A Sydney council is using Microsoft monitoring software in CCTV cameras to book you for parking violations

…but I’ve only been five minutes. Photo Bryan Ledgard/ Flickr.

Brown bombers, grey ghosts: whatever you call them, parking rangers generally have a job only a mother could love. And if you’re a seasoned parking violator, your problems are about to get a lot worse in the popular Sydney seaside suburb of Manly.

Manly Council has introduced a new technology – Microsoft’s Azure Machine Learning – to local CCTV cameras to assist with police parking restrictions.

So far the devices have been installed in four smart parking stations, 25 smart parking meters, 20 wireless access points and 100 CCTV cameras in the tourism and surfing hotstop, which attracts eight million visitors each year.

Nathan Rogers, Manly Council’s CIO, says the tech will help them find where problems occur and target those areas so rangers can be sent to rectify the issue.

“Before we could use Azure Machine Learning to watch cameras, the locations were really monitored on an ad hoc basis or during regular patrols,” he said

“Now that we have Azure Machine Learning, we can target patrols when they are needed and those resources can do other duties when they aren’t needed at those locations.”

Rogers says the tech has “really only scratched the surface” and there’s a lot of opportunity to come.

“Cloud-based technologies like Azure Machine Learning let a smaller council like Manly get access to high-end computing resources, and the outcome of research and development without having to invest a lot up front. It really enables us to ‘play with the big boys’,” he said.

The software is also being considered for crowd control, community safety measurements and surf conditions.