Former Vodafone CIO Rob James joins Firestory as Managing Director

Rob James, Managing Director at Firestory

Firestory, a cloud and AI Bushfire Intelligence platform, appointed Rob James as Managing Director. James, formerly Chief Digital and Information Officer at Vodafone, has been brought on board to drive the next phase of growth for the Australian software company. 

What does James bring to Firestory?

In addition to his telecommunications experience as Chief Digital & Information Officer at Vodafone and TPG Telecom, James served as Group CTO at Qantas where he drove tech implementations that used Cloud and AI/ML to optimise routes in order to conserve fuel.

Commenting on the new position, James, said, “After witnessing the devastating effects of the 2019 bushfire season, I am excited to be part of a technology company that is designing and building technology to prevent something like that from ever happening again.”

“Firestory is a game changer in how tech can help fight fires and save lives. The foundational features have been developed but there is a big job ahead to help firms digitally transform their operations and culture, in order to maximise the benefits that Firestory can deliver. I’m motivated to help deliver this to firefighters, whose lives depends on it.” said James. 

Angus Dorney, co-Chief Executive Officer at Kablamo

“We think Firestory can be a world leader in bushfire intelligence. Rob brings to the company a wealth of leadership and technology experience, including in aviation and communications – both of which are extremely relevant to the Firestory vision. That someone of Rob’s calibre has chosen this role is an exciting sign of the potential impact of the product, and the future of the Australian Firetech industry,” said Angus Dorney, co-Chief Executive Officer of Kablamo.

What is the market offering of Firestory?

Firestory was developed by Aussie tech company, Kablamo, in the wake of the 2019-2020 Black Summer bushfires. The platform builds on Kablamo’s experience of developing award winning AI/ML cloud platform for Victoria Department of Environment Land Water & Planning. The DELWP solution has enabled Victorian fire agencies to perform risk assessments and predictions for bushfire risk across the state, based on more than 40 years of bushfire data.  

Similarly, Firestory combines the power of human-centred design, cloud tech, data science and AI to enable enhanced operational decision making by fire agencies. Firestory can turn almost limitless amounts of bushfire data into decision-making intelligence, all on a “single pane of glass”. Fire agencies are provided access to real time data and insights, presented via an easy-to-understand user interface, which can inform critical operational decisions.  

With a strong and growing pipeline of potential future customers, Firestory is targeting growth in Australia and North America. In his new role as Managing Director, Rob James will help to accelerate development of the Firestory product, to interface with Australiana and Global Fire agencies and to develop Firestory’s ecosystem of firetech partners. 

Firestory will be rolling out with a major Australian fire agency implementation in time for this coming fire season. Firetech momentum is growing rapidly, including a recent announcement in USA of $35 million venture fund solely focused on backing tech that combats wildfires.

Australia should become world leader in this space because of our experience, technology and since we have more to lose from bushfires than almost any other country on earth. Firestory has been recognised globally. It was awarded Best Tech Innovation at the 2021 Finder Innovation Awards, Finalist of ACS Digital Disruptor Awards and a Gold award from the DRIVENxDESIGN Awards Program. Firestory was a Good Design Award winner in 2022.