As the Managing Director of FireMate, an asset management software platform— Rob Thomas has been truly innovative in his approach to contributing to Standards Australia. By implementing accessibility to Australian standards through the platform, Mr Thomas has created a world-first solution for communities to have an “alternative way to access Australian Standards while on the job.”
Rob Thomas is the Managing Director of FireMate, a software provider that has embedded current Australian Standards within an innovative platform that aims to support fire protection specialists more efficiently.
The initiative was spear-headed by Mr Thomas, who explains, “as a former fire protection professional with over 20 years of industry experience, I know how important it is to have current Australian standards at your fingertips.”
Mr Thomas has been part of the fire protection industry since his teenage years. He started ‘on the tools’ as an electrician, which enabled him to understand the challenges that on-site teams face every day.
“It was drummed into me that my work directly impacted the safety of every person in every building. We needed to get it right, and the Australian standards were the benchmark for all installations and maintenance. Later in my career, when I was managing teams of technicians, I likewise used the standards as a way of training new fire technicians,” Mr Thomas said.
While founding FireMate, Rob quickly recognised the need to make the Australian standards more accessible across the fire industry.
This accessibility to standards was pioneered as a solution, in partnership with Standards Australia and breaks through previous technical and commercial barriers. The solution means that critical information ensuring the safety of people and property is provided in real-time — when it’s truly needed.
“By automating industry best practice workflows and applying relevant standards, we can increase the productivity of fire technicians and the office teams that support them. This boosted productivity to the next level by presenting technicians with the correct information from the standards just when they needed it. This 'just-in-time' application of the standards eliminates search time inside a standard document, reduces the chance of errors and improves compliance against the relevant standards,” Mr Thomas said.
Speaking on this incredible feat — Adrian O’Connell, Chief Executive Officer of Standards Australia said “FireMate is the first of its kind. An innovative solution that brings Australian Standards into the hands of end-users through a modern digital platform. Which is an important step in our commitment, to better access to Australian Standards.”
Mr Thomas says he has seen the impact of FireMate on the fire protection industry, saying it’s “the most satisfying part.”
With this incredibly unique and groundbreaking way of contributing to Standards Australia, Mr Thomas’ was recognised with the 2022 Standards Australia Innovation Award.
This award acknowledges those who have championed new and better ways of developing standards or innovation in how standards are delivered to end users. Winners of this award demonstrate the vision to imagine disruptive change and the drive to deliver it.
“I’m very grateful to Standards Australia for this award. I see the award as recognition of work done by a broad team that includes the whole FireMate team, Standards Australia, our clients and industry colleagues I’ve worked with over the past 20 years. It’s very satisfying to know that a solution we’ve developed is helping fire technicians and others in the industry access the standards, ensuring compliance and ultimately making people and places safer”, Mr Thomas said.
For inspiring innovators, Mr Thomas says the key is to have a “disciplined approach to understanding market needs and having a can-do attitude.”
“We're constantly pushing the limits of what's possible, stretching and trying to deliver solutions beyond what our clients ask for or even thought was possible,” he concluded.