By 2030, tech will redefine the way we manage emergency response - opinion

We believe that by 2030, machines will assist humans in handling all emergency calls.

A depiction of Carbyne's emergency response center (photo credit: CARBYNE)
A depiction of Carbyne's emergency response center
(photo credit: CARBYNE)

Over the past decade, while technology companies disrupted most aspects of our lives, mission critical services remained largely unchanged.

Whereas Uber drivers know the exact location of their riders, can communicate delays and even learn their passenger’s music preferences prior to pick up - emergency responders are sent to help distressed citizens with the minimal information that they typically receive in delay over voice. 

Author Amir Elichai (Credit: Courtesy)Author Amir Elichai (Credit: Courtesy)

As we enter a world in which drones can deliver groceries in under 10 minutes, it is clear that the way emergencies are handled has to change. People, communities and corporations have all adopted advanced communication channels and capabilities like Slack and Facetime for better collaboration in their day to day lives. These people expect (at least) the same technological capabilities to be used  in times of emergency, when it matters most.   

The lack of first responder situational awareness (the technical term used for responders’ understanding of what they are getting into before they arrive on the scene of an emergency), is exacerbated by technological gaps, resulting in suboptimal responses to emergencies, cost inefficiencies and most importantly in preventable human casualties. 

On-premise point solutions that were developed to solve some of these issues, created a reality in which emergency call takers rely on a fragmented ecosystem of products that lacks interoperability and is physically dispersed across multiple screens. 

Picture yourself as a 911 call taker needing to use one screen to get a caller’s location, another to obtain video from the scene and a third to collaborate with other stakeholders, such as ambulance drivers, in the emergency ecosystem. If  you had the chance to see Jake Gyllenhal in Netflix’s “The Guilty,” you have a good understanding of how complex this process is. 

US regulators estimate that as many as 10,000 lives could be saved every year in the US by reducing 911 response times by just one minute. Every second counts is not a cliché. 

In 2015, I was robbed on the beach in Tel Aviv. After experiencing first hand the difficulties in communicating with local emergency services (how do you explain where you are when your best reference points are a sand castle and the nearest lifeguard station?) I decided to do something about it. 

Almost seven years later, our 160-person team built the most advanced fully cloud based solutions for mission critical contact centers. Today, these solutions are deployed globally at scale in some of the most sophisticated emergency contact centers. Our mission is to save lives, maximize efficiency, and minimize response times for emergency call takers. 

We do this by acting as the gateway for delivering rich and smart data from any device into emergency contact centers. In simpler terms, if your five-year-old can upload a video of themselves dancing on Tik Tok with just two clicks, you should be able to just as easily share a video with 911 to save your life.

Another challenge we see in mission critical space is what we refer to as the “last mile” problem. 

Today, mission critical contact centers rely almost exclusively on data that is provided by the caller. It doesn’t have to be this way. Imagine a situation in which someone orders a car using a rideshare app and the car is caught in a dangerous situation for one of many reasons. 

At present, the rider or the driver’s best bet is to call emergency services and explain the situation, wasting valuable time conveying details that are available in a database elsewhere. Now imagine a world in which by pressing a panic button built into the rideshare app, data about the car including its model,  license plate number, intended route, driver and passenger names could all be sent directly to emergency services before the caller even utters a word. 

We believe that by 2030, machines will assist humans in handling all emergency calls, predictive analytics and cross-sector data sharing will become key in emergency preparedness, and IoT will deliver information to emergency centers without passing through humans. Carbyne is entering the enterprise space to connect businesses with emergency services to offer better protection to customers, employees and physical assets. 

Our goal is to give first responders as much information as possible tailored to the type of emergency they are responding to. As with everything, the key is not only the quantity but also the quality of information.

We built Carbyne to save lives. Every person counts.

The author is the founder and CEO of Carbyne.