An app a day: three top innovations to watch out for

An app a day: three top innovations to watch out for
The NZ Innovators Awards had plenty of techy goodies in the bag, including an app to get you home safely, a way to aggregate social media in real time and a check-in app used on Steven Spielberg's superyacht.

This year's NZ Innovators Awards had plenty of brain fodder to chew on, including these three techy innovations.

GetHomeSafe, finalist, marketing and communications

GetHomeSafe is a free app designed to create a revolution in personal safety, calling for help when you or your phone can’t. Whether it’s a boating outing, a bit of downhill biking, or even a cheeky night out, you just register what your plans are and the app will check up on you throughout your chosen activity.

The app works (through buzz and beep reminders) even without coverage to remind you to extend or stop tracking before your time expires. You just hit ‘stop’ once you want to deactivate – so if things haven’t gone as planned, it’ll automatically send an alert to the people you’ve selected as contacts. Mums and dads all over the world will finally be able to rest easily at night.

The app achieved 4,634 downloads in its first week, with judges saying the concept, if marketed well internationally, could be very successful as well as providing a platform for further opportunities: “Fantastic idea – a clever blend of GPS, cellular, text, online and offline technology combined for smooth user experience.”

SwipedOn, finalist, Information communications technology; export innovator; emerging innovator

Hadleigh Ford built SwipedOn to answer one simple question: do you know who’s on site in the event of an emergency? Ford had been working on superyachts, where the antiquated in/out board and shabby visitor sign-in sheets were at odds with the plush nature of the boats.

He came up with the iPad app as an interface to register contractors, visitors and employees on any site. If an emergency happens, the information is right there on the tablet so everyone can be swiftly checked off. It was also inspired by the Wellington and Christchurch earthquakes. More than emergency, it also wirelessly prints visitor ID labels and sorts out payroll processing.

Ford’s app is now used on Steven Spielberg’s superyacht, at prestigious boarding schools in the UK and on construction and engineering sites all over the world.

Judges said it was honest and inspiring, a great story of early-stage innovation: “So practical, brilliant – what a great Kiwi idea for the world!”, finalist, music, media and entertainment

Matthew and Georgina Miller created, a new cloud-based display wall that aggregates and displays real-time social media updates in a beautiful interface, after their observation of three key trends over the past five years. They’d noticed widespread adoption of social media, smartphone uptake, and the affordability of large display screens for public events. was designed to create buzz around an event and make the most of interactivity. Social media can be chaotic and fragmented, and it’s often difficult to get an overview of the conversations that are going on on various platforms at any one time.
Some happen on Facebook, some on Twitter, some Instagram. Some use a hashtag, some don’t, or multiple hashtags can happen for one event.

They saw the opportunity for a simple web-based application that would bring everything into one easy-to-use, aesthetically pleasing display, where the whole work would see the stream of content unfolding in real time. It has application for weddings, business expos, conferences, political events and more.

Judges said it was a great, simple idea that met a very important market need: “Beautiful design and user interface.”

Idealog has been covering the most interesting people, businesses and issues from the fields of innovation, design, technology and urban development for over 12 years. And we're asking for your support so we can keep telling those stories, inspire more entrepreneurs to start their own businesses and keep pushing New Zealand forward. Give over $5 a month and you will not only be supporting New Zealand innovation, but you’ll also receive a print subscription and a copy of the new book by David Downs and Dr. Michelle Dickinson, No. 8 Recharged (while stocks last).