How Melbourne-based agency Indietech used big data to tackle Legionella with 'Clarity' app launch

5.jpgIndietech, a Melbourne-based digital agency is moving beyond the realms of the traditional creative world by developing a world-first application to help predict and prevent major Legionella outbreaks.

From an industry sector not typically known for helping solve scientific problems, Indietech director Ben Dexter said the creative industry can often play a key role in disrupting industrial B2B industries due to an ability to think outside of the square.
Created for major water treatment company HydroChem, 'Clarity' is an online application that presents real-time field data - from facilities across Australia - in visualisations, enabling Asset Managers to quickly view and understand vast amounts of water health information at a glance.

In 2013, there were 508 confirmed cases of Legionella within Australia and just last month, four cases of Legionnaire's disease were confirmed in Adelaide, prompting a call by health authorities for checks of air conditioning cooling towers.

Legionnaires' disease is contracted when a person inhales aerosols containing Legionella bacteria, usually from cooling towers and other unchecked water sources. For the elderly, smokers and people with compromised immune systems, it can be fatal.

HydroChem CEO Nick Duncan said there was a clear need to create a more effective solution to prevent such outbreaks, while also streamlining the often-laborious reporting process that could take companies days to produce for compliance purposes.

Says Duncan: "Clarity allows us to essentially predict the future of a Legionella outbreak by looking at a water system and its associated history.

"In the case of a suspected legionella outbreak that has been associated with a suburb or region, Clarity users can produce compliance documentation to health officials with just a few clicks, reassuring authorities their facilities are not the source of infection.

"In the past, this process has taken many hours and has hindered the ability of health officials to quickly isolate and resolve the outbreak."

Clarity allows HydroChem's clients to log directly into the portal, enabling them to see their system's entire water health nation wide, from anywhere in the world.

Aside from providing benefits in terms of predicting potential outbreaks of Legionnaires disease, the data obtained by Clarity also helps clients prevent large scale corrosion and scaling, issues, which can cost businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Dexter said Indietech embraced the opportunity to derive meaningful insights from HydroChem's client data. Equally compelling to the Indietech team was how they could begin to convert that knowledge into action.

Says Dexter: "Traditionally, businesses haven't been able to extract deeper learnings from their data. But with newer technologies and techniques, the doors have opened for businesses, and marketers, to really start leveraging this data, uncover its hidden value and gain a serious competitive edge.

"By looking beyond classic digital marketing practices of communicating a product or service's features and benefits, we're able to harness big data to develop interactive insights that can tell the story in a whole new way. This is where business can really start to influence buying decisions."

With Clarity, not only is there a prevention of potentially life threatening disease, but also economic benefits for the customer.

Says Dexter: "Years ago there would have been a person sitting at a desk in every building we looked after, now we have one person managing 60 buildings around Australia.

"Clarity gives our customers the opportunity to dive deep into data and look at the last 12 months of microbiological reports, or any other information they would like from their system, all in a streamlined dashboard."

Duncan said the biggest issue faced in the industrial sector is the ability to present data in a meaningful way that is easy to digest. 

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