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The Problem of Bushfires

Question:

Discuss about the Development of Bushfire Detection Technology.

NRMA Insurance is an organization that offers insurance services that covers various policies such as life and property. The organization provides insurance cover for a range of property that includes car insurance cover, house cover, water vessels and fire covers. NRMA in addition, offers insurance cover for life against very many life threatening circumstances (https://www.nrma.com.au/). This disaster affects many players that include insurance companies, citizens and the society in general. Most people who live near the forest insure their property or life against fire risk and life threatening firestorm. Often fire incidents destroy property or life thus affecting the entire society in one way or the other. In Australia firestorms is an important disaster that is affecting one out of ten Australians in life (Euan, 2016).  NRMA therefore came up with fire detection and prevention innovation that aim to prevent fire outbreak especially bushfire. NRMA Fire Blanket sensor network is an innovative technology that is developed by NRMA insurance company in partnership with M&C Saatchi Group and CSIRO Data61 (https://fireblanket.nrma.com.au/). The project took over two years of research in order to come up with the system that seeks to address the problem of bushfire which is not only problem within the insurance industry but also for the society in general. NRMA as a company tries to include the innovation into its portfolio hence intensifies production of Fire Blanket systems for commercialization (EPMC & Michael et al, 2009). This presents opportunity for investors such as the government and other individuals who are interested in the innovation to consider investing in the development of the NRMA Fire Blanket system. The following report explores the NRMA Fire Blanket system as sustainable business innovation.

Bushfire is one of the common disasters that affect several people within Australia and globally. There are many people living near the forest and their property are bunt down in the event of bushfires. Bushfire therefore affect many sectors that include insurance companies that offer fire insurance cover and many people living near forest or bush normally insures their property against fire outbreaks. This has been dangerous for those Australians that have not insured their valuable in the event of fire outbreaks. According to Norther Daily Leader (2009), for every 10 Australians one is affected with fire at some point in their life. The project seeks to address the problem of bushfire that is common in day to day lives. NRMA Insurance has since realised the importance of fire detection in order to prevent bushfire risk. NRMA Fire Blanket sensor network is a sustainable innovation technology that solves the problem of bushfire. NRMA as an insurance company is concerned with risk that is associated with bush fires. Bushfires is a real challenge for those communities that are living near forest. Bushfires destroy properties for those people living near forest and this affects the company that is such as NRMA. In order to solve the bushfire problem, NRMA in partnership with M&C Saatchi Group and CSIRO Data61 developed bushfire detection system called Fire Blanket (Olano, 2016).

The NRMA Fire Blanket Solution

The innovation has several benefits that are realised both at personal level, industry and at the society level. Firstly, at the personal level, NRMA Fire Blanket prevents loss of valuable that are attributed to bushfire disasters. Bushfire can sometimes destroy facilities that are built near the forest in the event that early intervention is not sorted. This leaves the person with many loses that can also be extended to loss of life (Olano, 2016).

Secondly, at the industry level benefits of the innovation is realised through prevention and detection of property destruction that often result from bushfires. For instance, the insurance companies that normally insure property near forest against bushfire has limited fire risk. NRMA Insurance has step up to ensure that fire risk are minimised. NRMA Insurance is also benefiting from the innovation since the whole project has developed another portfolio in its initial portfolios. The company therefore wants to start production of these fire detection systems for commercial purpose (Tuomi, 2002).

Thirdly, the society also benefit from the sustainability element of the Fire Blanket innovation since the bushfire that often has direct and indirect impact on the society is prevented at the early stage. Destruction of forest due to bushfire leaves the land bare and also destroy habitat for wild animals that are tourist attraction in Australia. This reduces economic contributor as most forest are also tourist attraction in Australia. Moreover, the innovation protects the society from life los that result from firestorms (50Lessons, 2009).

Fourthly, all the organizations that took part the development of the system is most likely to benefit from commercialization of the fire detection and prevention equipments. NRMA in particular seeks to commercialize the whole fire detection, prevention and monitoring system with the aim of diversifying its brand and portfolios. In addition, the fire detection system also seeks to transform the emergency response department of Australia and globally since the equipment will help in monitoring fire outbreaks. This therefore leads to development and production of technologies that will be sold to the organizations and individuals (EPMC & Michael et al, 2009).

