RapidSOS CEO outlines plans to integrate smart-grid, smart-city data into public-safety platform
RapidSOS yesterday announced that it has completed a $55 million funding round that the company expects to use in supporting development of its public-safety data-clearinghouse platform that quickly has gained momentum in the 911 and first-responder communities, according to CEO Michael Martin.
Launched in a pilot with Google in January 2018, the RapidSOS data-clearinghouse platform is now delivering information—at no cost to 911 centers—to more than 3,500 public-safety agencies serving about 90% of the U.S. population, according to RapidSOS CEO Michael Martin.
Known initially for supplying 911 centers with enhanced location information about emergency callers using cellular phones via cooperative agreements with companies like Apple, Google and Uber, RapidSOS is working with multiple partners to supply public safety with other useful information from health sensors and wearables, Martin said.
RapidSOS currently is working with American Heart Association and the MedicAlert Foundation “to provide basic health-profile information around every medical emergency,” Martin said yesterday during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “We’re looking at extending that into real-time health data from wearable devices … connected building information and vehicle telematics.
“We really envision this world where, during every emergency, there’s this suite of rich information that’s available to 911 and first responders.”
Of course, the number of deployed sensors is expected to explode during the next several years as “Smart X” initiatives—smart grids, smart cities, smart building, etc.—mature throughout society. Each of these sensors have information that potentially could help those within public-safety ecosystem the improve their response efforts, and RapidSOS hopes its data-clearinghouse platform can deliver these inputs to the first-responder community in a useful manner, according to Martin.
“All of this data comes into a modern, scalable, redundant and secure platform,” he said. “We manage the complexity in working with thousands of agencies across the United States—and we’re beginning international work, as well—to get the right data to the right place at the right time.
“It’s become kind of this core operating system to managing an emergency.”
Martin said that securing the additional $25 million in today’s announced funding round, in combination with last year’s $30 million funding round, certainly is helpful to RapidSOS from a financial standpoint.
“We’re quite well-situated after this round,” he said.
In addition, the leader of this funding round is positioned to help RapidSOS meet its strategic goal of integrating smart-grid information into its platform.
“This round was led by Energy Impact Partners, which is the largest energy-technology fund and represents over 50 utilities globally,” Martin said. “We’re doing a lot of work with utilities to think about disaster response, smart grid, facilities’ safety and lone-worker safety.
“As you think about the connected, smart ecosystem that’s continuing to evolve, our aim is to make sure all of that intelligence is immediately available to first responders when they need it most.”
Martin said his vision to streamline the emergency-response effort differs from the legacy public-safety workflow—too often hampered by misrouted 911 calls and an over-reliance on witnesses calling when problems occur—using a building fire as an example scenario.
“I think the building should call 911, and the first responders should know that there are 36 people trapped in the northwest corner,” Martin said. “They should know that the smoke density is ‘X,’ the temperature is ‘Y,’ and they should know the hazards in the facility.
“We’re thinking about that convergence of all this information and how do we put that directly into the hands of 911 and first responders.”