Framingham Software Firm Seeks To Improve 9-1-1 Response


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When a person dials 9-1-1 from a cell phone, it’s not as easy to track their location as it is when a call comes in from a landline.

That’s because the 9-1-1 emergency system was designed at a time when the cell phone was unheard of and landlines ruled, said Tom Axbey, CEO of Framingham-based Rave Mobile Safety.

A ‘Simple’ Yet ‘Powerful’ Concept
According to Axbey, about 70 percent of 9-1-1 calls are placed from cell phones now, giving first responders very limited information about a caller’s whereabouts. For that reason, Rave Mobile Safety’s software, known as Smart911, is gaining traction across the United States, and it may soon be available in Massachusetts cities and towns.

“It’s a very simple concept, but very powerful,” Axbey said.

Rave Mobile Safety sells their patented software to municipalities, which then offer the Smart911 program to residents at no charge.

It allows people to fill out a profile, with detailed information about family, health issues – even the number of rooms in a home – to help first responders better help them in an emergency. A screen shot pops up when first responders receive a call from a user, delivering crucial information they otherwise wouldn’t have.
The idea is that firefighters will be better equipped to evacuate a family during a house fire if they know how many rooms a house has, for example.

“It’s real, breakthrough technology,” Axbey said.

Nationwide Smart911?
Though Rave Mobile Safety has competitors for other safety software programs, the Smart911 product is unique, Axbey said. With a highly-specialized product, he said the fast-growing company will achieve new heights by the end of next year.
Smart911 sales grew by about 200 percent this year, following three years of doubling sales, according to Axbey. Today, the application is used in 30 states, by more than 300 municipalities. Axbey expects Smart911 to have a presence in all 50 states by the end of 2013.

Founded in 2004, the ventured-financed Rave Mobile Safety moved its headquarters from New York to Framingham in 2008. The company, which previously served only higher education customers with safety software solutions, was seeking to branch out to municipalities, Axbey said. Though Smart911 has yet to hit the Bay State, Axbey said company officials are in talks with the state 9-1-1 board about implementing the software here.

“I can assure you, we will be in Massachusetts very soon,” Axbey said.

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