Bushfires are disasters that need high priority for development of prevention or detection techniques. Bushfires are frequent in Australia especially in wormer months of the years. Fires often break in various places usually mountain forest or grassland with an extensive impact couple with loss of property and life (Mulcaster, 2009). This is particularly important both in policy makers and insurance companies that insure property against bushfire risks. The disaster need to be given high priorities by investors who puts more effort in the fire detection technologies. Currently more focus is based on the emergency responses that are aiming at putting out fire in the event of bushfire outbreak. This need to change with the development of the innovation and more focus should be on the prevention and detection of the firestorm (Nag, Hambrick & Chen, 2007).

Benefits of the Innovation

The strategic objective for the project was to detect bushfire, monitor fire disasters and prevention of firestorms. Firstly, the project seeks to detect fire early enough for the emergency responses to respond to the disaster in time. Secondly, the innovation also aims to monitor any signs of fire within the flora areas in the country through remote sensor that forms part of the system. Thirdly, the innovation aims to prevent fire risk that may destroy property leading to economic loss for both individual and the society (Hill & Gareth, 2012).

Australia as a country has come up with various indicators for fire risk. Some of these indicators are high temperatures, wind speed and level of dry grass. High temperatures are associated with warmer days and have high influence on the bush fires. Winds speed up the fire in the event there are fire anywhere near flammable objects. The dryness of the vegetation also indicates the possibility of fire outbreak that is risk for both life and property (Davila, Epstein & Shelton, 2006).

In response for the threat posed by the fire disasters the company in partnership with other organizations developed the innovation that respond to the fire disasters. In order to detect the fire early enough the technology is fitted with smoke sniffers that sense the smokes within the area where the technology is installed. This allows the devices to send signals to other devices through wireless networks that are used to monitor the origin of smoke hence the fire monitoring system. This enables the device to send signals to the control center for quick response.

Product development is another response that the company can show in the risk management strategy for the organization. The organization also develops fire detection equipments as part of its products in response. NRMA Insurance company has embark on fire detection system development that aim to transform the fire disaster prevention technologies. One of the response boundaries for the organization is the production of these systems that it sells to various disaster management organizations for prevention and monitoring of bushfire (Moore & Reid, 2008).

The project can follow many projects options that can include benefit realization model, earned value approaches and risk management. Firstly, benefit realization options of the project considers the benefits that result from the project. The Fire Blanket project is connected to many benefits that cut across individual level to society level. Benefit realization model focus on the benefit of the project that includes the company diversifies its portfolios, clients has minimal risk and the society benefit from reduced fire risks. Under this option both the industry and the government should invest in the project since the project have many benefits to the society (Keating, Quazi, Kriz & Coltman, 2008).

Opportunities for Investors

Secondly, risk management model exploits the insurance perspective of the company since seeks to minimal risk associated by bushfire and firestorms in general throughout Australia. Insurance industry is based various risk that clients insure their property against. NRMA Insurance is also an organization that offers insurance policy against fire that can also result from bushfires. The project is geared towards minimising or managing fire risk for those clients residing near bush or forests. The risk management option also should attract many insurance companies that need to invest in the innovation that reduce or mange the firestorm risks. Property investors are also player since the innovation seeks to reduce the risk associated with fire destroying their properties (McNeil, Frey & Embrechts, 2015).

Thirdly, another project option is product-based project that tends to deduce products from the project. Fire Blanket is project product that can also be used for commercialization as the NRMA Insurance organization seeks to transform disaster detection industries. Despite the project having wider scope and operative nature, production of fire detection systems stands as one of the future business brands in Australian. In this sense the company has future option of investing in production of these systems for commercial purposes (Hamilton, 2004).

Fourthly, portfolio management option is another project option that advances the opportunity for the organization to treat the project as portfolio for the organization. Though the NRMA Insurance has more focus on insurance as its primary dealings, the portfolio option exploit the degree that the organization can introduce fire detection innovation as one of its portfolios. This is also advantageous for the organization as it provide opportunity for the company to expand its brands through provision of fire detection technologies (Walsh, Hershauer, Tommelein & Walsh, 2014).

