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How an innovative mobile app is helping Queensland emergency services

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No-one needs real-time information from the front line more than our emergency services – and that’s exactly what Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) is getting now, thanks to a new mobile app.


All 2,100 of the organisation’s first responders are using the INCSnap app on their iPhones and iPads. The app enables QFES officers to quickly take photos or videos of an incident, add GPS coordinates and other contextual information, and instantly send the data to their command centre via a secure mobile connection. The app works even in remote areas with no mobile coverage, synchronising the data and sending it on as soon as the device reconnects to the network.


Accessing real-time photos and data

The app had its first real test in early 2014, when Cyclone Ita hit Cooktown in North Queensland.


“For the first time, our command centre, our executives and the Queensland Government had access to real-time information, with photos and data from an officer on the ground in Cooktown,” says Paul Smeath, Superintendent at the QFES. “That meant we could make faster decisions with a great deal of confidence.”


INCSnap has since been used in more than 500 incidents, from house fires and road accidents to natural disasters.


Collaborating for a better solution

The app’s success is no coincidence. “One of the reasons we’re very successful in our partnership is that both Optus and Mnet came on the journey with us,” says Superintendent Smeath.


The teams worked together for two years to develop the QFES’s mobility strategy and the app. The Optus team even took part in a three-day field exercise to gain a better understanding of the officers’ needs.


“That collaboration helped us really drill into the requirements,” explains Bob Humphreys, Mnet’s General Manager. “It helped us innovate more than they expected, and architect a solution to solve the problems people in the field were experiencing.”


The partnership is just as strong now. “I know I can call Mnet and Optus, and the service is instantaneous,” says Superintendent Smeath.


Helping even more emergency service staff

INCSnap will soon be rolled out to 37,000 QFES emergency volunteers. Fire and police services in various states have also adopted the app.


“To help officers in the field and make their life easier in such a challenging job – that’s awesome,” says Matthew Caddy, Mobility Application Specialist at Optus Business.



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