Smartphones bring consumers multiple different venues to communicate through. There’s calls, calls over the internet, SMS, MMS, apps with so many different ways to communicate but there’s one group of people who desperately need some help to communicate-emergency services. Well there’s an app that’s being developed to help our emergency services communicate with not only the people who need them, but with each other.
Blue Line Grid is a company that was founded with the focus being law enforcement technology. Bill Bratton who was on of the co-founders of the company, was the New York Police Commissioner. Bratton has since stepped down from the company to avoid any conflict of interest when he returned to the NYPD last January. Still, the company took action after the attacks in New York City on September 11, 2001 showed there were major flaws in the way emergency services connect with each other. BlueLine Grid has put together an app to assist in fixing that communication flaw.
“It tells you who is near you, who can help you and allows you to communicate effectively with them,” David Riker, chief executive officer of privately held BlueLine Grid said. Though the app they have developed uses wireless connectivity, which could fail during a time of emergency. This is why they are aiming for the app to help with communication, not replace.
Currently, the app works on both Android and iOS and uses standards common among both operating systems to connect responders while in the field. Similar to Skype, the app uses over-the-top voice and messaging features. This is so the app will work over the network and allow for easier communications. Jim Bueermann who is the president of the non-profit Police Foundation says, “We have so much law enforcement in the U.S.,- more than 700,00 agencies- and each of them has their own method of collecting and sharing information.” BlueLine Grid’s app aims to solve this flaw in the system and help agencies work together if need be. “Finding a platform that is web-based works on mobile platforms and is easy to use is, I think, the holy grail of information sharing.” Bueermann said. Bueermann is also the former chief of the Redlands, a police agency in California. That very same agency is also testing an information sharing app called CopBook. BlueLine Grid is also getting attention from the higher up agencies. John D. Cohen, who is the former head of intelligence for the Department of Homeland Security has joined the corporate board.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of emergency services adapting to technology. Earlier in May, US carriers started a service that allowed you to text 911 instead of call.