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CASE STUDY: Using the Web to save lives

CASE STUDY: Using the Web to save lives

Sydney-based Web developer Uniqueworld has developed a Web site for Kellogg's and the Surf Life Saving Association of Australia (SLSA) which involves the innovative use of Web content to save lives and promote Kellogg's product.

The www.surfsafesummer.com.ausite contains Web camera images updated every 15 minutes from 12 main Australian beaches, with information reports from 30 major beaches. Every afternoon, these reports and images are downloaded by Channel Seven staff and will be displayed and assessed in their nightly news reports.

The site is part of Kellogg's main advertising strategy, a community-based project designed to educate Australians and visiting tourists about preventative water safety and the risks present at local beaches. The beaches that will be webcast are among those with the highest incidence of rescues and drownings in Australia.

Uniqueworld, which employs around 40 developers, began working on the site in November 1999, with a Webcam test run of Sydney beaches held during 2000. This summer, webcams from Melbourne and Adelaide beaches have been added, as well as the connection to Channel Seven News coverage.

The Web has afforded the SLSA and Kellogg's to provide a range of services in addition to SLSA local conditions reports and Webcam feeds. There is also streamed weather feeds from the entire coast and beach safety information in several languages.

Uniqueworld group managing director Tony Sharples said the Melbourne reports come through via a file transfer protocol and a Microsoft SQL database, while Sydney's reports are fed manually via fax or e-mail.

Sharples said the Kellogg's advertising campaign, and the corresponding news content on Channel Seven, is driving users to the site and increasing brand awareness for Kellogg's and safety awareness for the SLSA.

"For our client Kellogg's, this is a way of using the Web to leverage the money they spend on other media such as television," he said. "For users, it is a reliable source of information. There are a lot of surf sites out there, but they are usually ad-hoc jobs with reports coming from the guy in the local fish and chip shop."

Sharples said developing using Webcam technology was a refreshing job for his team of developers, a hard-earned break from installing shopping trolley functions day-in, day-out.


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