Using 5G connectivity to remove physical barriers
Gidarjil Development Corporation (GDC) is using Cradlepoint 5G technology to deliver cultural, environmental, commercial and educational outcomes for its community as a recipient of grant funding under the Australian Government’s 5G Innovation Initiative.
The project demonstrates full High-Definition (HD) video streaming, remote participant interaction and remote participant control of drones via the internet, using 5G connectivity solutions from Cradlepoint.
Established in 2000 in Bundaberg, Queensland, the Gidarjil Development Corporation is an Indigenous-owned enterprise. Providing leadership and momentum to the economic, social and cultural development of Indigenous people, Gidarjil’s vision is to become economically independent and to help Indigenous Australians participate in the wealth and prosperity of the broader Australian economy. Partnering with MobileCorp and Cradlepoint, GDC saw an opportunity to connect its Elders with the work of its environmental rangers to promote knowledge-sharing around Caring for Country and the exploration of cultural heritage sites.
GDC worked with Cradlepoint partner MobileCorp to deploy Cradlepoint 5G wireless edge adapters, which allow the delivery of HD video from underwater and aerial drones along the traditional sea country of the Port Curtis Coral Coast region. Having a reliable, high bandwidth 5G connection builds on the organisation’s existing drone operations to deliver additional cultural and commercial benefits for GDC and the wider community of Northern Queensland.
Rangers can now stream video in real time to remote locations for input from off-site experts, or to enable swift action. For example, they can now provide GPS coordinates of Crown of Thorn starfish on the reef which can be mapped for diver intervention programs. Rangers can also stream video from cultural burn activities for hotspot surveillance and ranger safety. They can also use thermal imaging to identify the location of feral animal populations like foxes and wild pigs that could inform rangers in the group to take action as part of the protection programs for native animals in the area.
“Enhanced 5G HD video, enabled by Cradlepoint 5G connectivity solutions, will offer improved outcomes across our existing drone program, including exploration of the Great Barrer Reef Marine Park and National Parks such as Mon Repos, Deepwater National Park,” said Dr Kerry Blackman, Chief Executive Officer, Gidarjil Development Corporation.
The key objective of the grant funding was to enable Gidarjil to reconnect community Elders, who are unable to travel, with areas of cultural significance across traditional land and sea country.
“The 5G-enabled drones have been crucial in developing connection to country across generations. Our Elders attend some of our meetings and we’re able to livestream footage from culturally significant parts of this region with uninterrupted and high-resolution connections thanks to the 5G solutions we’re using,” Blackman said.
Elders can also remotely operate underwater drones to explore the sea country of their youth and to capture HD video footage, which will provide visual cues for their storytelling to the younger generations. This will allow GDC to enhance its traditional knowledge database, led by Elders, to identify tribal heritage sites and the changing landscape.
“The 5G project has enabled a continuation of what we have learned from generations, but it’s done with modern technology. Before, we always had to learn by stories being handed down to us. Now we’ll be able to enjoy all this visual information with our young people as well. They’ll be able to beam that information to us wherever we are,” said Aunty Melinda Holden, Gidarjil Elder.
GDC is using the advanced 5G technology to enable the rangers to become leaders in applying wireless network technology to their drone program, which will lead to more commercial and environmental opportunities. Moving forward, GDC hopes that its rangers will be able to share their knowledge and skills with other Indigenous environmental organisations, to help them build their own drone programs and to train them in using wireless 5G technology to enable those programs.
“We’re able to leverage our training and operational experience gained through our National Indigenous Drone Training Institute, enabling our people to access and apply innovative drone technology using the very latest in 5G telecommunications technology. This also allows us to upskill the rangers, training them to read country as well as give the Elders a chance to view what they do,” Blackman said.
“The innovative work that Gidarjil Development Corporation is doing with 5G technology is truly inspiring. The organisation is able to bring together the traditional Indigenous practices of storytelling with modern, 5G-enabled HD live streaming from drones, to improve intergenerational engagement with country and environmental conservation,” said Nathan McGregor, Senior Vice President APAC, Cradlepoint.
Through Cradlepoint NetCloud Manager, MobileCorp has been able to give Gidarjil rangers visibility of network connectivity and performance and train rangers in basic troubleshooting. MobileCorp can use the NetCloud platform to monitor adapter performance without being physically onsite and the goal is for GDC rangers to be able to deploy hardware and manage network connectivity themselves. Using real-time data and speed tests within the cloud management platform, rangers will be able to determine the best possible location and positioning of the 5G adapters to ensure that they, and any livestream viewers, have the highest quality of experience.
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