On the 26th March, 2017, TRA (Team Rubicon Australia) sent members to North Queensland, to provide on ground intelligence activities in the lead up to Tropical Cyclone Debbie (Operation Dunlop) crossing the North Queensland Coast. These members were lone workers for the majority of this initial period, driving large distances daily to investigate different areas.
Auspace allowed TRA to set up a Lone Worker facility based on the Auspace Global Alerting Platform (GAP) from sister company two10degrees, and register users within hours of a request going to their General Manager, Paul Weiss. In one evening, a platform was set up, and users already in the field provided with monitoring devices.
The Auspace GAP Solution was then used to provided all geo-spatial, staff monitoring and scheduling needs for the remainder of the recovery operation. The solution also ensured that TRA was conducting operations in line with WH&S legislation applicable to remote lone workers.
Auspace is a systems integrator with a Machine to Machine (M2M) communications specialisation, focused on delivering turnkey, bespoke solutions by enabling systems for the integrated management of lone workers, vehicle management systems, industrial infrastructure and assets.
Auspace joined the Nova Group of companies in 2007 and in 2012 was re-purposed to focus on an in-service Machine to Machine (M2M) specialisation.
Today, Auspace works with a team of industry experts to build capability in Australia, serving markets such as public safety, transportation and utilities. As opposed to a company that is product focused, Auspace works towards being the solution and strives to deliver turnkey results based on customer requirements.
Technology in Operation
Device types used on Op Dunlop were the smartphone Lone Worker App, both IOS and Android versions, and Iridium Go Wi-Fi Hotspots; both integrated into GAP. These Apps were setup both remotely and locally, some before arriving in the AO (Area of Operations), and some on arrival. The process only took around 5 minutes with each user. This included downloading, setup in system, and training in use. In total, 35 Apps were registered on GAP, and an additional 6 user roles created for visualisation for Operations staff.
The Auspace Global Alerting Platform and App were also used to input POI’s (Points of Interest) by Damage Assessment Teams, and Information updated by Strike Team Leaders on completion.
The Auspace App fits into a lower risk environment, as per Auspace’s varying technologies based on risk. Although Op Dunlop fitted into a higher risk scenario, the App was able to be deployed quickly, without a pre-existing commercial agreement in place between TRA and Auspace.
Recon Teams were deployed to the region prior to Tropical Cyclone Debbie crossing the North Queensland coast. These teams were initially single person teams. Due to WH&S legislation around lone workers, there was a need to provide these TRA members with Safety Monitoring equipment. Auspace Apps were set up remotely prior to these members arriving in Townsville. Little training was required due to the apps simplicity of use.
As Greyshirts arrived in the AO, as part of their initial briefing, Auspace Apps were downloaded and setup for Strike Team Members. The App was set up with basic features to allow ease of use for Greyshirts, that had little previous use with tracking technologies.
All Strike Team Members, Logistics Teams and Damage Assessment Teams were monitored by Auspace GAP for the remainder of the Operation. At various times throughout the operation, Logistics and Assessment personnel carried out duties alone.
The use of Auspace GAP allowed these Greyshirts to comply with WH&S legislation while completing work as lone workers.
Success of Use and Way Forward
Success rates on usage by field workers were within expected ranges, with single person workers at 100% use, and field team use at 60%. This is to be expected with a tracking application that requires a level of user input. Success rates of 95%+ are usually only achieved with devices that require no user input. Lone Workers in a high risk environment value the usage of tracking technologies more, hence the 100% success rate.
Usage of POI input decreased after the initial week of the Operation, due to high workloads, no dedicated technical staff, and varying levels of IT skills with other Team Leaders. Feedback on improvements for improved ease of use were feed back to Auspace, with changes already scheduled for implementation. These changes include POI input and update from the Lone Worker App on a dedicated POI page.
All POI’s were inputted into GAP post operation to visualise and record area’s of work within the Area of Operations.
Talks are currently in progress with Auspace for continued support of Team Rubicon Australia. Future Operations will hopefully feature Auspace Technologies that are more suited to high risk scenarios, such as discrete pendants with heart rate capability, working via UHF radio to a base station.
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