Article | From Idea to App

From Idea to App

Follow the life-cycle of a good idea as it develops into seriously good technology. What does it take? Here’s the inside scoop on a life-changer.

Recently a woman in Stoke went into cardiac arrest. A police officer used his AED Locator app to find the closest defibrillator. Nelson Bays Area Commander Inspector Mat Arnold-Kelly said the situation was urgent.

“The officers used an app on their smartphones to locate the nearest defibrillator, which was at a local supermarket. Thankfully they were able to get the defibrillator and successfully re-started the woman’s heart.”

At last count there were over 5000 AED locations in the New Zealand database. The free iPhone and Android apps will quickly tell you the closest defibrillators.

First the good idea

Gareth Jenkin, a Paramedic and Resuscitation Trainer, had a good idea. He was training thousands of people how to save lives using an AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) but he could not tell his students where to find one.

Gareth’s good idea: “put defibrillator locations online”.

Let’s recap

Gareth had identified the problem: AEDs sat idle as people died nearby. He was motivated not by profit but by the impact a national database could have on the problem. Gareth had identified the need but he had no money or knowledge to build the solution.

“I didn’t have the money or the technical know-how,” Gareth Jenkin.

Defining the possibilities

In November 2010, Abletech heard about Gareth’s vision via a New Zealand Listener magazine article. Abletech approached Gareth and made an offer of web and mobile services at no charge.

Gareth and Abletech worked together to define what was possible. They talked about the idea and the problem. They analysed what was required and how the solution would work. Next they designed and built the web and mobile apps, keeping each other in the loop as the solution developed.

The solution to the problem

The website built by Abletech, is the hub of AED Locations. New AED locations are mapped online every day. Gareth uses Mapmysites to update the data for the AED Locations website. This automatically updates the iPhone app and the Android app. All the technology, including the hosting, has been provided by Abletech.

*It was a good idea and we could help, plain and simple *Carl Penwarden, Abletech.

Gareth likens AED Locations to a lighthouse, “nobody pays for it, but it keeps people safer”. He says that Abletech has been the back-bone of the project. Abletech say the success of AED Locations is in Gareth’s determination and maintenance of the data. “He does the hard work. He tirelessly promotes AED Locations and encourages owners to list their AED locations,” says Carl Penwarden, Managing Director of Abletech.

Ongoing maintenance

Gareth explains that all police have Apple devices, iPads and iPhones, and these all have the AED Locations app on them. In addition to adding new AED locations daily, Gareth promotes the use of the app. Trainers promote the app. Ambulance services use the service to direct bystanders to AEDs. AED suppliers can invite new owners to add their AED. Gareth sends out stickers to people who register their unit to increase the visibility of both the AED and the website.

Seriously good

Gareth says he’s stubborn. He doesn’t sell AEDs or work for a national organisation. Money is not his motivation; he says he does all this for love. Gareth uses Facebook for media feeds and research and if people want to advertise through posts they can. This keeps AED discourse live and current but allows AED Locations to be clear and uncluttered.

Since 2010 Gareth’s nurtured his good idea into a quick, searchable national database and it’s making a real difference. A good idea and good technology, combining for the public good.

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