Microsoft partner Seven Sigma Business Solutions has played a hand in the development of an app to assist with Victoria's overhaul of its rail infrastructure.
Named KnApp – a portmanteau of knowledge and app – it utilises Microsoft SharePoint, PowerApps, Teams and Flow to provide those working on Victoria’s Level Crossing Removal Project (LXRP) access to work-related information and a communication platform.
The LXRP is a large-scale rail infrastructure project in Victoria, which involves, among other things, the removal of 75 level crossings across metropolitan Melbourne by 2025, new train stations, track duplication and train stabling yards.
Seven Sigma was brought on the project to work on the technology, code and design-led approach, who then brought on management consultancy Systemix to assist with the strategy, culture, teamwork and procurement.
Meanwhile, LXRP developed what Microsoft Australia referred to as “a specialised knowledge management model” for the app.
The collaborative elements allow for workers to share information to address issues on work sites. One example was an engineer at an Essendon site who noticed a road roller crew trialling safety halo light technology for a mobile plant, which kept pedestrians away from rollers.
The engineer took photos and shared this through KnApp, which was then picked up by other users to implement similar measures at their work sites.
This has been a long-term project with a completion estimated to occur in 2025. The initial strategy took place in December 2016 and the actual technology was implemented a year later. The process is still ongoing, with an initial pilot deployed for 250 people across five project sites.
When the project shifts into into stage one, KnApp is planned to be released to 1,000 employees.
Kevin Devlin, CEO of LXRP, said KnApp was introduced to help bridge the gaps in knowledge of the project partners’ workers due to the fact that they are a mix of employees and subcontractors and have varying skill levels.
“Many of these workers will be new to this sector – but need to learn the ropes quickly and safely,” Devlin said.
“The goal is that everyone working on these projects will have instant access to the same information as everyone else and be able to share their own on-the-job learnings.”
Lee Hickin, national technology officer at Microsoft Australia, added the app is a “prime example” of technology assisting firstline workers.
“Working with SevenSigma and Systemix, LXRP has been able to build a learning and communications platform that is delivering clear benefits today and fostering a learning culture among workers.”
Future updates to KnApp include utilising Microsoft Power Automate to capture and upload video and Teams integration into PowerApps to allow for workers to collaborate directly.
By doing so, this lays the groundwork for learning modules and videos for experienced workers to pass their knowledge onto newer workers.
Off the back of KnApp, LXRP is also looking into a standalone app that can be distributed independently.