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Customer story

OpsCentral: Fighting fires with real-time data

This article was published on Jun 21, 2021, 2:08 PM

Reading time: 4 minutes

When lives depend on it, getting first responders the vital information, they need is crucial. Through Callaghan Innovation’s Technology Incubator programme, OpsCentral has developed software that does just that.

What's in this article

    At a glance

    • With fragmented and often paper-based information, first responders were struggling to get the information they needed when heading to an emergency. That’s until OpsCentral arrived on the scene.
    • Through the help of Callaghan Innovation’s Technology Incubator and Bridgewest Ventures, OpsCentral has been able to develop a platform that uses machine learning and AI to bring together the crucial information needed and make it easily digestible.
    • Already working with fire departments, OpsCentral is looking globally as well as across the different emergency services and into other industries like large-scale event management too.

    It’s really helpful having Bridgewest Ventures [a Callaghan Innovation Technology Incubator partner] there as a sounding board and knowing it can connect me with other people who have the expertise I need, when I need it.

    - Debby Murphy, Founder and President, OpsCentral

    Urgent information for urgent situations

    Four minutes. That’s how long first responders typically have before they arrive at an accident. In that four minutes, fast access to relevant, real-time information is critical. Saving lives depends on it. 

    However, while some information is available to those emergency responders now, it’s often fragmented, paper-based, and non-searchable. Fast analysis is therefore difficult.

    Enter OpsCentral. Using machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), the Kiwi startup has developed a software platform that gathers vital data from multiple sources, makes it easily digestible, and delivers it to emergency responders via the cloud. 

    Everything from weather and building information, to evacuation plans, hazard identification, traffic movement, and hydrant locations is included, all clearly displayed in ways that help responders understand it quickly and in the most relevant way to the situation. 

    “The more I talked to firefighters, the more the same issues kept coming up. They were frustrated by trying to get good intelligence on the way to an incident, or during an incident,” says Debby Murphy, founder and president of OpsCentral.

    “They had some good information - in manuals in the truck and things like that - but it was really fragmented and hard to access quickly,” Murphy says. “They’re trying to find and absorb all that in four minutes while also trying to actually see with their eyes what is happening at the site. We can bring all these things together.”

    Supporting commercialisation and growth

    Through Callaghan Innovation’s Technology Incubator programme, OpsCentral has entered into a joint venture with Bridgewest Ventures. 

    “We are really excited by this one,” says John Robson, General Manager of Bridgewest Ventures. “This can be a global business early on. It’s a really interesting combination of deep tech and a SaaS platform. And not just any SaaS platform, but a SaaS platform with purpose.”

    More than just investment, Bridgewest Ventures has two seats on the OpsCentral board, and is in close contact with Murphy, providing her with valuable access to key advisors and expertise.

    “It’s really helpful having Bridgewest Ventures there as a sounding board, and knowing it can connect me with other people who have the expertise I need, when I need it,” Murphy says.

    Making a real difference

    Now the single source of truth responders need, OpsCentral is preparing for global testing with fire departments around the world, its focus set on Australia, the US and the UK.

    While testing is focused on fire departments for now, Murphy says the company has plans to work with other emergency responders too. And, given the potential applications of the platform, other sectors such as large-scale event management, could also be on the cards.

    “It’s awesome, in the software space, to know you are using the skills you’ve earned across different industries on something that is actually going to make a difference,” Murphy says.

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