The Indoor Imperative

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The Indoor Imperative

Location is the most important component of public safety communication. Without knowing where someone is, you cannot rescue them in times of need. To this day, precious moments are lost when hard-working 9-1-1 dispatchers try to ascertain and confirm someone's location. Being able to trace a call to a particular address goes a long way towards saving a life but what about the next step? For public safety officials, indoor location is the final piece of the puzzle in emergency response. 
 
Why Do We Need Indoor? 
 
For many people, just getting first responders to your house is good enough. Those who are lucky enough to live in two or three story houses don't have much to worry about if they're in a crisis. Should the police or ambulance have to respond to a call at the home then they may only have half a dozen rooms in which to search and can find someone quite quickly. But what about those who live or work in the city? Apartment buildings, office buildings, and skyscrapers can be composed of hundreds, if not thousands, of individual rooms and offices. It would take hours for the first responders to search every single room to find the person who contacted them. This lack of location is why the first thing a 9-1-1 dispatcher will ask you is "where is your emergency?" and not "what is your emergency?"
 
How Do We Find Someone Indoors? 
 
Once again, being able to locate someone in a two or three story house is relatively straightforward. A simple GPS ping of a smartphone can determine someone's location down to half a dozen yards. The difficulty of indoor is when emergency services are trying to find someone on an eighth, twentieth, or even a fiftieth floor. To successfully discover someone's location involves not just a horizontal axis (the x and y-axes) but a vertical axis (known as the z-axis). By identifying what floor in a building a person is on, you can then determine their exact location down to a few square feet. 
 
How Do We Solve This Problem? 
 
See, here's the thing. We've already solved it. Reporty, distributed in the U.S. by Carbyne, correctly maps out an indoor location down to a few feet. Our solution has already rolled out internationally and is currently saving lives and reducing dispatch times in a number of countries throughout the world. Recently, we conducted a focus group with representatives from National Emergency Number Association (NENA) and to say that they were amazed would be an understatement. 
 
We've solved the z-axis by, among other things, utilizing multiple signals to triangulate a position. 'Multiple signals' doesn't mean just GPS or cell network (although they are certainly a part) but everything from the different Wi-Fi signals and Bluetooth to the gyroscope and accelerometer in a smartphone.  
 
We've used the smartphone's various sensors, as well as a proprietary machine learning algorithm, to begin the process of correctly mapping the indoor space. By using the power of the crowd, we can finally push that final puzzle piece into place and make the lives of public safety first responders so much simpler. 
 
What's next? 
 
There's a reason that indoor location is the hardest to map and determine accurately. There are billions of hotel rooms, offices, restaurants, apartments, closets, and houses to be mapped and that's going to take time. To accurately gather enough data about enough indoor spaces will take time but it will be done. We are, for the first time, on our way to providing a clear view for first responders when they need it most.