by Brianna Crandall — April 19, 2019 — The city of Houston, Texas, will be the first to implement an Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled platform called ActiveShield designed to improve public safety. Two Houston schools will pilot the IoT safe spaces technology created by Insight Enterprises, which integrates with a building safety platform from BeSafe Technologies and taps Microsoft Azure technology to facilitate critical, real-time information sharing during a crisis.
ActiveShield leverages the power of Insight’s Safe Spaces solution, part of a suite of customizable, end-to-end smart spaces solutions developed by the Digital Innovation team at Insight, a Fortune 500 global systems integrator helping organizations of all sizes manage and transform their business.
Insight’s Safe Spaces solution addresses communication challenges during emergency events where public safety is threatened, running safety mechanisms such as sound sensors and color-coded LED lighting through an IoT-enabled response system. The real-time information sharing clearly conveys the nature of an incident to first responders and people in the vicinity of the impacted area.
Kevin Harrington, chief executive officer (CEO) of BeSafe Technologies, remarked:
Knowledge is power, and our mission is to save lives by providing the right information to the right people at the right time. What we see with Insight Safe Spaces is the ability to use IoT to build on our core capabilities to further improve public safety. This creates a communication hub that instantly connects on-site security with police, fire and other emergency responders, as well as building occupants.
BeSafe, a provider of emergency response communication technology between school administrators and first responders, is working with Microsoft and the city of Houston to install the platform in two schools within the Aldine Independent School District (AISD). BeSafe already has equipped the schools with its core safety and security system, and the IoT-enabled ActiveShield will be implemented next.
“Student and staff safety are a top priority. The partnership with the city of Houston and Microsoft will take our efforts to the next level,” said AISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney. The district announced the previous week that its application of the smart technology helped the city of Houston win the Smart Buildings Award as part of the IDC Smart Cities North America Awards.
While Insight’s main focus for Safe Spaces is comprehensive, deeply integrated safety deployments, ActiveShield offers a cost-effective software-as-a-service solution for the broader market.
BeSafe was founded in 1999 with the goal of helping keep schools safe for students and staff. Today, BeSafe’s award-winning emergency response system distributes enhanced digital floorplans, points of entry/exit, and emergency contact information to police, fire, SWAT and other emergency teams. This provides a comprehensive view for first responders who have limited knowledge of a given site to save precious time during decision-making.
The Safe Spaces solution from Insight integrates with BeSafe’s ActiveShield to create an IoT platform that acts as the central hub for:
- Capturing data transmitted from sensor-based technology — cameras, sound and motion sensors, etc. — integrated with third-party security solutions, providing them the ability to share real-time information and coordinate emergency response. For example, when sound sensors detect abnormal noises, an alert can be sent automatically to security personnel to assess the situation and immediately request assistance from law enforcement agencies
- Panic buttons that a teacher or other school faculty can press to send an alert if they feel threatened
- Color-coded smart lights that automatically illuminate to warn of an emergency based on proximity to the possible danger and help people identify safe zones
- Real-time communication to on-site security and emergency services, with different alerts or action plans based on the information being shared with the central system
- Direct lines of communication for people involved in the crisis via a navigation-based mobile app to provide updates and safety instructions in real time
Stan Lequin, vice president and general manager, Insight Digital Innovation, explained:
Insight Safe Spaces harnesses the power of Microsoft Azure IoT solution accelerators and other partner products into meaningful go-to-market solutions that can be developed and fully managed by Insight as standalone offerings or integrated into an existing safety system — opening new doors to enhanced public safety. Insight is helping BeSafe expand its foundation of advanced building information technology, transforming these capabilities into interactive action plans that give emergency responders a critical advantage when every second saved potentially means a life saved.
Rodney Clark, vice president, IoT Sales, Microsoft, added:
ActiveShield is built on an open-source safety notification IoT solution accelerator, jointly developed by Insight and Microsoft, to help partners like BeSafe expedite development of secure, differentiated solutions and accelerate time to value. AISD’s piloting ActiveShield, to keep their schools safe and students learning, demonstrates the transformative impact that can be realized through IoT.
As the 2018 Microsoft Worldwide Artificial Intelligence (AI) Partner of the Year, Insight’s deep expertise in the Internet of Things (IoT) and data analytics puts people at the heart of creating relevant, connected experiences.
BeSafe Technologies provides first responders with advanced information about a facility’s physical layout, surroundings, and access points before arriving at a location, thus enabling responders to expedite their intervention. The information is made instantly available to emergency response agencies and allows first responders to know the exterior surroundings of the property, access routes, and a view of all entrance and escape points. BeSafe’s systems are currently implemented in over 2,500 end-user sites, including more than 150 school districts and colleges across 10 states, and numerous hospitals, law enforcement agencies and municipal facilities.
Insight Enterprises empowers organizations of all sizes with Insight intelligent technology solutions and services to maximize the business value of IT. Insight’s 7,400+ employees provide digital innovation, cloud + data center transformation, connected workforce, and supply chain optimization solutions and services, helping clients successfully manage their IT, innovate, and optimize their operations to run business smarter.
For more information on Insight’s Safe Spaces, visit Insight’s Digital Innovation solutions webpage.
For more information on ActiveShield, visit the BeSafe website to request an online demo.