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RapidSOS Partners With Hexagon on Commercial Fire Alerts

The move follows the news that RapidSOS had closed a big funding round that involved BlackRock. Hexagon will help improve real-time data capabilities via which dispatchers and firefighters can more quickly respond to emergencies.

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Protecting commercial buildings against fires is a growing focus of the public safety technology industry — with the latest example coming from El Paso County, Texas.

The deal involves public safety tech firm RapidSOS — which just closed a $150 million funding round that involved BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager — and Hexagon, a company that offers software, sensors and autonomous tech for industrial, city, defense, government and other areas.

The two companies are now offering “digital alerts” for firefighters responding to emergencies in commercial buildings. Monitoring centers in those structures send emergency dispatch data in real time without the need for phone calls.

The digital alerts are routed by the RapidSOS Intelligent Safety platform and received at emergency dispatch centers via Hexagon’s computer-aided dispatch system, or CAD.

The tech automatically creates an incident, “bypassing the initial call to a 911 telecommunicator, thus eliminating manual handoffs and reducing response time,” according to a statement.

So-called “manual handoffs” in such emergency situations can lead to wasted time and mistakes, the two companies said.

The Texas county is the first public agency to deploy this new tool. It isn’t the first time that El Paso County has provided a proving ground for RapidSOS, according to Bill Campbell, senior vice president for Global Public Safety/North America for Hexagon’s Safety, Infrastructure and Geospatial division.

“The El Paso 911 District is a forward-thinking agency who is open to new ideas and strategies for improving processes,” he told Government Technology via email. “As such, they were very interested in being the first to deploy RapidSOS’ Digital Alerts, integrated with Hexagon’s CAD system.”

Measuring the success of this deployment — and encouraging other agencies to buy this tool — will in large part come down to time.

“The time from activation at the source to the time received by the 911 center should be shorter than it was with a manual workflow,” Campbell said. “The software is automatically entering the event in CAD instead of a call-taker manually entering in information in real time as an alarm monitoring agent is dictating it.”

Last September, RapidSOS announced a similar partnership with Emergency24 to send commercial fire alarm signals more quickly to dispatchers.