Surf Life Saving Queensland and Romeo Digital launch world-first beach safety technology Life-Fi

Life-Fi_Hero (1).jpgSurf Life Saving Queensland and Romeo Digital are introducing a world-first in beach safety technology with the launch of Life-Fi.

Digital innovation Life-Fi is set to save lives this summer by breaking down the communication barriers between surf lifesavers and international tourists.

The new technology provides access to unlimited free wi-fi between the flags and enables beachgoers of different nationalities to receive live surf patrol instructions in their own language, without requiring app download.

Says Oscar Nicholson, head of innovation, Romeo Digital: "Life-Fi connects people's mobiles to an interface that detects their language settings and automatically serves them culturally specific information."

In the past 10 years there have been 75 drownings recorded on Queensland beaches and, of these, 31 fatalities (41%) were international tourists or recent migrants.

Says Marco Eychenne, creative director, Romeo Digital: "Life-Fi has a powerful purpose. To communicate briefly and effectively to different cultures, we designed prevention messages with a universal visual approach. In a matter of seconds, people are informed of what to do to stay safe."

Backed by Queensland's Department of Innovation and Tourism Industry Development, the first stage of Life-Fi roll out will be across ten tourism hotspots, in time for the school holidays.

Says John Brennan, CEO, SLSQ" "For us, the benefits are two-fold; it's a great way to encourage all swimmers to stay between the flags and, importantly, with the steep increase in overseas visitation, Life-Fi is going to help us save more lives."

Life-Fi is the first application of Romeo's breakthrough Actify Live technology, which enables a direct dialogue between a brand and a person, without having to download an app. Romeo is the digital sibling of Rumble Creative and part of the Rumbletown group of agencies.

Client: Surf Life Saving Queensland
Kym Richardson: Media & Public Affairs Manager
Kelsie Boucher: State Marketing Manager

Agency: Romeo Digital
Head of Innovation: Oscar Nicholson
Managing Director: Amanda Schultz
Creative Director: Marco Eychenne
Art Director: Marco Eychenne
Lead Designer: Jade Stephens
Illustrator: Madeleine Perrin
Copywriter: Mike Kennedy
Head of Strategy: Scott Esdaile
Technical Director: Joel Garvey
Developer: Jonny Lu
Developer: Michael Schmidt
Developer: Chris Nowlan
Account Manager: Caitlin Lilley

Managing Director: Damian Coren


Mono said:

Smart. Nice to see some creative work that really makes a difference.

I like it said:

I like it.

Thinking it through said:

Not everyone can fit on the sand between the flags. So while I may gravitate to between the flags for standing-room free wi-fi when out the water, when it’s time to swim - and since I don’t use my phone when I swim - I’d just gravitate back to where I was: outside the flags.

Good for uncrowded beaches, where the issue of drowning is less prevalent.

Fundamentally flawed - but admirable.

C said:

Be good to see Surf Life Saving commit to one idea.
Whatever happened to PocketPatrol?

Logic Flaw said:

Everyone has data on their phone these days so who needs to connect to a WiFi network. This idea would have made sense 10 years ago, not any more.

KGB said:

@ Logic Flaw

Not true, especially if you’re on holidays here. Most have no data, hence the desirability of WiFi in accommodation. It’s a good and practical idea, for a very real issue (I’ve watched enough Bondi Rescue to be a pro).

On another note...

How’s the old M&C-Optus-sharko-prevento getting along?

Seems Maroubra is still using nets. It seems like another ad agency initiative was superficial, flawed and unfit for purpose.

Or maybe it was fit for M&C’s purpose?

award season approaches said:

Good award idea... But that's where it ends.

The people who need it most. said:

Those in danger of drowning because they swim outside the flags won't get the safety message because they're outside the flags?

@ KGB said:

You're conflating sharks with rips. You don't swim between the flags to avoid sharks.
And you call yourself an outdated Commie spy outfit.

Love the idea, but... said:

Public wi-fi from what's essentially a pineapple - can easily be spoofed by a man-in-the-middle.

Still like the thinking none the less, just wonder if they thought through the tech side fully.

