Episode 38: RapidSOS Enhancing Public Safety Data


Since the advent of GPS on mobile devices, people have assumed that when someone calls 911 the dispatcher has their location. Surprisingly this isn’t the case dispatchers still rely on the person making the call to relay their location. Concerned with the lack of location tracking, RapidSOS developed a way for regular smartphones to send the users location when they call dispatch.

RapidSOS is a technology company that started when Michael Martin and Nick Horelik realized 911 dispatch didn’t have an easy way of pinpointing the location of the caller. They began working on an app but quickly realized that the extra step of downloading the app would reduce the app’s effectiveness. With this in mind, RapidSOS changed focus and partnered with Apple and Google to have their software installed natively on those devices.

Location data is the tip of the ice burg. RapidSOS wants to be able to send relevant information to the first responders on route. For instance, if the user is wearing a device that monitors heart rate the user’s heart rate will be relayed to the first responders. It might not seem like much, but that information could be used to inform the decisions of first responders.

Data is changing the way the business world operates shouldn’t we want the public services to be able to use it to save lives.