We’ve Expanded to Australia! SafetyCulture Joins the Node.js Foundation

Headquartered in Townsville, Australia and with offices all around the globe, including Sydney, San Francisco, Kansas City and Manchester, SafetyCulture is focused on making the workplace safer through technology.

The team recently joined the Node.js Foundation because they are dedicated to supporting the open source community that they are actively involved in and rely on. We sat down with Brett Porter, who is head of architecture at SafetyCulture, to hear more about the company’s interesting history and offerings, how they are using Node.js, and how they contribute to — and are planning to contribute more to — open source.

Q) Tell us a little bit about SafetyCulture: How did the company get started and what do you do?

Until 2002, Luke Anear, founder of SafetyCulture, was a workers’ compensation investigator. After witnessing the cost of workplace incidents to thousands of victims, their families and their employers, Luke decided to develop his own system for managing safety in the workplace. In 2004 this concept became a reality and in 2012 the SafetyCulture iAuditor app was launched. SafetyCulture iAuditor is now the world’s most-used checklist inspection app and has helped users perform more than 30 million safety and quality inspections in industries like construction, mining, aviation and transportation, hospitality and retail.

The power of SafetyCulture comes from taking advantage of mobile and cloud technologies. Field workers use mobile devices to conduct audits from anywhere and the SafetyCulture backend syncs those with the organization’s account in the cloud. Managers can easily monitor SafetyCulture Analytics, create teams, and implement new audit templates right from their desktop computers. That means managers have immediate visibility into field operations and open communication across worksites.

Q) Where are most of your customers based? What regions have been growing for you in the past few years?

We aim to help people who perform inspections and audits regularly, either to ensure their workplaces are safe or to ensure they have a quality systems in place. The regions we have the highest growth are English-speaking countries with strict safety regulations. SafetyCulture iAuditor is used in more than 150 countries around the world and is translated into 11 different languages.

Q) How are you using Node.js within your organization?

We use Node.js to power the majority of SafetyCulture’s backend services. SafetyCulture has been built as a cloud native, microservice architecture. This spans services such as management of customers’ inspections and media, device synchronisation, powering their workflow through notifications, API and integrations, or handling common services like authentication, billing and user management.

Q) Why did you decide to choose Node.js for your product?

As an early stage startup, the team was looking for a technology that allowed us to build new capabilities quickly, but also scale the service quickly. We also needed the flexibility to adapt easily to new customer requirements.

For a small team delivering an experience to the browser as well as managing the backend services and infrastructure, JavaScript was the best language choice so that developers could work more easily across multiple disciplines and utilise common toolchains.

Node.js provided the ability to scale quickly and easily to keep up with demand, while running cost effectively on small cloud instances.

Q) Why did you join the Node.js Foundation? How does the Foundation align with your objectives and goals as a company?

We were looking for an opportunity to contribute as an organisation to the success of the Node.js ecosystem. SafetyCulture recognises the role that the Node.js Foundation fills in making Node.js accessible to more developers, providing necessary resources to the community, and ensuring the continued vitality, independence and diversity of the core Node.js projects.

As a company, our goals are to provide a modern, stable, and scalable service to our customers, through a culture of engineering excellence in the teams that build our products. Being able to rely on Node.js to provide the basis of much of that service, and to continue to do so in the future, is very important to our team.

We also saw an opportunity to extend the reach of the Foundation’s membership. SafetyCulture is one of the few small but rapidly growing Australian startups, and we are the only member based out of Australia at this stage.

Q) Do you have employees that actively contribute to open source? If so, do they contribute to Node.js? What other projects are they contributing to?

Open source contribution is closely aligned with our values. We build on top of open source software every day, and contribute back wherever we are able to.

A number of employees contribute to projects and various npm modules by way of patches, improvements and fixes. We are now at the point of sharing more work by developing our own modules and components under an open source license.

Outside of their work with SafetyCulture, our employees have a long history of contribution to open source, including projects such as stampit, react-native, Lucene.NET, and Apache Maven. In addition, I currently have the privilege of serving as Chairman of the Apache Software Foundation.