Hamish Fletcher

Business reporter for the NZ Herald

NZ technology gives backup to Olympic bikers

Competitors such as Poland's Maja Wloszczowska will be kept safe during their Olympic races because emergency services will be at the most optimal places. Photo / AP
Competitors such as Poland's Maja Wloszczowska will be kept safe during their Olympic races because emergency services will be at the most optimal places. Photo / AP

Mountain bikers who take a spill and need ambulance attention at the Olympic Games should get treatment faster because of Kiwi technology.

Auckland-based Optima Corporation produces software informing ambulance operators where they need to place vehicles and how many paramedics they need to service each part of a region.

The software analyses variables such as traffic during a certain time of day, the weather and the road quality to work out where vehicles need to be to meet emergency response times in different suburbs or communities.

Following a deal with the East of England ambulance service this year, the technology is in play in Essex and Hertfordshire where Olympic mountain biking and canoe slalom events will take place.

Optima's European sales director Tim Lynskey said the software was designed to test and give recommendations for the "what if" scenarios.

"What's the impact, for instance, of another couple of million tourists being in their patch over the course of the Olympics? [It will tell them] have they got enough resources on the road? Have they got their vehicles in the right locations to address the spikes in demand?" he said.

The contract with the East of England ambulance services is one of three Optima has signed in Britain since October last year.

Collectively, the three deals were worth $2.5 million to the company.

While East of England is using Optima's prediction product in the lead-up to the games, the Scottish ambulance service has purchased the company's "live" software.

This delivers real-time recommendations to ambulance staff based on changing data on where vehicles need to be located to provide an area with the best coverage and services.

Optima chief executive Chris Mackay said the British deals added to others in the United States, Australia and Scandinavia.

Optima was founded 14 years ago by students and staff at the University of Auckland's engineering faculty.

In its early years the company provided software models for airlines. Its first project was a system to manage crew rosters for Air New Zealand, saving the airline $14 million a year.

- NZ Herald

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