Australian fixed and mobile operator Optus has launched a research and development project with in cooperation with Shark Mitigation Systems, an Australian technology firm. The project aims to develop shark detection technology to protect humans and sharks throughout Australia and the world. The project’s device, called the Clever Buoy, uses sonar technology to detect shark-sized objects in coastal areas. When any are detected, the buoy will relay a signal to lifeguards on the beach via the Optus network, which can also use Google Plus to notify other relevant audiences. The Clever Buoy system is expected to be available for commercial purchase by mid-2015.
Highly targeted, location-specific niche products such as this can be a good bet for operators that partner with technology developers. If the Clever Buoy meets with favor among those municipalities and other entities that have to deal with the potential danger of shark attacks, Optus could certainly earn some revenue from sales of the system as well as from ensuing mobile connectivity charges. In addition, it will be able to burnish its image by providing a valued public service in an innovative manner. For those operators that have the financial wherewithal to spearhead such projects, the rewards can be well worth the investment.