FAQ FOR AUTHORITIES - Dog Barking Complaint Monitoring

How does NoiseNet Monitoring Work?

NoiseNet uses remote noise monitors, installed at the site of a noise nuisance to gather information on the severity of the issue.  Because our services are affordable, it is possible to carry out much longer periods of monitoring than is normally possible by a noise regulator (council or state authority).

 

Our noise monitors gather data 24 hours a day, including:  Decibel levels; audio recordings and an audio spectrogram.  This data is uploaded to our secure servers during the monitoring period and we then analyse the audio.

 

Depending upon the type of noise complaint in question we use a range of different analytical techniques to measure the noise levels but also to identify what is creating the noise (telling the difference between talking, dogs barking, air conditioners, birds,  cars etc).  So we can provide the authorised regulator with accurate data on the severity of the noise complaint that has been raised.

Depending upon the severity of the complaint and the results obtained, we may undertake some manual verification of the results.  This involves members of our team or supporting consultants listening to a random selection of audio snippets (4 seconds in duration) to verify the accuracy of our automatic systems.

We present results to the noise regulator in different ways.  For some complaint types this is a continuous feed of results for other noise complaints, we may submit a single report after the monitoring is completed.

How are results provided

Our basic service provides you (and your selected staff) with daily dashboard reports providing unverified results of barking covering the prior 14 days (per device you have hired).

Validated results are available via an optional "legal quality report" that can be ordered separately.  These will be delivered in .pdf format within 14 days of the latter of: completion of monitoring; or the report being requested.

How Does NoiseNet Manage Privacy

NoiseNet takes the privacy of complainants, other nearby residents near to our monitors, as well as the integrity of any audio recordings gathered on your behalf, very seriously.

Here are the key ways in which we manage privacy:

  1. We request permission from the monitor host before commencing monitoring, both to confirm you are happy to have us monitor, but also to confirm that we are recording the data on your behalf

  2. All our monitoring is done at the request of a noise complainant or a noise regulator and the type of nuisance must be specified before monitoring commences.

  3. All audio recordings are encrypted upon saving and can only be decrypted on our secure servers.

  4. We maintain customer details on a separate system to any audio recordings to minimise risk of privacy breach in relation to audio recordings.

  5. Our staff and contractors have all signed on to a privacy policy and are regularly trained and tested for compliance.

  6. We use automated processes for over 99.9% of all audio analysis.  The majority of manual analysis is anonymised.

  7. Short audio snippets of up to 4 seconds may be provided to the regulator to provide samples of noise to assist them in their investigations.  These are typically less than 0.05% of the audio recorded and will only contain speaking where that is directly related to the noise nuisance (the nuisance itself or a causative factor).

  8. We only release extended audio recordings where we have a written instruction from the investigating noise regulator or from a court request.  We will notify you whenever this happens.

  9. We comply with privacy legislation in all locations where we operate.

Who installs the devices

In the majority of cases, an officer of the relevant authority will do the installation of the device.  NoiseNet has training resources, including a manual and training videos that provide all the required information for installation.

The installing officer is requried to provide an installation report electronically.  We provide you with a link to this report which can be entered on a phone, a tablet, alaptop or desktop computer,  The reports are also editable so you can enter basic details and photographs on on e device and more complete details on on another device at a later time.

We also have processes for the resident to install the device.  This is a more complicated process to ensure the integrity of the data gathered, but has been developed to allow the usage of our service in a Covid-safe way.  Meaning your personnel do not need to enter the property for the service to be delivered.  This specific service has not yet been utilised in North America, but we are happy to work with any customer who is interested in this approach to prove it for your specific location.

Installation typically takes 15-30 minutes based on the complexity of the installation, the experience of the installer and how much the resident wants to discuss.  Removal can be completed in around 15 minutes and also includes the completion of a removal report.

Has NoiseNet been Tested in Court

NoiseNet has been tested in court in Western Australia and South Australia.  With either positive outcomes or favourable settlements being obtained by the authorities using our services.  We have also been reviewed by Government Ombusmen in Northern Territory and Queensland with supportive outcomes.

The biggest benefit however is that the majority of cases where our customers believe "are going to court", the NoiseNet legal report, with its 3rd party status and extensive data, has allowed the authority to resolve the case without going into the court system.  This saves money, time and reduces the risk and embarrasment of potentially losing a case in court.  With extensive, stronger evidence, not reliant on "involved" witnesses, you are in a much stronger position to resolve these cases fast and efficiently.

As we are only now commencing delivery of services in North America, we do not have any cases tested in the court systems.  We are however committed to ensuring that our service (and your case) is successful if it does end up in court.

What Happens if NoiseNet devices are Damaged or Stolen

Our rental model incorporates self-insurance for the devices.  So except in cases of negligence or intentional damage, we will immediately replace the damaged/lost item at our cost.  In case of customers who are serially abusing or losing devices we reserve the right to withdraw services or charge for replacements, but we will provide written notification in advance of these steps being implemented.  Until that occurs, there is no risk for you associated with the normal, responsible use of our services.

