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Why Innovation May Be Easier at Small Public Safety Agencies

It might seem counterintuitive, but in the public safety space, tech startup entrepreneurs say that big agencies with big budgets might not be the most innovative. Many like the creativity and agility of small agencies.

Steve Ressler, president of Callyo
Steve Ressler, president of Callyo
Ben Miller, Government Technology
In the world of government, there is often a perception that it's the bigger cities and counties that are always doing cool new things and pushing the envelope with cutting-edge technology.

But ask an entrepreneur in the public safety technology space about their experience working with smaller agencies and you'll get a different perspective.

"They're a lot more agile and innovate, and they're nimble, so they're more likely to try new things," said Steve Ressler, president of Callyo.

At the ResponderXLive event, a showcase for emergency responder technology organized by Amazon Web Services and Responder Ventures in San Francisco on Nov. 15, Government Technology caught up with several entrepreneurs to talk about their experiences navigating the market.

Though larger agencies tend to have bigger budgets, they said, it's often the smaller agencies that are the most willing to try new things. What's more, because of cloud computing's relatively recent ubiquity, it's easier to deploy new software, making it easier to get over the hurdles that used to make it difficult to work with lots of smaller customers.

"To host the software in a CJIS-compliant government cloud, as Kaseware does, means that you don't have to worry about putting servers in your back room or your basement, you don't have to worry about hiring people to maintain those servers and to do upgrades," said Dorian Deligeorges, co-founder of Kaseware.

Ben Miller is the associate editor of data and business for Government Technology. His reporting experience includes breaking news, business, community features and technical subjects. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, and lives in Sacramento, Calif.