Evolution and Revolution in Remote Mining Communication Technologies – Alan Seery, Aqura at IMARC



pleasure to be with you again folks Philip and Bravo Charlie on behalf of the Australian Business Council and we're at I mark the International mining and resources conference with Alan Seri CTO of Acura and we're standing front of a truck that has just come from winners that's just come from the Pilbara yeah we just brought it down from the Pilbara and brought it over to Melbourne for the show today to show people how to remotely connect all of their infield devices and machineries beautiful and what is it specifically so what we have here is basically it's the same as that as the carrier networks except it's a privately controlled so it's a 4G LTE network self-contained on a trailer to enable machines and people to be connected where there's no network available and you just taught me what LTE stands for I'd learnt long-term evolution interchangeable with 4G which is fourth generation technology and we have a flyer in front of us and it says that the communications can be described as the Nirvana for on-site geologists where do you get that claim from one of our clients that use this trailer was able to remote in real time stream data from their drill rigs back to Perth and analyze it would and have make informed decisions within about two to three hours of receiving the data typically that took about 2 to 3 to 4 days yeah somebody a geologist to drive out to a drill rig he would download the data onto a hard drive and tried to find a way to get that hard drive to Perth whereas we were streaming it in real time via via the 4G access network and then traverse satellite interpersonal beautiful and I mean satellites traditionally one way do you have to way you know it's two-way communications so we can we can hook up machines and people and sensors all via one network now Wow ok because I know there'll be another interview you see which has the drone people on it and on that I was talking to the gentleman about well how do we actually if we can get this data back to a central point then we can work with it and we can process it though my issue of being a media always in this country has been getting that getting around that and if people want to sell me fiber links so that does the bit that we provide is that communications link between wherever your data source is and where people want to analyze it we can help join that gap and that's what we do as a business of accurate technologies and so what's the business case behind this Mike how much this stuff looks carry grade that sounds expensive using one of the you know the phrases of the moment is like informed decision-making in real time if you can if you can make a decision quickly you can optimize how you're operating your assets that make sense but it does I mean if you got a lot of planning equipment and you've got a large workforce and they have to wait a day to find out what's going on that to me would because they've been capturing useless data for a day nestled over what they needed to that yeah that this will help optimize like that whole supply chain and your being the CTO of the company how did you get into of zeal background in comms and telecoms I originally started off doing a master's in radio a long time ago and I've been working with our carriers and equipment suppliers for about 20 years until I moved to Western Australia and then eventually get involved with mining yeah so I worked at one of the big mining companies for a number of years and then we had a few great ideas about how we could take some of the emerging carrier technology and bring it into enterprise we were having a chat about underground underground mining and where does this fit into that so as we understand from the underground mining customers is that they've been denied access to broadband technology on the ground so again another use case of 4G or LTE is to take it on the ground and give these guys access to data so they can have phones they can have laptops they can also enable a lot of autonomous projects because they now have connectivity so they can take people from underground they can still do the job with their above-ground in this safer environment and if you'll excuse me diverging from the commercial aspect for a little public service announcement around 5g we were having a chat previously what's your take on 5g what do people need to know what are they scared of and why don't they need to be scared of it I don't think you need to be scared of it it's just about higher capacity higher throughput for when you bring people a lot of users into a small area they'll still have a good use of on the devices and the thing that was fascinated to me is that it's a two-way transmission so your mobile phone is the thing that factory's sending things back so that's got a power output so it's not that the radio intent is gonna fry you it's your phone's gonna fry you and it's already frying you if you're concerned about that so it's either put the silver jacket on or embrace the new technology really it's exactly right and if there was one thing you wanted people to know about wireless transmission technologies and maybe what would you tell them I would say that it's here today you can use it in access that this trailers available today to go to site it's not it's not a concept that people need to need to get comfortable with it works and we can prove that and demonstrate oh yeah and what's your uptake bin sorry what's your uptake bin like in the commercial market so we've been going as accurate technologies for just over two years now we now we've we've already grown to a workforce of 57 people so we must be doing something right because I've been demand driven people are coming to us saying can you help us exact immune occations problems and competitors in the market yes there are a few emerging but we think we've got some first mover advantage and some great clientele the use cases that are just repeating them from all Pilbara I haven't personally visited the harshest environment on earth as far as imbue so what do you need to pay attention to when putting sensitive communication technology into that environment I would think you need hardened equipment it needs to be able to survive the Pilbara environment which is which is a great use case for telecommunications equipment because it's already been designed to sit on the top of a light pole or the top of a tower for 15 years from Siberia to the Middle East so it is it is fit for purpose for use in mining environments and Pilbara underground and for somebody investing in comms teka they gotta roll out this investment every time they start a new project order these things last ten years and you pull them off or move them between sites there's a whole range of how you want to generate your business case we can lease this equipment out so as you use it you can pay for it the life cycle of this of this equipment was typically around 10 to 15 years and it's still in its infancy yeah so we think there's a long people who make an investment in this technology and if I do invest in this technology in one of your trailers is this consistently updated for you as the CTO as new tech comes to marketing pulling it swapping them in what's that sort of thing like so typically the hardware platforms will remain stable but there's consistent software development that we maintain as part of a managed service so we will keep it up to date on behalf of our clients and you mentioned people monitoring data it may not necessarily need to be monitoring do you have some sort of optimization process or do you go and look at a site and see well what metrics do we need what do we need to what data do we need to pull out so if you look at the communications trailer here it's got a satellite backhaul you can send all of the information back and this may not be the most efficient use of a satellite link because it's expensive what we can do is run an edge analytics platform on the trailer that gives us the ability to – to a first pass sanitization of the data locally and then we only send the results that are necessary back over satellite which is the expensive part of the whole solution yet beautiful and acquiring that satellite access is that something you manage on behalf the clients and then they pay the satellite contractor you can do it whatever way you want we're very open to any sort of engagement model most of the exploration and mining companies that we do would already have a an agreement in place with a satellite service provider yeah so we just configured this to work on via their contract but we can also supply that it made it I have very limited knowledge of the satellite network in Australia do we have our national satellites up there that we get to share bandwidth there are many global satellite networks that you can access and there's plenty of capacity so that the price for satellite backhaul has become far more affordable in the last few years fantastic and what are you excited about in technology well for us it's about connecting all the machines and people together so that they could they can work collaboratively yeah that's the exciting part for us yeah beautiful I know as we were speaking to and you'll see in the other videos aware since a technology company and I mean as our IOT advances really everything needs to be connected that's right is there any sort of standardization platform or like standards API that the mining industry or resources industry is pushing towards so that people can actually you know not cut each other's lunch as they develop platforms alongside each other part of the reason why we promote 4G or LTE is that it is a standards-based technology it's exactly the same that all the other carriers across the globe are using so you can bring any device you want and put a SIM card into it and it should work on that device with a bit of configuration in the background so that it's not proprietary it's a fully open standards which gives you choice yeah and that brings around competitive pricing yeah so AJ car for the Pilbara the if there's one thing you wanted people to know about accurate technology is what would you tell them we're we're a very rapidly growing business we will have a national footprint within the next few months robbing an office in Melbourne and in Brisbane currently waa based and beautiful it's like everybody from Perth is coming back to Melbourne ah thanks so much anything you need to find information will be in the bottom of this video and I'll take you on LinkedIn they can have a chat thank you very much

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