The folks at the Inc. Uncensored podcast recently interviewed our CEO, Michael Martin, for the debut of their “Innovation Nation” segment. Inc. Uncensored explores exciting news in the world of tech, entrepreneurship, and high-growth businesses. Michael was thrilled to have the opportunity to talk about our work here at RapidSOS, as well as our vision for the future of advanced emergency communications.
The “Innovation Nation” segment starts at the 14:04-minute mark, but you can also check out highlights from the interview below.
RapidSOS and the existing 9-1-1 infrastructure
“We’re an advanced emergency communications company and many people aren’t very familiar with how our nation’s 9-1-1 system works, but it actually was developed back in the 1960s and 1970s and basically is a voice-based system. So, you can imagine as we enter the data age with all sorts of sensors, where there’s IoT devices or smartphones, there’s basically no ability to get that data into our country’s emergency response systems.”
Is RapidSOS “selling” services to 9-1-1?
“We provide our service for free to public safety. We get it directly into 9-1-1’s existing software systems—there’s about 25,200 different software systems across the United States running at over 6,000 9-1-1 centers.”
Why do third-party call centers exist?
“One of the reasons that services such as home security exist is because 9-1-1 can’t receive data. You actually need a human operator, that’s not some sort of public safety agency, to dial 9-1-1 for you if your home is on fire and then verbally speak the address of the home and the fact that the home is on fire.”
“With a rich data link, we can actually go directly to public safety with all of this rich information coming directly from the sensors.”
The potential for RapidSOS to help cell phone carriers
“We want to help facilitate the most accurate location possible during a wireless 9-1-1 call. Today the carriers get quite accurate location around 9-1-1 calls but they have a really hard time funneling that data through this 1960s and 1970s infrastructure.”
What we’ve learned
“I think certainly there was a challenge in thinking about shifting entirely from a basically voice-only system to this rich-data link. I think one of the things, frankly, that we had to learn was how to do that in a really effective manner. We were extremely lucky to have the entire public safety community really rally around this notion and ultimately spend four years with us building out and operationalizing this technology platform.”
“You can imagine, in some circumstances, getting live video feed or real-time health and medical data could actually be distracting to that dispatcher as they’re trying to get an ambulance to you as quickly as possible. So, working with this community to figure out how do we get the right data to the right place at the right time was extremely important.”
Want to know more about RapidSOS and the state of emergency communications? Check out other posts from our blog!