Building Resilience in Australia’s Critical Infrastructure with AI-Enhanced Surveillance
Posted: Tuesday, Mar 12

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Building Resilience in Australia’s Critical Infrastructure with AI-Enhanced Surveillance

In an increasingly interconnected world, the resilience of critical infrastructure is paramount. Disruption to these industries can have serious repercussions on the functioning of a society, so it is vital that those providing these services can maintain business continuity.

Australia, with its vast and diverse landscape, faces unique challenges in safeguarding its key sectors, such as energy, transport and telecommunications. In recent years, we have seen disruptions come in the form of natural disasters and cyber-attacks, and these disruptions continue to escalate. In 2023 alone, the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) saw a 50% increase in cyber attacks on critical infrastructure.

As disruptions escalate, the role of AI-enhanced surveillance becomes pivotal in preempting and preventing them by securing our critical infrastructure sites. However, the path to implementation can be complex for organisations. Overcoming the regulatory hurdles while at the same time deploying solutions in an ethically responsible way is critical to the success of the technology.

The Power of Preemptive Action

AI-enabled cameras are no longer a futuristic concept; they are a reality today. The use of smart, connected devices based on video technology and the data that these can create provides a compelling solution in many areas of industrial sites and critical infrastructure.

These AI-driven systems, equipped with advanced analytics, can distinguish between various objects, assess their significance, and alert human operators to potential threats or anomalies. This capability is invaluable in preempting disruptions ranging from terrorist attacks to natural disasters by providing a valuable layer of visual verification and situational awareness, along with object recognition or other analytics.

Consider the scenario where AI-enabled cameras detect unauthorised access or differentiate between a human intruder and a stray animal. Such technology extends the eyesight and judgement of security personnel, facilitating quicker, more accurate responses and significantly reducing the risk of oversight. Enhanced crime prevention, streamlined incident management, and optimised review processes are just a few benefits that underscore the transformative power of AI in surveillance.

Navigating the Path of Implementation

Despite its clear benefits, the integration of AI technology within Australia’s key sectors faces several hurdles. Businesses must navigate challenges such as data bias, privacy concerns, and the complexity of managing and preparing unstructured data for AI applications.

The collaborative nature of AI projects also often requires partnerships with multiple AI service providers, further complicating the deployment process. When deploying these critical systems, it is therefore important to have a high focus on cyber security, the selection of vendors, how the system is architectured, training personnel and setting up policies and procedures around how the system is used and maintained.

Ethical Deployment: The Foundation of Trust

In Australia, the hesitancy towards AI systems is notable, with a trust deficit that cannot be overlooked. Only a fraction of the population expresses confidence in AI, emphasising the necessity for ethical deployment practices. Adherence to Australia’s AI Ethics Principles, which champion safety, security, privacy, fairness, and accountability, among others, is paramount. These principles are designed not only to mitigate risks but to ensure that AI technologies serve the public good, reinforcing human, societal, and environmental well-being.

The Role of Government and Business

Recognising the potential of AI, the Australian Government has initiated several programs aimed at enhancing the nation’s AI capabilities. From the establishment of the National AI Centre to the launch of the Next Generation AI Graduates Program, these efforts are geared towards fostering innovation and collaboration between the public and private sectors. Yet, the realisation of these ambitions hinges on a mutual commitment to innovation, where businesses actively engage in and support governmental initiatives, ensuring a cohesive approach to harnessing AI’s potential.

Embracing the Future

The journey towards fully realising the benefits of AI-enhanced surveillance is complex and fraught with challenges. However, the potential rewards—improved security, operational efficiency, and enhanced public safety—are immense. By committing to ethical deployment practices, fostering public trust, and encouraging collaboration between governmental bodies and private entities, Australia can navigate the hurdles and unlock the transformative power of AI.

Mats Thulin
Mats Thulin, Director Core Technologies at Axis Communications. In his current role he is responsible for several teams in Axis Core technology development department. His teams are developing a technology base for future products in the areas of video analytics, media, system and security. In this position he is active in forming the Axis long term agenda within video analytics and AI. He has held this position since 2016. Prior to that, joining Axis 2010 he has held other leading positions within Axis technology development, among other the role as program manager for our inhouse development of our ARTPEC SoC platform. Prior to joining Axis, Mats Thulin has a background in leading roles both from large enterprises as well as from the start up scene, which have given him a broad business and technology background from various industries. He holds a Master of Science in Electrical Engingeering from the Lund Institute of technology.
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