Swinburne University Team Wins Public-Safety Hackathon in Australia
Friday, May 18, 2018 | Comments

A team of university students won Motorola Solutions’ Australian hackathon. Developers from Swinburne University claimed top honors with an app concept designed to improve the quality and accuracy of public reports about landslides, fallen trees and other dangers.

Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES), one of four public-safety organizations participating in the event, provided the challenge. In 2016 – 2017, VICSES recorded its second busiest year on record, responding to more than 31,000 incidents and providing more than 302,600 hours of operational support time to Victorians in need.

Having accurate data is essential to safely and efficiently managing an enormous volume of emergency support requests. Swinburne’s app concept enables citizens to use their smartphones to capture images of fallen trees and other obstacles and leverages other software tools to accurately measure the size of hazards. It also enables real-time reporting of road conditions. Providing emergency services with this vital information helps them to send the right resources and skills to a job and determine the best and safest route to get there.

One theme that emerged from this year’s hackathon was the increasing need for technologies to enhance citizen engagement with public safety organizations.

“It is becoming increasingly important for emergency services to access more of the vital data that Australian citizens can capture using smart phones,” said Steve Crutchfield, vice president and managing director for Motorola Solutions Australia and New Zealand. “Citizens have an important role to play in protecting their communities, and by providing first responders with the right data at the right time, we can all have a profound impact on the future of public safety.

The 44-hour app development challenge brought together a large and dynamic mix of app developers and emergency service organizations to solve the most diverse set of problem statements in the event’s three-year history.

“It has been so rewarding to learn that our apps can help public-safety agencies to work more efficiently while making our communities safer,” said Nami Shah from the winning Swinburne University. “We have gained great confidence from the hackathon and now plan to develop our app further by adding multimedia and social media components to it. It would be a dream come true if we could put our app into the hands of public safety agencies and citizens across the country.”

The event was held in Melbourne 14 – 16 May.

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