Carbyne wants to replace outdated 911 systems

Israel-based Carbyne has developed an emergency call-handling platform, supported by an ecosystem that integrates live video streaming, location services and texting capabilities.

After Amir Elichai, founder and CEO, was robbed on Tel Aviv beach in 2013, he called the police and had to trudge through a tedious, long-winded conversation with the dispatcher (“Where are you, what happened, etc.”) before help was finally sent. Out of frustration, he started Carbyne. “If Uber and the pizza delivery guy can determine where we are, why can’t 911?”

The company is currently focused on what they call, “time to dispatch” – the duration from when the call is placed to the moment services are sent to the field. To minimize this length, two crucial pieces of information need to be delivered: exact location and an understanding of the situation. They’ve achieved this by utilizing device-based location technology, but stepped up the game with an indoor positioning solution where first responders can pinpoint a caller’s location within a one-meter accuracy, within a matter of seconds. To assess the situation, they’ve implemented live video streaming, which is accessed through the caller’s permission. “When you combine the two, it cuts the dispatch time by 60-65 percent. In terms of saving lives, that’s huge,” Elichai explained.

The biggest challenge

Emergency response systems are based on landline technology. They’re unable to take advantage of smartphone capabilities such as chat, video or GPS. Rather than trying to integrate their platform into these legacy infrastructures, Carbyne plans to replace them all. They’ve already deployed systems in Israel, Asia, Europe and Latin America, and recently signed their first deal in the United States with Fayette County, Georgia.

Despite the platform’s clear benefits, the challenge lies within strict government regulations, varying from country to country, municipality to municipality. “First you have to convince the authorities,” said Elichai. “Some of them are curious, some of them have fears with new technologies, such as cybersecurity threats. You’re changing and disrupting the way they work so you have to educate them and show them how this system can help them.”

Though they’re currently focused on dispatch times, the next phase will be the ability to deliver medical information to hospitals so the appropriate equipment can be prepared for ambulances. “This entire ecosystem is very huge and complex around the world, and we have a lot of work to do,” Elichai said in closing.