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My FireFly innovation is a smart mobile application, set to completely revolutionise home safety and fire prevention by bringing a proactive approach to fire safety through the use of IoT, advanced algorithms and AI technologies.

Winning a Merit at the 2018 Victorian State iAwards paved the way for me to the National iAwards, where I obtained a Merit in the Undergraduate Tertiary Student category. Taking up the invitation and challenge, I pursued my idea to the next stage and entered the Asia Pacific ICT Awards (APICTA) in China, where I again won a Merit. Achieving this recognition has given my startup idea a whole new perspective!

What made you enter the iAwards?

For the past two years, I’ve been heavily invested in the startup industry, working on an innovative product that eventuated into the FireFly device. I’ve been lucky enough to have been guided and mentored through the startup process by Dr Selvi Kannan, who suggested I submit my idea to the Victorian State iAwards. After reading up on what the iAwards had achieved in past years and hearing some of the inspirational outcomes that have come about through the program, the decision to apply was an obvious one.

Why would you recommend entering the iAwards?

The iAwards is an outstanding program; it’s professional, well organised, and provides the time and space to share with like-minded people, who understand the overwhelming world of innovation. There are many things that people can gain from being involved with the iAwards program; I highly recommend getting professional feedback and making invaluable connections. The iAwards is a competition that has no discrimination for young or old – the categories encourage the age/talent mix.

What did you learn from pitching at the National iAwards?

The pitching process that I went through was an amazing opportunity to practise my public speaking skills and allowed me to present myself in a professional environment. It was a great time for me to share my pitch. It was a definite way to refine my idea through the pitching and feedback gathered from the judges, and a definite confidence builder!

What advice/tips would you give fellow innovators considering entering?

Don’t be afraid to enjoy the process. Looking back over the past year, I can’t help but smile when I think of all the experiences I have had and all the people I have met. Being involved in the startup world is encompassed by long hours and very hard work, so it can be easy to forget to enjoy the process. Take time to think, reflect and enjoy too.

How does it feel to have won a Merit at APICTA?

The experience of receiving a Merit award is a process and experience I will hold close to my heart for a very long time to come. It’s not until you are at the Awards Ceremony, which this year was held in Guangzhou, that you begin to understand the talent you’re up against.

What’s next for FireFly?

My next stage is to move from prototype testing to a possible pilot launch. It looks promising, as a contact I made through my mentor – RACV – has shown much interest and has put me in contact with the Telstra IoT Labs. Once these technical aspects are at the final stage, I will be seeking funding for my next big journey.

Do you have a fun fact about your iAwards journey?

What started out as a home competition, has taken me to another part of the world. Funny how my innovation sparked a journey and definitely a fire in me too. Thanks, iAwards!