Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service has announced the appointment of Brandwidth, the digital innovation agency which specialises in solving complex technical challenges, to a major new innovation brief. The £500k project is funded by Innovate UK and SRBI, in conjunction with GovTech Catalyst and the Government Digital Service.
The appointment follows an RFI process with around 120 respondents and a five-way competitive pitch, which also saw one other consultancy awarded a contract.
Brandwidth will now partner with Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service to develop an ‘x-ray’ style solution which will give fire commanders the ability to ‘see through walls’, in order to protect firefighters in high-risk scenarios.
The agency’s proposed solution will use a highly innovative combination of sensors, delivering tracking information to present the real-time location of firefighters via a cutting-edge AR visualiser.
The visualiser will build a real-time building schematic which plots the firefighters’ location and flags abnormal motion information, painting a live picture of the environment that a firefighter is moving around in – without the need for access to pre-existing floorplans.
As well as being invaluable in emergency situations, the tool will also provide a robust audit trail and enable the fire service to better understand what actually happened in often turbulent scenarios – something which has become all the more vital following tragedies such as the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017.
The solution could also be adapted to help track anyone working in high-risk or hostile environments, from the police and ambulance services through to security personnel.
Jason Jones, CEO, Brandwidth, said: “Winning one of the two final spots in this process, which saw us compete against defence contractors, incumbent firefighter OEMs and engineering specialists, is a huge validation of our agile, innovation-led approach.
“It’s been a humbling experience working with the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, and we’re delighted to have built such a strong partnership with them. Our close relationship has enabled us to create a cutting-edge, potentially life-saving solution to their everyday challenges.”
Steve McLinden, Group Manager, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Our fire commanders often have very little information about where a firefighter is, once they’re deployed beyond the threshold of a building. This highly innovative solution from Brandwidth should transform our ability to track and protect our firefighters in high-risk situations.
“We were really impressed with Brandwidth’s collaborative approach to our brief. They worked closely with us to help define our challenges and agree a clear direction, with a direct interface between the tech requirements and our end users, the fire commanders and fire fighters on the ground.”