ELi Technology, the Halifax maker of internet protocol-enabled location-tracking systems for 911 services, has partnered with Minnesota-based GeoComm and Amazon Web Services on a new school safety platform to help police and emergency crews respond to mass shootings.
Newly appointed president Paul Parisi said Thursday the Active Threat Location Service, or ATLS, will integrate a system similar to ELi’s location-tracking technology into existing school and campus safety apps. When students call for help via the app, their location is shared with emergency responders, allowing for faster response times. The system is being rolled out at King’s-Edgehill School in Nova Scotia as part of the Reach student safety app, created by another Halifax entrepreneur, Brian Murray.
Founded in 2017 by CEO Peter Woodford, Eli’s main innovation has been using GPS services and nearby WiFi networks to pinpoint the exact location of a 911 caller, before the company’s API translates that information into a format compatible with existing emergency services communications infrastructure. The platform lets first responders identify where someone is calling from with far greater precision than legacy systems, as well as determining what floor of a multi-story building they are on.
“We don’t sell direct, we sell through an app company,” said Parisi in an interview. “We integrate with an app, and then that app provider for the school safety has the school upload the map (of the school ) into the ATLS portal.
“It allows the school to drag and drop their WiFi access points on the map, and so whenever a WiFi-enabled device of any kind … pings off of whatever WiFi antenna, we know precisely where they’re located.”
That knowledge, Parisi said, could shave precious seconds off an active shooter response. As an example, he cited the mass shooting last year in Uvalde, Texas, where a deeply flawed reaction from police was made worse by officers entering through the front of the school, while the shooter was all the way at the back.
Parisi, a former credit card and digital payments executive, added that the ATLS system also has broad applicability to emergencies other than shootings, such as natural disasters like wildfires.
GeoComm, meanwhile, specializes in providing map data to emergency responders, like that needed for the ATLS system. And Amazon Web Services, which provides hosting services to both companies and works with most of the largest school districts in the United States, has been actively promoting the ATLS technology to its customers.
Initially, ELi is targeting the Kindergarten to Grade 12 market in the United States, where safety concerns are among the most acute in the world, with about 680 people killed by shootings on school properties since 1970, according to the Naval Postgraduate School‘s Center for Homeland Defense and Security, and thousands more injured. Later, Parisi said post-secondary institutions are also a potential market, along with governments and large companies.
ELi is eventually targeting a 70 percent market share in the United States market for emergency location technology in schools, with four distributors signed on and another seven in the process of doing so.
The company has 14 employees so far, said Parisi, who highlighted the benefits of a lean operation for a software-as-a-service company like ELi.
So far, ELi has bootstrapped and is now “basically self-sufficient,” Parisi said.
“I don’t think we will, but it depends on how big and broad we want to become,” he said of a potential funding raise. “Some people would say you might want to raise through venture capital firms … they could give you a broader availability to other investments. Some people would say that you should IPO, the way that some of our competitors have. But I don’t think we’re there yet.
“I think right now the most important thing to us is that we get this out into the market and start saving some lives."