Making Buildings Safer with AI

Making Buildings Safer with AI

Brisbane-based company Voltin is making buildings safer, through a more accurate and efficient building inspection process that employs artificial intelligence (AI).

Launched in late 2020 Voltin uses artificial intelligence and machine learning (AIML) to identify defects in buildings; providing early results that can help resolve possible structural and maintenance issues in the future.

Director of Voltin, Stephen Thornton says, “Voltin will provide owners with a building health check. It’s faster, cheaper, and far more accurate than the existing process.”

Building defect and dilapidation reports have long been dominated by engineering firms, but Mr Thornton is hoping their technology will significantly disrupt the field.

Through a practice they call the “Voltin System”, the process entails “a thorough inspection of a building’s exterior to spot defects using AIML” says Thornton. These defects can include cracks, chips, dampness, improperly leveled surfaces, and other issues that could compromise a property.

The Voltin System uses AutoBat2.0 (Autonomous Building Assessment Tool) – a data capture device that uses geotagged RGB and thermal imagery to identify specific spaces that may have defects. The device then utilises AIML technology to compare thermal and RGB images alongside satellite location information to confirm the stability of a structure.

The RGB identification system in AutoBat2.0 analyzes concrete, glass, metal, and other surface compounds to automatically find defects. From here, any identifiable defects are mapped on to the building model, and data is sent to the digital building report.

Not only will the technology aim to speed up and simplify the reporting and repairing of defects, but it also seeks to provide landlords and property managers with important information on their building’s integrity in the safest manner possible.

Traditional façade assessments require inspectors to climb ladders, structures, and manually and physically review. In addition to the process being dangerous for inspectors, it is also difficult to create an accurate readout this way.

Whilst drone technology has created a safer approach to building inspections, there are some restrictions on when and where drones can be used. For example, drones cannot be used in controlled airspace areas, plus some regulations limit their use in populated sites.

AutoBat2.0 uses metadata from satellite-based GPS reports and compares it with the results the device gathers during an analysis. This point works around the issue of drones not being capable of collecting GPS data due to the shrouding effect created by a tall building. AIML helps the system check all reports, using the most recent information when comparing defects.

AutoBat2.0 can also be deployed vertically, ensuring an inspection can occur without breaking drone regulations or requiring people to enter risky conditions.

Voltin Director Stephen Thornton says that demand for the system and the AutoBat2.0 device has been increasing. In 2022, the company conducted fourteen inspections and has received additional inquiries from clients in Australia and New Zealand. There have also been some enquiries from clients in Singapore and Hong Kong. Licensing agreements and initial sales are also anticipated in additional countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

“We envisage Voltin as a collaborative business with analytical partners in Asia servicing an offshore market hubbed out of Brisbane,” Thornton says. The AIML system Voltin uses creates a more in-depth analysis that achieves better results and is easier to deploy. “Structural engineering firms traditionally avoid the building envelope for assessment and maintenance, we can help make the job easier for them” Thornton says.

Thornton also remarked that building owners and managers would benefit from this AIML-based approach to reviewing buildings regularly themselves. “For the first time, they have an accurate, cost-effective, and comprehensive means of assessing the health of their buildings’ exteriors,” he said.

For more information about Voltin and AutoBat2.0, please visit www.voltin.com.au/

MEDIA RELEASE: Queensland AI Hub renews partnership with She Codes

MEDIA RELEASE: Queensland AI Hub renews partnership with She Codes

The Queensland AI Hub is thrilled to announce its renewed partnership with She Codes, an organisation teaching technical skills to women across Australia.

As part of the partnership She Codes will continue to host its six month program She Codes Plus at the Queensland AI Hub in 2023.

She Codes Plus is designed to supercharge the tech career of its participants particularly targeted for women looking to enter or advance in the tech industry.

Kate Kirwin, Founder of She Codes said the partnership with Queensland AI Hub allows She Codes to have a physical base while supporting women in Brisbane to participate in their program.

“We’ve been running She Codes in Brisbane for three years now and continue to be blown away by the ecosystem here,” Ms Kirwin said.

“There is an ever-growing demand for talent in the tech sector which we don’t see slowing down any time soon.”

“Our partnership with Queensland AI Hub allows us to have a physical base in Brisbane, as well as a strategic relationship around emerging technologies.”

Executive Manager of the Queensland AI Hub Toni Peggrem said it was exciting for the Queensland AI Hub to renew its partnership with She Codes as it continues the innovation hub’s commitment to diversity in the tech sector.

“The She Codes Plus program is so important because it’s about providing technical training to women who aren’t necessarily from a technical background,” Ms Peggrem said.

“If we are going to address diversity across the STEM sectors, organisations like the Queensland AI Hub need to provide support to incredible founders like Kate Kirwin.”

She Codes aims to inspire 100,000 women by 2025 by teaching technical skills and connecting women to career pathways.

END.

About Queensland AI Hub

The Queensland Artificial Intelligence (AI) Hub is a $5 million investment under the Queensland Government’s Advance Queensland initiative and supports Queensland’s innovation sector, businesses and startups through education, programs and bringing world-leaders in AI to Queensland as experts-in-residence.

The AI Hub is managed by the AI Consortium and located at the Queensland Government’s innovation and investment hub known as The Precinct in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane.

