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Tech Giant Honeywell Makes Strategic Investment in RapidSOS

Through investment and integration, Honeywell will work with RapidSOS to improve data access for dispatchers and improve emergency response times. The move highlights the increasing appeal of public safety technology.

fire truck
Fresh off the acquisition of an emergency communications company, Honeywell has made another move to increase its presence in the public safety tech space, this time through a strategic investment in RapidSOS.

Honeywell would not disclose the size of the investment nor how much control it will have in the New York-based software provider, which like similar companies has been busy promoting data-sharing tools among emergency dispatch centers. The investment also comes with technology integrations between the two companies, both of which are active in a fast-growing area of the broader government technology space.

As Honeywell tells it, the deal will serve to boost the deployment of platforms that basically offer one-stop shopping for public safety agencies as they continue to adjust to FirstNet, mobile and text communications and the rise of cutting-edge data and video tools.

RapidSOS provided an attractive target for Honeywell’s money in part because the former company is about getting “the right information to the right people in the chain faster than what is available today, and from an end-to-end standpoint, not just through silos,” Sameer Agrawal, Honeywell’s general manager of software and services, told Government Technology.

The RapidSOS management team and the company’s presence in the emergency communications space — some 5,200 agencies use the company’s platform — also appealed to Honeywell, he said.

The investment in RapidSOS follows Honeywell’s announcement in December that it was buying U.S. Digital Designs, an Arizona company that sells alert and dispatch communication services, which are designed to reduce emergency response times.

The new RapidSOS deal also will lead to quick emergency responses, according to Agrawal. More specifically, the two companies will work on ways to transmit details about emergencies more quickly to first responders — for example, data related to the type and severity of hazards of, say, commercial buildings where fires have broken out.

He described how working together on this technology can reduce the barriers to information sharing in emergency situations, which can “save minutes” when it comes to responses. That can mean dispatchers gain quick access to fire panel information from affected buildings, among other things.

In a statement, a RapidSOS executive made a similar point about this new deal.

“Honeywell provides critical life safety systems that enable facility managers to harness the power of data to deliver enhanced fire safety service,” said Michael Martin, CEO of RapidSOS. “We are excited to work with Honeywell and equip first responders with intelligent, incident-specific connected building data before arriving on scene to better protect our communities.”
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.