Head of training and education Ashley White said the Davey Firefighter was now equipped with a remote start/stop, through SMS.
The pump was fitted with Honda’s iGX270 Petrol Engine and could also be controlled through a computer.
Mr White said while the main application was in fire fighting, it was also being used by irrigators.
“The first thing they turn off is your Wi-Fi and all your internet connections, so we partnered with Telstra on this,” Mr White told visitors to the Honda original engine manufacture day, in Lancefield.
“Then you are going to get voice turned off, then you are going to get SMS turned off, so finally SMS is the last thing they are going to turn off and the Telstra network is then reserved for emergency services, so we are the second last rung before they turn off, altogether.”
A unique SIM card was installed, by Davey, during production.
The pump could be started and stopped, or have a timed run, through the messaging service, with feedback on its status sent to all registered users.
The SMS system also showed the reason for starting the pump, battery voltage, signal strength and total run time.
Run time allowed the operator to calculate available fuel left.
Mr White said the pumps could also be hooked up to heat sensors, which triggered at an ambient temperature of 93 degrees.
“We have fast tracked it; we came up with the concept about nine months ago and brought it to market in December.”
Davey had a separate innovation department, staffed by about 12 people, and a manager and co-ordinator of innovation.
“We have two people, in our business, whose only job is innovation,” he said.
Davey wanted to encourage people, in bushfire prone areas, to be proactive in planning for disasters.
“Consumer reaction tends to be ‘there’s a fire coming over the hill, now I will do something about protecting my home’,” he said.
The remote start pump was also being taken up by irrigators.
“A lot more work is being done in offices, so people are actually having to sit there and do the paperwork.
“They think ‘hang on, I didn’t put the water on for the stock, down in the back paddock,’, so bang, on it goes and you can go back to the paperwork.
“They also get feedback that the pump has actually started.”
The system could be scaled up, to larger irrigation systems.
“It’s the modern way of making sure you can control things, without actually having to go and do things.
“We can do it with big irrigation pumps too -we already run large irrigation pumps, which run centre pivots in Tasmania, which are owned by people in Brisbane.
“We have electric pumps running in Tamworth, we can control from Melbourne.
“When you get to those bigger units, they are connected through the internet; they are working all the time.”
But Mr White said the system had one downside.
“It’s a text message, so you can register everyone in the family, if you like – the only thing is, it’s a telephone number, so don’t put it on Facebook.”
It’s a text message, so you can register everyone in the family, if you like – the only thing is, it’s a telephone number, so don’t put it on Facebook.