Open Innovation Event Helps Safety Agencies Solve Operational Challenges

Published Dec-13-16

Breakthrough:
A novel platform that helps public safety agencies track their assets and resources at all times.

Company:
Motorola, Australia

The Story:

Open Innovation Event Helps Safety Agencies Solve Operational Challenges A riot in a crowded bar, a public demonstration that turns violent, a hurricane that devastates a region and acts of terrorism are just some of many potential threats that public safety organizations could contend with at any time. They need to maintain high levels of service while meeting the expectations of citizens, the directives of officials and regulators and dealing with a changing digital technology landscape that can alter the way they work.

From social media and online transactions to applications and the Internet of things (Iot), the digital revolution has made the world a smaller place and at times our lives a whole lot easier. Can these technologies be harnessed to help public safety organizations operate more efficiently and effectively?

Already in some areas we're seeing how digital solutions can enhance the way front-line officials do their jobs. For example, in Tampa, Florida police officers have been equipped with real-time crime data that helps them see crime patterns more accurately.

Improved Public Safety Tools

In November 2016, software developers, Motorola and public safety agencies in Queensland took part in an intensive hackathon to come up with better ways to protect communities.

Hackathons are fast becoming a go-to open innovation approach for many companies and organizations to develop actionable ideas that individuals may not have been able to come up with on their own.

The emphasis of the Motorola Solutions Public Safety Hackathon was to develop public safety grade applications to better manage data sharing during critical incidents.

"A major focus of the hackathon is on increasing the importance of mobility for public safety agencies to make them more available and more effective in their daily work," said Motorola Solutions ANZ VP Steve Crutchfield. "Smart mobile technologies enable personnel to spend more time in the field protecting their communities and less time back at the station filing reports."

Burst of Innovative Activity

The hackathon took place over 48 hours and was also designed to boost technology adoption by the safety community, which has been much slower than adoption by consumers. Among the reasons for this according to the hackathon organizers is that the work first responders do can never be compromised by technology change. Also, there is a fundamental difference between what is good for consumers and what is going to be fit for mission-critical use.

Teams worked together to develop solutions and were equipped with a number of tools to help them develop their ideas, including application programming interfaces (APIs)and shared access to a body-worn camera.

After two days of creative activity judges assessed each team's solutions according to market-readiness and technical accomplishment and design among other criteria.

Open Innovation Winner

The overall winner of this open innovation initiative was Fleetsu for a safety platform that coordinates the use of vehicles, machinery and equipment as well as tracking the location of vital assets and resources.

The winners picked up a check for $30,000 and a $15,000 credit to use on Amazon Web Services' web hosting tool to help make their app a reality.

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