In 2013, Boyd Peacock came up with the idea of a tracking app for companies to know where their staff were. Business reporter Jacob McSweeny talks to him about how Get Home Safe has attracted some big clients and doubled in size every year for the last four years.
Boyd Peacock's idea for software that kept track of workers stemmed from when he lived in Queenstown and wanted to go on long bike rides.
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"At the time I was living with people I didn't know very well.
"A random flatting situation kind of ... and telling them 'if I don't get home from a bike ride can you come look for me' was just a bit weird.
"But also they were probably a bit useless — probably would have been occupied at the pub, to be honest.
"No-one would have known I was overdue until I didn't show up to work the next day which is kind of useless when my phone's tracked where I've been. It just didn't know to tell anyone about it."
He saw the practical use of something like an app on a phone — something he described as a blend between internet banking and a fitness tracking app — that would keep tabs on where someone was and allow another person to access that information.
It was 2013 and smartphones were becoming mainstream.
Peacock started Get Home Safe out of Queenstown as a free personal safety app — it would record what users were doing, where they were going and then what time they wanted to check in.
"From that point on the app records your location ... and if you don't check in as planned we can send that information to who you ask it to."
The company moved to focus on workplace safety, and in 2016 Get Home Safe Corporate was launched.
It was targeted at people working alone and travelling for work.
From that point on it increased its client base to include some big contracts with government ministries and councils around the country.
"People come to us and say 'where do you sit in the market, why should we pick you over anyone else' and when you've got clients like that it makes those conversations a lot easier."
The company has doubled in size every year for the last four years, Peacock said.
"It's all going from strength to strength at the moment.
"And then Covid came along.
"Since then things have changed ... there's a requirement for knowing where people are and knowing they're OK and keeping some records of that.
"We've seen a bit of an uptake in interest in that."
"From an essential worker point of view a lot of people still out and about working, their workplaces are sparsely populated. Traditionally when there would have been people around, there's not anymore."
However, he was not interested in getting involved with contact tracing the Government was setting out to track Covid-19.
"We have apprehensions around our platform being suitable for that scale contact tracing ... where it's useful is at an organisation level, being able to keep records of where everyone's gone to for Level 3 and Level 2 so you can look back in time to see where your staff were.
"Hypothetically someone in the community [with Covid-19] shows up at the service station around the corner from your work, two days ago — being able to look through your records and say 'hey were any of our team at that service station at that time'. That's the level of our product.
"It's not a big community, contact tracing solution."
Peacock was also wary workers could have privacy concerns about being tracked by their employers.
"A lot of people instantly associate GPS technology with a Big Brother solution which we don't think we are. We're more in the location sharing side of it.
"The field worker is in complete control of when their location is shared ... You can start and stop location tracking as you see fit."
Get Home Safe moved its headquarters from Queenstown to Dunedin's George St in February. The move was in order to be in a bigger centre, Peacock said.
He was positive about the future.
"We've picked up quite a lot of work in the last two weeks. But some of that work that was in the pipeline before Covid ... we can see that being brought forward."