Technology Record - Issue 32: Spring 2024

128 BY REBECCA GIBSON Microsoft’s Brett Lightfoot, Kenya McKenzie-Jones and Andy Pitman explain how technologies such as the cloud, automation and AI can help social and care organisations to work more productively and deliver coordinated and personcentric care to vulnerable people Every second counts during an incident of violence. However, police and social services often have limited power to intervene, and often only after significant emotional, psychological or physical harm has occurred. To provide more immediate assistance, Australiabased charity StandbyU Foundation has developed an industry-first application, which is built on Microsoft Azure and programmed into standard smart watches. With StandbyU Shield, victims can now click a button to secretly broadcast the incident in real-time to a selected network of friends, family and support workers, who can see their location and organise any necessary assistance. During a trial funded by the Australian Government, more than 400 community workers were able to respond to 3,000 alerts for help and all 100 of the StandbyU Shield users said it improved their wellbeing, while 93 per cent said it significantly increased their safety. However, the fact governments need to trial such applications is a damning indictment on the increasing difficulties social care, law enforcement, healthcare and other public sector organisations are facing when trying to help and protect vulnerable citizens. “Sadly, we’re seeing a dramatic increase in family, sexual violence and child safety offences and frontline staff are under more pressure than ever before,” says Brett Lightfoot, Microsoft’s regional business leader for government in Asia and state director for public sector in Queensland and Northern Territory, Australia. “Child safety officers can be carrying up to three times the recommended caseloads, and it’s not unusual for a police officer to spend half of their shift dealing with domestic, family and child safety offences. This comes with additional documentation, reporting, referral management and other administrative burdens.” FEATURE Transforming and health social delivery Photo: iStock/hapabapa