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Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Sydney Schools Wet Weather Line (now on iphone)

Just in time for the final term of the year, I've now finished writing the iphone version of the school sports wet weather app.

The fundamental challenge is that even the most technophobic of parents have better access to technology than the head of sports at most schools.

There are three reasons for this:

  • There's a technology curve: first the scientists dream it up; then the military want it; then businesses find commercial uses for it; then consumers ask for it; then it becomes a toy for children; finally, years later, it becomes available to schools.
  • The kind of fit-and-rugged outdoors kind of person that wants to spend their life helping kids play sport is not the sort of person fascinated by the latest gadgets. Even if 
  • A muddy field in the middle of nowhere at dawn is not a place where technology reigns. Voice is often the only good option, SMS is possible. Updating a web page is a challenge.


The parents want messages pushed to them. But the school often has a lot invested (in time, money and often face) in whatever solution is currently being used to distribute sport status, even if the school is aware that it doesn't scale well and has issues.

So I've implemented the only solution that really works: 
  • If the school doesn't mind changing their wet weather phone number, the head of sport can call a number, leave a message and have that instantly pushed out to all parents who use the app. Other parents can call in.
  • If the school can't change their wet weather phone number, then I've also written a centralised dialler that regularly calls the school's existing wet weather line, and pushes any new messages out to parents' phones as soon as it finds out.
I've also had a number of requests to get this push function include into the school's own custom app as well.

Here's the iphone version:

On average, I'm getting more than one new school per week asking to come on board. It's nice to have a start-up project with such quick traction!