lives, property, and the environment from the devastating impact of wildfires.
SenseNet received a BC Fast Pilot grant from Innovate BC and NRC IRAP. Can you tell us how the grant helped your company?
Hamed: Innovative technology companies often face challenges when it comes to proving the effectiveness of their solutions, particularly when dealing with public sector entities. The BC Fast Pilot grant played a crucial role in mitigating these challenges. By providing financial support and resources, the grant reduced the risk for public authorities when testing our wildfire detection and monitoring solution. This support allowed us to demonstrate the value and reliability of our technology in real-world scenarios, particularly in situations involving public safety.
Tell us more about your pilot project in Vernon, B.C.
Hamed: In our pilot project in Vernon, we installed several sensors and cameras for wildfire monitoring, and it has been progressing well and we have been continuously refining and expanding the project. Throughout the pilot, we've made several critical improvements to our wildfire detection and monitoring system. These enhancements have allowed us to fine-tune our technology, making it even more effective in identifying and responding to potential wildfire threats. Moreover, the success of the Vernon pilot has opened doors to new opportunities and customers. The positive outcomes and results from this project have helped with our credibility in the wildfire prevention and management solution.
What’s next for SenseNet? Are there any updates on the horizon?
Hamed: We have successfully secured multi-million-dollar investments from venture capital firms and influential investors in Canada and the U.S., enabling rapid scaling. Our expanding portfolio includes collaborations with various municipalities, utility companies, and public authorities etc., strengthening our market presence. Also, recently, we've been awarded a multimillion-dollar project in partnership with several known organizations from NRCan.