NRMA Insurance has wider opportunity to develop and commercialize the Fire Blanket system. The organization needs to work on the commercial production of the fire detection, prevention and monitoring system as some of its products. The NRMA Insurance together with other partners that took part in the development of the systems are opening opportunity for investors that can take part in the commercial production of the devices. Secondly, in order to deliver the solution effectively the organization need to incorporate the government of Australia since most of the bushfires normally  destroy forest that are under government protection and are therefore major stakeholders in the project. This should also attract the attention of the government funding n partnership as the innovation is most likely to benefit the society in general from firestorms. Thirdly, the NRMA Insurance should also invite other investors that are also interested in the development and production of these systems. This will help pool the resources that are needed for the commercialization of the whole project (Hatemi & El-Khatib, 2014).

The Strategic Objectives of the Project

Conclusion

In conclusion, NRMA Insurance has proved the implementation of innovative ideas in business setting especially in solving life threatening disasters. Bushfire has been life threatening phenomena that have attracted high concern which prompted the development of prevention and detection idea. NRMA Insurance in partnership with M&C Saatchi Group and CSIRO Data61 develop Fire Blanket systems that monitor, detect and prevent bush fire outbreaks. The project that took over two years to develop has proved the commercial capability if much effort are made in the production of these systems.

Reference

50Lessons (Producer), (2009a), Creating infrastructure to measure & celebrate corporate responsibility, with Truett Tate [Video file]. Stroud, England: The Corporate Learning Consortium.

Davila, T., Epstein, M. J., & Shelton, R. (2006), Making Innovation Work: How to Manage It, Measure It, and Profit from It. Upper Saddle River: Wharton School Publishing.

EPMC, Inc.; & Michael, J. S. et al (2009), Project Portfolio Management: A View from the Management Trenches. Wiley.

Euan, F. (2016), Report of the Special Inquiry into the January 2016 Waroona Fire ("Reframing Rural Fire Management"), Government of Western Australia, Volume 1: Report, 29 April 2016.

Hamilton, A. (2004), Handbook of Project Management Procedures. TTL Publishing, Ltd.

Hatemi-J, A. & El-Khatib, Y. (2014), Portfolio selection: An alternative approach. Economics Letters, 135: 141–143.

Hill, W.L., & Gareth, R. J. (2012), Strategic Management Theory: An Integrated Approach, Cengage Learning, 10th edition 2012

Keating, B; Quazi, A; Kriz, A; & Coltman, T. (2008), In pursuit of a sustainable supply chain: insights from Westpac Banking Corporation, Supply Chain Management: an International Journal, 13 (3): 175–79

McNeil, A.J., Frey, R., & Embrechts, P. (2015), Quantitative risk management: Concepts, techniques and tools. Princeton University Press.

Moore, K, & Reid, S, (2008), The Birth of the Brand: 4000 years of Branding, Business History, Vol. 50, pp 419-32.

Olano, G. (06 Dec 2016), NRMA Insurance to cooperate in development of bushfire detection technology: Insurance Business Australia. Accessible at: https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/au/news/breaking-news/nrma-insurance-to-cooperate-in-development-of-bushfire-detection-technology-58298.aspx

Mulcaster, W.R. (2009), Three Strategic Frameworks, Business Strategy Series, Vol 10, No 1, pp 68–75, 2009.

Nag, R.; Hambrick, D. C.; & Chen, M.-J (2007), What is strategic management, really? Inductive derivation of a consensus definition of the field (PDF). Strategic Management Journal. 28 (9): 935–955

Norther Daily Leader, (2009), Some past bushfires in Australia, p.3, 10 February 2009. Bushfire threat eases in NSW. The Sydney Morning Herald.

Tuomi, I. (2002), Networks of Innovation. Oxford University Press. Networks of Innovation

Walsh, KD, Hershauer, JC, Tommelein, ID, & Walsh, T A, (2014), Strategic Positioning of Inventory to Match Demand in A Capital Projects Supply Chain, Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, Nov-Dec, p 818

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