About She Codes

She Codes is a movement focussed on increasing diversity in tech which blends learning, industry and community to create pathways for women to enter tech careers, inspire curiosity and demystify coding.

She Codes currently offers three levels of programs – Workshop, Flash and Plus – which span beginner level through to job ready. The lofty goal is to create an inclusive community of 100,000 in tech by 2025.

Innovating Business Practices Using AI

Innovating Business Practices Using AI

This month, we met with Queensland-based company Blackbook (dot) ai to learn more about their intelligent solutions that aim to unlock the value of their clients’ businesses using technology and AI.

Launched in late 2016, Blackbook’s aim is to use cutting edge emerging technology to solve business issues across four main offerings—Automation, DataOps, AI/ML (artificial intelligence machine learning) and Digital.

The Brisbane tech company are staunch believers in the power of AI and have a vision to improve anything from accuracy and reliability of data to analytical support and forecasting, while simultaneously improving business efficiency.

And to date, Blackbook has proven that they can deliver on their bold vision. Within six years, the company has grown to employ 170+ staff members in Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne. In 2022 they opened offices with 20+ staff in Vietnam and the Philippines.

Some of the work they’ve done includes automating the accounts payable process for companies, performing data platform health checks, modernising data warehouses, and visualising data and processes. This is just the tip of the iceberg—they tailor-make their solutions for the different companies they consult with.

Blackbook has also developed three products they provide—Blackbird, BlackFabric, and RecBuddy.

Blackbird is an AI powered platform that can help you automate your business processes, workflows, and forms.

BlackFabric is a centralised AIML platform that facilitates the use of AI in your organisation (which is a challenge for most businesses that are making the transition). It helps developers and data scientists to build, train, and deploy machine learning models faster.

RecBuddy helps companies modernise accounting processes with automated reconciliation.

The company has been very focused on providing local opportunities for talent so as to offer an alternative for Australian companies to work with local, hardworking, and capable consultants. They offer a Graduate Recruitment program for local graduates to become part of the largest Automation Solution (RPA & AI) provider in Australia.

Founder Thuy Lam, who was recognised as Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2018, says, “By providing targeted practical training to students at secondary and tertiary levels through the AI Digital Hub, Blackbook is working on innovative ways to improve the knowledge, understanding and operationalisation of data and ML workloads.”

Not only is Blackbook passionate about providing local opportunities and training for students – a large part of our work is also training our clients. Philippa Black, Head of Enablement AI & Data, says, “We see a large part of our role in the AIML community as upskilling and educating, both our clients and those who want to step into the industry – from the first steps learning Python in our AI Digital Hub to handing over the reins of production AIML models to clients.”

Blackbook utilises AIML to help their clients innovate and find efficiencies to help stay ahead of the competition. They use a lean analysis, design, and governance to ensure that the AIML is a targeted business opportunity and DataOps so that the AIML model is embedded within the clients’ infrastructure. In addition, they use training, deployment, ongoing training, and re-deployment to ensure the client is fully empowered and the solution fully functional.

As you can see, a lot comes back to training.

Another focus of the company has been to create strong partnerships. According to Black, “Our strong partnerships with leading automation software, capture platforms and cloud providers, results in superior outcomes for our clients.”

Blackbook is an active member of the AWS (Amazon Web Services) Partner Network—they are an Advanced Consulting Partner and have over 20 AWS customer launches behind them. They are also a Microsoft Solutions Partner for both Data & AI and Digital & App Innovation. In addition, they are UiPath and Qlik partners.

As the leading provider for AI driven business solutions in Australia, Blackbook has a unique insight into the future of AIML. They believe that as businesses continue to migrate their data to the cloud, AIML efficiencies will continue to grow with the data connectivity and increased compute capacity.

Five years ago, AIML would generally have been considered only for the big tech players, and for those that were not, it was placed in the “nice to have” proof of concept bucket.

Over the next 5-10 years, AIML for all businesses will become a core business need, across verticals and regardless of business size. We will see a transformation in the workforce, moving away from repetitive tasks to becoming the “human-in-the-loop” and training/overseeing the AIML. These new workers will need to be code literate, creative, and empathetic to understand the AIML, and to guide the artificial intelligence with human intelligence traits that we cannot code for.

Again, it’s clear to see why Blackbook focuses so much on training – if the future is AIML, the people of the future are those who are training the AIML workforce.

We look forward to seeing what Blackbook will innovate next and how it will help Australian businesses – and businesses worldwide take the leap to AI.

For more information about Blackbook, please visit www.blackbook.ai

Expressions of Interest Now Open for Advisory Committee

Expressions of Interest Now Open for Advisory Committee

Calling all ecosystem champions, AI experts and corporate thought leaders! Queensland AI Hub seeking expressions of interest for our Advisory Committee.

As an Advisory Committee Member you will be a leader for the ecosystem, amplifying the work of the Queensland AI Hub across the state.

Queensland AI Hub Advisory Committee Members will have a broad current knowledge of their industries, and also be in or have recently worked in a senior role, with relevant views across operational and strategic realms.

The Committee will consist of people all throughout Queensland with regional and diverse representatives encouraged to apply.

The Advisory Committee comprises of between 8 and 10 members. Membership term is 12 months.

For enquiries or questions, or to view a full copy of the Terms of Reference, please contact Toni Peggrem at toni@qldaihub.com

Applications can also be submitted here before 30 October 2022. 

Image Supplied: Datawre