News and Events
March 29, 2024

FH Salzburg and Commend develop noise monitoring to recognise potentially dangerous situations

The collaboratively developed solution makes cities safer and more liveable because emergency services can immediately assess the situation in safety-critical situations and thus provide rapid assistance to the people affected.

Im Bild (v.l.): Julian Nöbauer (FH Salzburg, Dept. IT), Sebastian Karg (Commend), Marlene Berger (Studentin Informationstechnik & System-Management), Michael Thalhammer (Commend), Gerhard Jöchtl (FH Salzburg, Leiter Dept. IT), Simon Kranzer (FH Salzburg, Dept. IT), David Gahleitner (Student Informationstechnik & System-Management)

The cities of the future should be safe, clean and more liveable - this is not only the wish of residents, but also of those responsible for cities. When it comes to fulfilling these wishes, the security factor in particular is very often covered purely by video surveillance, which also poses data protection challenges from a global perspective. At the same time, it provides very one-sided information when determining the situation, as images without sound often lead to misinterpretations.

The company Commend International in Salzburg, a global market leader in the field of AI-based audio technologies, is therefore working with Salzburg University of Applied Sciences to pursue a new approach, as Michael Thalhammer, Head of Development at Commend, explains: "In a joint cooperation project with researchers and students, we are supplementing the very special Commend solutions for urban safety with noise monitoring."

The principle seems simple: Commend has already been installing sound monitoring systems at critical points in the city for many years. In the future, these systems will use artificial intelligence to recognise abnormal noise levels and raise the alarm when deviations from the usual noise level in a city occur. They will be able to distinguish between suspicious noises such as gunshots or unannounced demonstrations amidst the normal background noise of a city, determine the direction of passing emergency vehicles and then only switch on the video images in an emergency to enable the emergency services to quickly assess the situation. This allows security units such as police stations in cities to intervene and react appropriately in a matter of seconds - without violating the data protection rights of citizens. At the same time, it also ensures greater security for them.

Many years of cooperation

The long-term project collaboration between Commend International and the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences focuses on developing and testing prototypes to visualise a cloud-based 'Microsoft Bing Map' of a city with audio and video spots, which can be used by city security officers to assess the situation immediately and clearly. "The project is a win-win situation for both partners. We are delighted to be able to work on this and other topics in the future as part of a Coop Lab at FH Salzburg", says Simon Kranzer, project manager at the Department Information Technologies & Digitalisation at Salzburg University of Applied Sciences. On the one hand, the Coop Lab gives students a practical insight into the development of products and the latest technologies. On the other hand, Commend can utilise the potential of the students: "This allows us to test new innovations as prototypes and attract young talent," says Thalhammer.

The adapted noise level measurement will be presented at international trade fairs around the world focussing on urban and transport planning and smart cities. There, Commend will use the results of this cooperation to show how cities can be 'given an ear for more safety' and thus make them even safer and more liveable in the future.