Tech Startups That Are Strengthening Real-World Security

May 14, 2013

John Patrick Pullen

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Say something: Elerts

Ironically, people carry their cellphones on them at all times in case of emergencies, but when disasters go down, so too can mobile carrier service. Looking to patch these communications breakdowns, Braintree, Mass.-based Elerts offers emergency response software for smartphones that specifically target transit systems, healthcare companies, colleges and utility providers.

Founded in 2010, the company specializes in developing customized emergency smartphone products for outside organizations, such as the citizen reporting apps it made for Atlanta’s MARTA and Boston’s MBTA transit systems. It also offers several free apps to the general public. The apps pull data from several places, including government disaster sources, fellow app users and social networks, sending emergency responders everything from geo-tagged photos to mapped evacuation routes.

Pricing for Elerts’ hosted security services is based on the size of the client. The mass transit solutions range from $20,000 to $95,000 per year. The hospital and campus apps’ prices depend on the size of the group served, running approximately $12 per person per year.

The emergency mass communications space is heating up, with competitors like AtHoc, Rave Mobile Safety and Blackboard all vying for contracts with universities and government agencies. But Elerts’ social integration helps set this startup apart.

Coincidentally, on the day of the Boston Marathon, Elerts’ chief architect happened to be near the bombing site and was able to put the company’s app to a real world test. As confusion mounted, people made an overwhelming number of calls and texts, flooding carriers’ voice and SMS networks. But the wireless data line remained functional, allowing services like Elerts to cut through the confusion and deliver information as it developed.

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