Optus has Australia’s second largest telecommunications network. Our task was to improve consumer awareness and brand perception, by changing the nation's focus from the size of the Optus Network to the amazing things it can do.
AN UNLIKELY OPPORTUNITY:
Australia has four times more fatal shark attacks than any other country. Yet our shark defence methods haven’t changed in over 60 years.
Many of the current shark detection methods have serious environmental impact:
Shark nets - 40% of sharks are caught on the beach side of the nets. The trapping of endangered species and entangling of other marine animals such as whales and dolphins is a major issue.
Aerial patrols - A recent government led inquiry revealed they were “expensive and inefficient”. Only one in eight sharks at patrolled beaches are spotted.
Detection by eye - Lifeguards often rely on eyesight, binoculars and those in the water to raise the alarm. In conditions where every second counts.
Shark cull - In 2013/14 the Western Australia government sanctioned the culling of all large sharks, sparking mass protest from the public. Over 170 large sharks were killed.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SHARKS:
Sharks play an extremely important role in the sea in a way that the average fish does not. Sharks are apex predators, which means they sit at the very top of the food chain. They keep the populations of all the other species below them healthy, and in the correct proportions for the ecosystem. The removal of even a few apex predators can have a devastating effect, because it unbalances the very precarious nature of the food chain.
What if we could use the power of the Optus Network to help solve one of Australia’s most controversial problems? One that would not only protect our beach goers but also our sharks.
THE IDEA: CLEVER BUOY
A smart ocean buoy that detects sharks and sends instant alerts to lifeguards via the Optus Network.
Traditionally sharks are difficult to detect using sonar and no accurate detection technology existed anywhere in the world. So we developed a world first detection method specifically calibrated to hunt for the shark’s unique movement and wake. This is how the buoy determines sharks from other large marine life.
Similar to facial recognition technology the Clever Buoy software becomes more accurate with each confirmed detection, as it learns the tiny intricacies of shark’s swimming patterns. Once a shark has been detected, a real-time message is transferred via the Optus Inmarsat satellite to the lifeguard towers. The system pulls data from Google maps to triangulate the position of the shark in the water, this is then pinpointed on the alert message for lifeguards via a smartphone app. This data is also shared with scientists and researchers via closed circles on the Google+ platform.
Clever Buoy systems will be bespoke to every beach. An array of sonar heads are connected on the sea bed to a single buoy. The number of sonar heads depends on the length and shape of the beach. Each sonar head has an angled projection, meaning that the sonar heads overlap to form a complete perimeter.
Clever Buoy’s detection and alarm begins with the sonar head anchored to the seabed. The sonar head scans for objects over 2 metres that match the swimming pattern of a shark (unique to sharks).
A microprocessor inside the buoy autonomously confirms the detection of a shark and sends the data via the Optus Inmarsat satellite to the hardware alarm on shore. This information is also shared via a smartphone app, and with closed circles in Google+. A service message detailing the hygiene of the buoy’s internal diagnostics is sent every 30 minutes.
The Buoy is also backed up by the Optus 4G mobile network in case there’s a fault to the satellite or fixed network.
Clever Buoy has been tested vigorously in both controlled and wild conditions, click the link below to get a more in-depth view of the phases and journey we've been on developing Clever Buoy.
- Combined social and PR reach of 40 million.
- 84% positive sentiment towards the Optus brand.
- Featured in over 800 global news stories.
- Earned PR/Advertising value over $7 million.
- 92% share of voice in relation to #innovation and #technology on social media at launch.
- Launch film had over 3 million impressions online.
- Clever Buoy now operational on the world's most famous beach, Bondi NSW.
- Australian government has committed to rolling out Clever Buoy systems over the next 5 years.
- Clever Buoy now on tour with World Surf League.
- Clever Buoy floated on ASX (SM8)
- First shark detection breakthrough in over 60 years to go live on public beaches.
- New innovations division created within Optus, the project has led to huge shift in focus at Optus to drive future innovative uses of the network inspired by Clever Buoy.
"THIS IS NOT AN AD CAMPAIGN, IT'S TAKING OUR BUSINESS TO A WHOLE OTHER PLACE. AND THAT'S WHY WORK LIKE THIS WILL CHANGE THE WORLD."
NATHAN ROSENBERG, OPTUS HEAD OF BRAND.