A global event focusing on the innovations and future implications of what Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC), the world-leading provider of telecommunications equipment and related services to mobile and fixed network operators globally, refers to as the “Networked Society,” ELERTS is being highlighted as an example of how the urge to share information and collaborate with others – paired with access to powerful new mobile communication technologies and tools – will have a major impact on quality of life.
During his presentation, ELERTS Founder Chris Russo detailed his company’s vision for a mobile emergency alert system that turns citizens into assets for first responders. The ELERTS system transcends today’s norm of using unidirectional, content restrictive, Short Message Service (SMS) text alerts to cell phones. Vastly improving emergency response, it does so through enabling bidirectional communication between public safety organizations and those in harm’s way, via smartphones and tablets and by incorporating rich multimedia content from a range of sources – including NOAA, USGS, EPA’s RADNET and other official notification feeds. In addition, ELERTS allows citizens with the ELERTS app on their smartphones to capture and submit reports of emergencies that they witness.
• Facing an emergency
o More than 70 percent of firefighters in the U.S. are volunteers.
o Despite dramatic advances in mobile communications and continuous, unprecedented disasters and emergencies, the emergency notification market has been slow to embrace new technology.
o Many towns still use reverse 911 to call landlines, even though 25 percent of homes have disconnected landlines and more than 50 percent of homes with head of household under age 30 have no landline.
o SMS text messaging – the de facto standard for mobile emergency alerts – is 25 years old and a ‘lowest common denominator’
• People to drive change
o ELERTS was founded by Chris Russo, Deputy Fire Chief of Hull, Mass. and a 26-year career first responder in fire services. The Russo family has a combined 60 years of public safety and emergency response/management experience.
o ELERTS HEROS: ELERTS is organizing a national network of First Responders, or HERO (Help Emergency Responders Out) volunteers, to examine, assess and validate crowdsourced emergency reports.
o You: ELERTS will put a rich client app in citizens’ hands to capture and aggregate event information from multiple vantage points and with real-time context.
• The technology to make it happen
o It took just 25 years to set up 5 billion mobile subscriptions.
o ELERTS will provide a free app for all major smartphone platforms, so citizens can receive targeted alert data of interest to them, and contribute eyewitness views of breaking events as they happen – including letting family members know they’re safe.
o Complementing the client app, ELERTS will sell emergency response systems to colleges and universities, municipalities and other organizations. The ELERTS ER system will transcend existing solutions by aggregating and integrating multiple sources of emergency data feeds (local law enforcement, NOAA, etc.) and content types (multimedia, GPS, etc.), which can be rapidly compared, annotated and distributed in a targeted manner to critical stakeholders.
Chris Russo, Founder and Executive Vice President, ELERTS
“As a career first responder, one of the greatest challenges – and most frustrating human elements – of emergency response is rushing into an event without having more context of the situation, the threat or those in harm’s way. With a smartphone in nearly everyone’s pocket, including my own, ELERTS’ mission is to combine the power of the tool with the willingness of people to assist those in need. Doing that creates not just a communications lifeline, but a communications ‘live’ line that is active and helping before, during and after an event.”
Ed English, Chief Executive Officer, ELERTS
“The challenge for most new technologies and products is to change the way people behave or try to take them out of their habitual comfort zones. The beauty of ELERTS is that connecting with others, sharing information, and looking out for others IS how most people behave. We’re simply creating the tools and the environment to focus those efforts for greatest positive impact. Additionally, our platform is ‘write once, run many.’ So, while our first application is focused on emergency management for law enforcement, firefighters and other first responders, the flexibility and depth of the platform will provide for an easy evolution to support other applications such as missing person alerts, emergency business coordination and other similar uses.”
Nick Selby, Analyst, Police-Led Intelligence, and a Texas Police Officer
“Most Americans believe that their government has communication systems like those on the TV show 24, and aren’t aware that the public service communication systems used by their first responders are not just aged, but decrepit. Nearly a decade after 9/11, emergency communications are still a hodgepodge of luck, baling wire and good intentions. To advance public safety and first responder effectiveness, first responders need an innovative platform to leverage the enormous advances in communications and terminal technologies of the past decade.”
ELERTS Online Newsroom
Photographs, screenshots, video and related resources can be found here.
People will help people – if they have the right tools. ELERTS is creating better emergency response systems by embracing high-speed multimedia mobile networks, smartphone technology and social media. Traditional ER systems push out static messages through lowest common denominator methods, often SMS. ELERTS transcends those approaches by empowering citizens with smartphones and tablets to share verified, real-time eyewitness emergency or disaster reports by using crowdsourcing, paired with official emergency data feeds. Privately funded and headquartered in Braintree, Massachusetts, the ELERTS leadership team comprises hands-on first responders, senior-level emergency management professionals and successful high technology entrepreneurs. Visit ELERTS at www.elerts.com.