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Where Software Can Help Save Lives

IN LATE 2012, QUEENSLAND’S DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT AND MAIN ROADS (TMS) BEGAN TRIALLING A NEW TRAFFIC SYSTEM THAT PRIORITISES EMERGENCY VEHICLES. THE TRIAL UTILISES AN INTELLIGENT TRANSPORT APPLICATION THAT HAS BEEN INTEGRATED WITH EXISTING DEVICES AND SYSTEMS TO DETECT AN APPROACHING EMERGENCY VEHICLE.

Once detected, the system calculates the emergency vehicle’s estimated time of arrival to give it a free run of green lights so that it can respond to an emergency without delay. To ensure safety and minimal disruption, safeguards have also been built into this process. For example, requests for traffic lights to turn green will only happen when it is safe to do so, such as allowing adequate time for pedestrians to clear the intersection.

The system is expected to decrease the emergency response lead time by 20% which will undoubtedly help save many lives.

This is just one example of how innovative software applications can be. Solentive Software’s Commercial Director, Marcus Webb, has elaborated on other industries where software has been helping to save lives.

“Software is currently being utilised in many industries to save lives; it is increasingly being used in hospitals to support clinical care for example, where sophisticated decision support systems are used to manage the care of patients during their hospital stay.

“In the car industry, a luxury brand car manufacturer has recently released a new vehicle with some level of ‘self-drive’ capability. The car utilises software that takes inputs from cameras, sensors and maps to manage the movement of the car, minimising the risk of human error,” continued Webb.

“Safety is a major concern in the mining industry with mining being one of the more dangerous professions. Some major mining corporations are increasingly automating their underground operations in order to reduce the number of their workforce exposed to dangerous working conditions.

“The biggest use of software to save lives though is in disaster management systems. Software is used to model and predict the impact of various disasters before they occur and automate appropriate responses such as activating a real-time warning system to alert people of an impending disaster, such as tsunami, bushfire, cyclone etc.

“As software to improve safety is being applied in a myriad of ways across various industries, organisations and government authorities are beginning to realise how custom software may be applied in their own context. Organisations constantly look for ways to improve workplace safety for their employees and are beginning to see how custom software can help them achieve this.

“With the prevalence of smartphones, unique applications to help save lives are now available to smartphone users. There are some very smart mobile applications popping up in the App Store, Windows Store and Google Play Store. For example, there is an application that alerts those trained in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) or other lifesaving skills of an emergency in their immediate vicinity where they may be able to respond faster than emergency services,” commented Webb.

“Ideas such as these demonstrate the potential of how software can be used to save lives more than ever before, particularly with the growing and widespread use of smartphones connected to the internet. Now ask yourself, “How can software improve safety in my organisation and is it worth the investment?” concluded Webb.

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