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September 22, 2022 10:00 am

T-Mobile 5G Is Linking Wildfire-Detecting AI Cameras To Put Out Fires Faster

T-Mobile has partnered with the startup Pano AI to spot wildfires before they get out of control. CNET reports: The startup Pano AI uses a series of cameras that survey the wilderness and AI algorithms that watch for telltale smoke -- an indicator of small blazes that could grow into raging wildfires. That footage is sent to the startup's headquarters for human confirmation, and if a fire is burning, evidence is sent to clients who could be affected. While Pano AI had been sending evidence photos over 4G LTE networks at slow rates of around 20 to 30 6-megapixel images per minute, its new partnership with T-Mobile has it using the carrier's 5G network to send video at 30 frames per second, which is around 90 times more data. Ultimately, getting evidence to Pano AI's clients, which include utility companies, much quicker on 5G means a faster response from firefighters and potentially squashing big fires before they get dangerous. Pano AI works with a number of utilities, governments, fire authorities, forestry companies and private landlords who in turn work with local emergency responders. Its newest client and the first with a system using T-Mobile's 5G network is Portland General Electric (PGE), a utility supplying gas and electricity to 16 million customers around Portland, Oregon. Pano AI has 20 cameras set up in the forests surrounding the city that give 10-mile panoramic views, which include powerlines. This lets PGE know if fires are headed toward its infrastructure. T-Mobile recruited Pano AI to be part of its Innovation Lab alongside other companies harnessing 5G to improve their services, such as Mixhalo, which is using the carrier's 5G network to pipe in concert audio directly to audience members' phones. But Pano AI's partnership goes deeper, as it's mounting its cameras on T-Mobile's cell towers, saving months of time and paperwork needed to request and install its equipment on other signal towers or similar vantage points.

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