Global security firm Intergraph to develop, seek markets for NZ Police-developed app
By Pattrick Smellie
Sept. 15 (BusinessDesk) - Global security and government infrastructure firm Intergraph is entering a commercial partnership with the New Zealand Police to develop and find global markets for a police-developed software application that cuts the time police officers need to spend on paperwork, schedules tasks and gives officers in the field fast access to information.
Representatives of the police and Intergraph signed an intellectual property sharing agreement at police headquarters in Wellington that will see Intergraph invest "hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, millions of dollars over time" to further develop the OnDuty app, which is used by iPhone6-wielding kiwi coppers who helped develop it.
Claiming the collaboration was the first of its kind in the world, the Alabama-based president of Intergraph's security, government and infrastructure segment, Steven Cost, told BusinessDesk: "We really hope this becomes a supercharged innovation environment."
The key to OnDuty's development had been putting police IT developers and frontline police officers together to develop the OnDuty app, which seeks not just to speed up existing official processes, but also to re-engineer them for use as a mobile tool.
For example, standard forms that a police officer might fill out on a computer in an office were not simply transferred to the mobile app.
"We are trying to get staff touching the screen no more than they need to," said police deputy chief executive Mark Evans. "We're trying to re-engineer business processes rather than replicating the forms. We've gone back to first principles.
"Everything we're delivering has been designed by frontline staff, with them in mind," said Evans, who sees the police transformation programme and includes special relationships with other providers, including Auckland-based crime-fighting software developer Wynyard Group. "There's been no separate ICT development."
Rather than officers having to seek information by radio or mobile phone from a central communications office, OnDuty allowed a range of information routinely required in the field to be pulled up, although Evans said this was not a "big data" play.
"It's very targeted and precise as to what we can use information for."
Under the deal, police will transfer all IP rights to the OnDuty suite of applications to Intergraph, with Intergraph providing development resources for three to five years in return, with the police earning royalties income based on the value of sales by Intergraph.
"The global reach of an organisation such as Intergraph will ensure the best possible exposure for the intellectual property developed in collaboration with New Zealand Police, and we expect that agreements such as this will prove to be a fundamental building block to the success of NZ Inc," said Evans.
With some 50 percent of all police interactions involving roadside stops, the app was helping to speed up interactions with the public and more swiftly identify whether a vehicle or its occupants might be of interest to law enforcement authorities.
"If the policeman is recording in real time then the data is never lost," said Cost. "Minor details taken on scene become part of the record and details will much more robust than if they're being transcribed back at the station."
Other uses the app could be put to could include taking witness statements, ending duplication of information collection as different officers worked the same scene, and writing tickets.
The relationship with Intergraph had built up over more than 20 years, said Evans, and was one of only a few such partnerships.
"When we develop a strategic partnership, we try to enable joint working. It's not a customer/vendor relationship."
(BusinessDesk receives funding from Callaghan Innovation to assist coverage of the commercialisation of innovation.)