Axon, RapidSOS partner to bring multimedia information to 911 centers
Axon and RapidSOS recently announced a partnership that will enable 911 centers across the U.S. to have free access to location data, incident alerts and streaming video from Axon devices and share that information with first responders in the field.
RapidSOS CEO and founder Michael Martin said there are three components to the partnership with Axon, the industry leader in body-worn cameras and TASER devices that entered the computer-aided-dispatch (CAD) market last year with the launch of its Axon Respond product.
Through the partnership agreement, Axon will share data with the RapidSOS 911 web portal that is used by more than 2,500 emergency communications centers (ECCs), RapidSOS data will be shared with Axon Respond devices in the field, and Axon’s new CAD platform will have access to all RapidSOS information. The partnership makes sense for both public-safety-focused companies, Martin said.
“At a vision level, we were very aligned on how we can harness technology and data to help the incredible work that 911 and first responders are doing every single day,” Martin said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications.
“From there, it was a really interesting fit, in that RapidSOS is in nearly every 911 agency in the United States, and Axon is in hundreds of law-enforcement agencies. So, we could now connect the two of those and really close the loop from the citizen, device or home that’s having the emergency all the way out to the responder in the field.”
RapidSOS is recognized throughout the public-safety sector for its ability to package IP-based data and multimedia from consumer devices and share them freely with 911 centers that have not yet upgraded their systems to the next-generation 911 platform. Through this partnership, RapidSOS will enable access to information from Axon’s first-responder devices under similar terms and conditions, according to Martin.
“Just like all of our other stuff, it works on legacy systems, and it’s available for free to the ECC,” he said.
Jeff Kunins, Axon’s chief product officer and executive vice president of software, expressed enthusiasm about Axon’s agreement to work with RapidSOS.
“We are thrilled to partner with RapidSOS to further unleash the power of our investment in the Axon Respond real-time operations platform to deliver faster, safer and more efficient responses by unifying and delivering rich data to emergency response coordinators and first responders alike,” Kunins said in a prepared statement.
“Many agencies already rely on both Axon and RapidSOS to manage emergency response. By enabling our solutions to work seamlessly together, we empower first responders with a single source for mission critical information as well as the ability to deliver industry-leading tools for agencies to securely and more efficiently manage resources and thereby respond faster than ever.”
Although the Axon-RapidSOS partnership has been announced, the information-sharing capabilities will not be available to 911 centers until later in the year, Martin said.
Michelle Potts, communications manager at the Chandler (Ariz.) police department, said the Axon-RapidSOS partnership should help 911 centers better inform first responders in the field about the environment they encounter at the scene of an emergency.
“We are excited about this partnership, as we currently use both RapidSOS and the suite of Axon technology,” Potts said in a prepared statement. “These tools will provide our emergency dispatch teams with additional life-saving information in real time, as well as provide visibility to better assist any type of emergency.”
Teaming with Axon is just the latest announcement for RapidSOS, which currently links data from more than 350 million devices into about 4,800 ECCs that serve territories that cover 92% of the U.S. population, Martin said. During the past year, RapidSOS announced agreements that enable 911 centers to access to health information, vehicle telematics and connected-building data, as well as indoor maps, he said.
“As you can imagine, that information is useful to 911, but it can be really powerful to responders out in the field—and that’s obviously where Axon is,” Martin said. “What’s cool here is that data will not only flow into 911 but actually out to responders out in the field. And first responders in the field will also be sharing data back to 911 through the RapidSOS portal at these 911 agencies. That gives you the location of those officers, as well as stream video from their body cameras.
“Really, for the first time for a 911 center, it closes that citizen-to-first-responder loop. On one pane of glass, you’re looking at the location, the sensor data from the vehicle, and even the officer on scene and what are they seeing. It’s all right there at the 911 center, so I’m pumped.”
Martin noted that the RapidSOS portal is not a replacement for CAD but a tool that can be integrated with a CAD system to enhance the work of 911 telecommunicators.
“The ECC is still going to have their CAD,” Martin said. “But now on one map, they’re going to be able to pull up all of the Axon body-camera footage and the exact officer location. All of that information comes together in this rich data portal that can be embedded in any CAD or any CPE—and all of that’s available for free to our 40 to 50 partners, as well.”