Two in three people who believe they can identify a rip are unable to do so when put to the test. With young men 15-39 most likely to get caught up in rips Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA) partnered with Samsung and their creative agency to develop an innovative idea that used mobile technology to help promote safety and awareness on Australian beaches.
Using real time data to answer a long-standing awareness challenge impressed the judges at Cannes Festival of Creativity, where the campaign won a silver award in the creative data category and two bronze awards for health and wellness tech and creative data enhancement.
Released on Google Play, Pocket Patrol is an innovative app that enables swimmers to identify rip currents on the device they use most, their smartphone. Samsung research indicates that 85% of beachgoers take a smartphone to the beach.
Using the camera view on a phone or tablet with the app installed, qualified lifeguards/lifesavers place markers on the touch screen to identify beach hazards, updating the information throughout the day. Beachgoers download and open the app on their phone. By accessing the android device’s camera and panning the beach, the Pocket Patrol app identifies hazards such as rips, submerged rocks, shallow banks and stingers.
Pocket Patrol was trialled in a one-month program at Queensland’s Coolum Beach and Alexandra Headland in October 2016.
In just four weeks the app had 3,600 downloads, and the campaign reached 13.2 million beachgoers through live events, social media, a virtual reality 360 film and online video promotions. International media coverage followed the innovative story, connecting with more than 20 million people, delivering the Surf Life Saving Australia message, promoting beach safety and driving awareness of the dangers of rip currents.
“When we partnered with Surf Life Saving Australia, the app began falling into place. In the end, it was a great collaboration. With projects like these we find that everybody’s very passionate, not just because they’re exciting projects but because they truly make a difference.” said Brett Turnbull, Samsung Head of Digital.
“Working on something that could potentially save someone’s life drove a lot of passion from all parties involved.” Mr Turnbull said.
Surf Life Saving Australia, National Coastal Risk and Safety Manager, Shane Daw said, “The award recognition of the Samsung Pocket Patrol app placed Surf Life Saving Australia on the international stage as ‘
“All too often Australians get into trouble because they either haven’t checked for rips currents, can’t identify a rip or underestimate the strength of currents. We are very pleased to partner with Samsung in this trial, to give surf lifesavers another resource to continue educating beachgoers of the potential hazards on our beaches, which can save lives,” Mr Daw said.
Surf Life Saving Australia continues to work with Samsung on the partnership, with a standalone kit to be sent out to all SLS state offices in the coming months. SLS State offices will then be equipped to share this new hazard education tool with club members and the general public, so more people can experience this innovative technology first hand this summer season.