• 2019

  • Social Impact

Designed By:

Commissioned By:

Surf Life Saving Queensland

Designed In:


Life-Fi is a patented technology platform, and a first for media, that solves a universal beach safety challenge — that of ensuring people gravitate to patrolled areas, where they can swim safely, and educating them about current beach conditions in real time through a mobile phone experience in their own language.

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  • Surf Life Saving Australia is “striving for zero preventable deaths” in Australian waters, with a 50% reduction by 2020. Fifty people drowned on Australian beaches in 2017 — drownings occurring outside patrolled areas. Beachgoers don’t understand, don’t see, or can’t read the beach report — migrants and tourists account for over a third of drownings in Australia. Research showed that 1.2 million Australians consider their device to be the top beach essential — ahead of sun protection. With mobile app downloads diminishing in the last few years, it is clear that people don’t want another app of limited use cluttering their phone.

  • We needed a solution that would leverage the ubiquity of mobile phones on the beach to change behaviour and get people between the red-and-yellow flags. Operated from portable units, with a DNS, 4G router and web server, Life-Fi generates a wireless network that only works between the flags. Life-Fi connects people’s mobiles to an interface that automatically detects their language setting. Beachgoers receive real-time live surf patrol instructions in their own language – no app download required. We designed prevention messages with a universal visual approach. In a matter of seconds, people are informed of what to do to stay safe.

  • After a successful trial, funding was secured through the Queensland Government’s $34 million ‘Connecting with Asia Strategy’. The Life-Fi launch on the Gold Coast reached nearly 1 million people Australia-wide, and millions more across China and Korea, through China’s national online news service, Australian news reports were syndicated across 44 stations. The technology product is now able to be rolled out to save lives globally. When it comes to results, any life saved is a great outcome — Fifty lives a year would be worth far more than the investment of creativity, time and money.

  • Timeline Life-Fi was trialled in April 2018, launched on 16 November 2018, and rolled out to 10 tourism hotspots in Queensland (Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Green Island Cairns), with a further 4 units able to move along the coast as needed. A patent application was accepted in late 2018. Across TV, radio and social media, the response was extremely positive, with multiple requests for Life-Fi to be introduced elsewhere — Surf Life Saving New Zealand, Surf Life Saving New South Wales and the Surf Life Saving Association of Japan are looking to implement Life-Fi.