Crowd Sourcing 911? Heck yeah!

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911 Where There Is None

While we often complain about inefficiencies in technology, the perceived human latency in answering 9-1-1 calls, and major corporations vying for the next technological breakthrough in public safety, or their heavy lobbying for the continued promulgation of existing ineffective methods, we often take one thing very much for granted.

What would you do if you got into an accident, and needed to go to the hospital?
What about if you felt pains in your chest, or became suddenly dizzy?
Maybe you were walking down the street, minding your own business, and either you witnessed or became a victim of a crime?

For all of these situations you would most likely answer, “I’d call 911”, or if you are the European Union, “I’d call 112”.

But many of us forget one little thing that makes us pretty fortunate. While we have ubiquitous emergency services just about everywhere, when looking at most of the developing world, this is simply not possible technologically.
In many areas, the telephone infrastructure does not exist. The public safety staff and personnel do not exist, at least at a sufficient level, and people are quite often left to tend to themselves.

While many of us might have trouble imagining this, there is a certain group of people that do understand this desperate shortage and believe that things can change. As it turns out, there are plenty of Good Samaritans willing to help, and despite how poor and area might be, most communities will have some form of transportation for emergencies, somewhere. Additionally, while operable wire line telecommunications services are not prevalent, mobile phones and devices exist and operate virtually everywhere.

In many areas around the globe, crowdsourcing has become a very popular mechanism for initiating things, like funding startups, gathering groups of people around a common cause, and even a flash mob or two. With this in mind, Trek Medics International has assembled an all-volunteer team of paramedics, doctors, and software programmers to develop their product called BEACON.
BEACON is an an inexpensive SMS-based emergency dispatching software solution specifically designed for communities that simply cannot afford 911 dispatching services. With the help of the community, BEACON ensures that victims of medical emergencies in financially poor and marginalized communities will finally be able to access some level of coordinated emergency medical response – when and where it’s needed.


Why Trek Medics Needs Your Help
166-TREK-MEDIC-INTL-LOGO.pngWhile they have recently finished their first stage of field-testing outside the U.S., and they could really use additional help to expand testing and optimize the software’s performance so that it can meet the highest quality standards. Trek Medical is really doing something completely new for global health: Beacon isn’t so much a mobile ‘app’ as it is a public utility, therefore extremely robust testing is crucial.

166-BEACON_logo.pngFor nearly three years, Beacon has been developed by a growing group of committed volunteers who’ve spent thousands of their own hours and dollars to keep this going. They’re now at the point where they need to leave the proverbial garage and get out into the field permanently, but they certainly can’t do it without additional support. This is why they are using IndeGoGo as a method to raise funding.

I read the articles on the web about Trek Medics over breakfast this morning, and I was genuinely inspired by their story and why they’re simple technology and reuse of existing communications channels to solve a huge problem.
Even though 911 is well defined and structured within the United States borders, I wonder how this example could provide real-world data on how to crowd source during an emergency.

Think of the next natural disaster such as a flood earthquake or other natural phenomena that wipes out an entire geographic area. Families become displaced, relatives lose contact with each other, and those with less morals are given a prime opportunity to feast on the suffering of others.

What I like about this particular product, is that because they already have a functioning prototype, we can concentrate that there donations will go directly to field testing and software optimization. Track projects that their cost to conduct extensive testing and development in three locations would require $25,000 by January 2014, and they are targeting three separate locations for initial testing. Every additional $25,000 will help them expand to a new location.
There’s plenty of information on their webpage, and APN will be following their story reporting back on their major milestones. Should you choose to support them, you will be playing a key role in something very meaningful, helping less-privileged communities build solutions to better manage the chaos during those most dreaded moments: something as simple as dialing 911.

There objectives are simple in the communities they serve: no more pedestrians suffering needlessly by the roadside, no more women forced to give birth on a dirt floor, and no more waiting for help that will never arrive.

Consider a new way of being a Good Samaritan, today support Trek Medics International, and make every dollar count.

Want more Technology, News and Information from Avaya? Be sure to check out the Avaya Podcast Network landing page at . There you will find additional Podcasts from Industry Events such as Avaya Evolutions and INTEROP, as well as other informative series by the APN Staff.

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Thanks for stopping by and reading the Avaya CONNECTED Blog on E9-1-1, I value your opinions, so please feel free to comment below or if you prefer, you can email me privately.

Public comments, suggestions, corrections and loose change is all graciously accepted 😉
Until next week. . . dial carefully.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter @Fletch911


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