Done said:

exact same idea construct was done about 5 years ago. Called Shade Cinema or something. Won quite a few awards. I think the tide has gone out on this one guys

Get a Life, Save a Life said:

It's not about surfing the net while you're at the beach. It's about being informed of the conditions at the beach. This will win awards because it'll prove effective. If one persons life is saved then it's already won and doesn't need the industry to recognise it.

Nice AstroSanding said:

But it's inherently flawed.

I go between the flags for free wi-fi. I out down my phone and swim wherever I want.
Come on... think it over for one second!

@get a life said:

Free Floaties available only between the flags would be better...

@Get a Lie, Save a Life said:

How would you prove a life has been saved?

Hand waving over head said:

There are international visitors to Queensland beaches who think the flags are a pay-to-enter zone. And others who feel excluded - Its where these guys in loud yellow clothing come up them waving their arms to try to get them do confusing things.

So, surf patrol signage in multiple languages offering free wi-fi, followed by live beach safety information, again in their language, and no App needed?

Guys, it's gonna make a difference. How much so, will play out over time.

Re Hand Waving said:

So would free pies and a pamphlet.

This is tech for tech’s sake (and awards’ sake.)

Advertising Surf Life Saver said:

I work in advertising. I volunteer as a surf life saver. I am, in fact, a Patrol Captain on the Gold Coast. I believe this will make a big difference for my team, who constantly struggle to get people to swim between the flags. Locals, because they don't think they need to — and our advice to them is to set an example for others. Tourists, because they turn up en masse and have no idea what they are supposed to be doing. With this Life-fi tech, I won't have to intercept them clutching my phrasebook, trying to explain that the safest place to swim is in front of us — between the flags. And if you don't agree that fee wifi attracts people, go and sit down at Macca's for an hour. (And if you feel like walking away from the flags once you've used the wifi, we'll still be watching you.)

The argument is in the argument said:

Rephrase your idea to be about speaking swimmers’ language to save lives, and I get it. Because that’s the only real novelty here - not attracting people wifh free wi-fi.

D&ADDY said:

Is ANYBODY doing real work, or are we still obsessed with life saving, charity, save the world, amnesty international, reef saving award bait?

Just asking.

Re Re Hand Waving said:

So you'll be life saver handing out pamphlets and five dollar pies all day. ...Ok.

julian said:

Some of the mental leaps you guys make in the name of shitstirring are impressive.

This makes it easy to push lifesaving information directly into the hands of people who otherwise might not get it. Plus, free wifi. Not hard to understand why this will work.

So like... said:

what if you're already in the water?

ailes said:

You're not meant to swim after a free pie.

p said:

What if you already drowned and your phone is off?

what if said:

You had no phone?
Check mate, mate.

Nancy Hartley said:

Congratulations to the Romeo team and SLSQ for not only creating a means of communication that's never been possible before, but for trialling it earlier this year, then seeking and securing funding through the Queensland Government's $34m Connecting with Asia Strategy. It's a real solution to a real problem for a real client that is really happening. The most useful link is this one to the coverage of the Minister for Tourism's announcement:

@@Get a Lie, Save a Life said:

Surf Life Saving collects an enormous amount of data around rescues, warning swimmers, numbers on the beach, numbers in the water, numbers swimming outside the flags, craft users, and just about everything else that occurs on a patrolled beach. No doubt, they'll be collecting data about people using the wi-fi and swimming between the flags. More than enough for a Pink Pony video, or to save lives. So, what's wrong with that?

Paul Flint said:

Tech wise, I doubt it is a world first. At a guess, a battery pack and 4G wireless access point.
Nice idea but as we have had the technology to do this for many years, the fact that it hasn't already been done is probably a good indicator that it won't be as effective as hoped.
There are some good responses to criticism here especially regarding visitors who may not have data roaming but my guess is no research has been done to with typical beach visitors from the major tourist visitor nations.
Australia are way behind when it comes to typical services and features bundled with our mobile price plans.
I am pretty sure I have also seen mobile apps that offer similar features with regards to localised beach safety information.
Pointless emphasis on free wi-fi available between the flags as forgive me if I am wrong but the flags are not always the same distance apart are they?
So the wi-fi signal will be available in a radius from the device dependent on signal strength and sources of interference.
My final point would be that some of these fatalities are people who cannot swim. If a person is stupid enough to enter the sea when they can't swim, what makes you think they would a. bother to read any safety advice and b. take notice of it.

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