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RapidSOS Delivers Its Public Safety Location Tech to Grubhub

The move provides delivery workers with immediate access to emergency dispatchers with tools already used by public agencies. RapidSOS hopes to win other such deals within the gig economy as it continues to grow.

Two people working in a dispatch center.
Public safety technology provider RapidSOS will outfit Grubhub delivery workers with tools designed to help them in the event of emergencies.

The deal marks the latest deployment of the RapidSOS technology offering to the gig economy and could signal more activity in that space for the company’s products.

The technology includes the same types of around-the-clock location data and other services helping police, fire and medical workers provide quicker service to people during emergencies — only this time, the deployment is happening in the gig economy, representing a bet that as the gig workforce matures, safety concerns will play big roles in recruiting and retaining labor, at least judging by the statement announcing the deal.

The service will work like this: Grubhub, by linking into the RapidSOS platform, will enable its delivery workers to share “dynamic location data as well as caller ID (name, phone number) directly to 911 responders when an emergency call is placed via the Grubhub for Drivers app,” the statement said.

That app routes data to the nearest emergency dispatch center. The app offers such features as 911 Slider, which gives immediate access to a 911 dispatcher; along with Safety Agent Call and Safety Agent Text, which connect delivery workers with a RapidSOS agent “who can walk them through an uncomfortable situation and pass along real-time location data along with name and phone number to first responders if needed,” according to the statement.

The service is already running in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago in advance of a nationwide deployment scheduled for mid-2023.

“We are always looking for new, innovative tools to improve the driver experience for our delivery partners because we know that feeling comfortable on the road is a huge part of that experience,” Jeff Smith, director of logistics for Grubhub, told Government Technology via email. “We’re regularly holding conversations with our drivers via our Driver Safety Council, which is made up of active Grubhub partners from around the country, and it was clear that a tool like RapidSOS would go a long way toward ensuring each feels comfortable while delivering orders.”

Grubhub offers deliveries from more than 365,000 restaurants in some 4,000 U.S. cities. RapidSOS, for its part, is fresh off a $75 million funding round and serves more than 15,000 public safety agencies across four continents.

RapidSOS launched in 2012 and is part of one of the main engines for the government technology industry: public safety, a field where technology is impacting all areas, from law enforcement to emergency dispatch to fire response. RapidSOS makes its money by licensing its software.

“More and more, we’re proactively having discussions with tech companies across verticals that are looking to adopt or enhance their safety features with innovations like RapidSOS to help their customers feel safe — and be safe,” Karin Marquez, chief public safety brand officer for RapidSOS, told Government Technology via email. “We currently work with brands such as Uber and Instacart, and are working to extend our partnerships in that space as well, not only in the U.S. but in Canada, Mexico, and the U.K.”
Thad Rueter writes about the business of government technology. He covered local and state governments for newspapers in the Chicago area and Florida, as well as e-commerce, digital payments and related topics for various publications. He lives in Wisconsin.