09 November, 2021
A mobile app designed to give Royal New Zealand Navy personnel immediate access to the administrative information, processes and regulations they need to know for their role has been announced as the New Zealand Defence Force Innovation of the Year.
Called HomePort, it replicates the detailed information contained in the Navy Divisional Handbook and makes it available as a downloadable app that sailors and officers can access 24 hours a day.
The idea for the app came from a workshop three years ago when problems were raised over access to important administrative information.
“The feedback that drove the project was that no sailor is going to carry around a weighty divisional book,” said Russell Martin, Navy’s Portfolio Manager. “Many junior sailors don’t have regular internal online access to find the information they need but they all have mobile phones and they all use apps. This is where the HomePort app idea was born.”
Now sailors can access almost everything they need to know about their Navy when and where they need it: resettlement assistance; leave queries; financial advice; urgent contact details for base welfare support; career guidance and even how to tie a tally ribbon on their hats.
HomePort also allows for important notifications to be sent direct to registered users as well as displaying the Navy’s Facebook page.
Only six months after HomePort’s launch, two thirds of Navy personnel have downloaded the app and more are registering each week. Further enhancements to the app are planned to ensure that HomePort is constantly evolving and providing the functionality and value that personnel are looking for.
Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral David Proctor, has been a key supporter of the HomePort project from the start as he wanted to remove the hurdle of sailors getting the information they needed. He was impressed that the idea for a Navy tool came from the Navy itself.
“Innovation doesn’t just come from international think tanks or idea incubators. In HomePort’s case, it has come from sailors who simply asked ‘can we do better?’ Three years later, and with a lot of effort from a lot of people, we can say ‘yes we can and yes we have.’ Receiving the NZDF innovation Award is testament to that.”