Serious Dog Barking Complaints are Occasional, can we rent a device only when we need it?

Yes, we are happy to work with customers who only occasionally use our services as well as those who routinely use the service.  When you are done with using the device, put it back in the packaging and return it to us.  Rental durations are for a minimum of 1 month and unused rental beyond the first month is retained and added as credit if you later request the device again

Our pricing structure is based around the regularity of usage of our service.  Those authorities who only use the service for the most difficult complaints will pay our standard pricing.  Those using the service more often will be able to access cheaper pricing tiers.

We recommend that you test out our service both for the "difficult" cases, as well as testing it as the first step for caes when they reach the point where investigation is required.  In this investigation phase, dashboard reporting is usually sufficient and short monitoring periods (3-7 days) are sufficient.  This brings the cost of the service per-case down dramatically.

Getting funding for new expenditure is very hard at present.  We don't think using your service can get approved.

We understand that resources are limited and expenditures are being tightly controlled.  And we know that with Covid-19 impacting your community and your authority, that this may not be the biggest issue you are facing.

However, noise management is an important part of maintaining a healthy, happy and harmonious community.  With people suffering stress, and in many cases confined to home for work or medical reasons.  The impact of noise can be escalated.

We recomment that customers who see benefit in our service assess the service in terms of a business case.  

In terms of setting out a business case for management approval, we recommend that you consider the following benefits of the service, which aren’t always obvious benefits to the council:

  • Saved time by your officers in investigation and stand-offs (including overtime and after-hours work)

  • Health and safety associated with less officer time in the field (particularly after hours stand-offs or in cases where there are aggressive complainants and/or animal owners)

  • Massively increased data on which to base assessments/enforcement providing:

    • Better quality service for residents (picking up intermittent noise issues more effectively)

    • Better information to assist animal owners to understand and resolve issues without need for enforcement

    • Extensive data (100’s to 1000’s of hours of data) to back up assessments

    • 3rd Party assessment with access to hard-data for legal purposes.  Reducing legal costs and reducing risk of legal cases being lost

  • Much faster close out of cases (both positive and negative cases) reducing “escalation” of cases and knock on benefits:

    • Less incoming calls to call centre and/or directly to investigating officers

    • Less cases escalating to the level of Management/ Councillors/ Animal Welfare/ Ombudsman/ Legal Challenge.

  • The service is a “Cutting Edge – Smart City Solution”  Many cities have budgets and/or city plans that allows them to access funding for our service without having to immediately access operating budgets.

  • Noise is a real nuisance.  It affects peoples health, both Mental and Physical.  Councils are the appointed noise-regulators in our community and have had limited tools to be able to efficiently tackle these types of complaints.  By equipping yourselves with better tools, you are in a stronger position to fairly and efficiently resolve noise disputes.  This will lead to happier and healthier communities.

  • Resolving noise complaints is one of the least-rewarding jobs that your team has to undertake.  With limited data, they are forced to act as lie-detectors between residents.  The time and stress wasted in investigating and ajudicating these complaints can be better deployed into more rewarding activities like working with residents and improving animal behaviour or other activities as prioritised by council.

 

Experience with our customers in Australia who have embraced the use of our service has shown that they are making significant savings through the use of our services, and are freeing up labour-hours and energy for their team members to undertake  more important tasks.

We are happy to work with you to build a business case for your council to measure and demonstrate these benefits.

What if there is no Cell Coverage

Our noise monitors work wherever they are plugged into standard power plugs.  They immediately gather and record data, with the capacity for between 6 and 8 weeks of data recording.​  In areas with good cell coverage, we are able to remotely monitor the devices as well as upload the data off the devices and this permits us to generate the daily dashboard results.

 

Where there is no cell coverage we cannot upload the data, nor are we able to remotely monitor the status of the devices.  In this case, it is critical that the installing officer fully checks the installation and ensure that the LED light on the device is running.  In these cases, the device will be left in place for the desired duration.  When it is removed and plugged into power where there is good cell coverage, the data will immediately start uploading and we will start publishing the results for the relevant period.

In some cases we have mobile coverage sufficient to montior the device but not enough to upload the data.  This offers us the benefit of being able to track the devices and determine if power has been disconnected or some other issue has ocurred. But we will still need the device to be returned into an area with good coverage before we can upload the data.

At present we are using a T-Mobile modem solution.  If coverage from T-Mobile coverage is poor in your region, we can explore alternative providers, this may impact on pricing and/or time to deliver the service in some cases. 

Have more questions?  email service@noisenet.com.au or call on 1800 266 479.  We will update these FAQ's as more questions are raised.

Click on the button below for more general FAQ relating to noise complaints

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