During an emergency, it’s not always easy to call 911 and explain the dire situation. Now, Israeli startup Reporty provides rescue teams with the precise location and real-time information from your smartphone, including live video.
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Reporty is a free app that facilitates the communication between people in emergency situations and public safety agencies, live-streaming video from your smartphone’s camera to the applicable authorities. Once contacted, the dispatcher will also have access to relevant information, including the person’s name, location, needs, and more. Using the power of the crowd, Reporty is revolutionizing the way first response and public safety agencies manage events in the field.
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) estimates that improving location accuracy could potentially save about 10,000 lives a year. Now, Reporty offers precise location accuracy (1 meter), according to CEO Amir Elichai. When the app is on, the user can click on one of the assistance options on the user interface, which include different emergency services, such as medical assistance, police authorities and firefighters, in addition to local municipal authorities. Once an option is selected, the app live-streams video from the smartphone’s camera, showing authorities exactly what is happening around the user. If the user is unable to speak, Reporty also allows for instant messaging.
“The main goal of the company is to change the way people interact with authorities in an emergency event,” Elichai tells NoCamels.
The advantage of Reporty over simply calling 911, is that in many emergency situations, the ability to coherently explain the situation may be impaired or non-existent. Furthermore, 911 dispatchers on the other side of the phone are completely blind over what is going on with the caller – that is, they literally cannot see where exactly the caller is, who’s around them, if they’re alone, and other general information about their surroundings, Elichai explains. Sometimes they won’t even be able to identify whether it might be a prank call or not.
By showing the incident to the dispatchers through the phone’s camera, these can give instructions to the person in need even before they physically reach his or her location. Elichai recalls an episode in which an eight-month-old baby started to shake while in the mall with his mother. Someone who had Reporty on their phone approached the frightened mother and requested help through the app, and the medical assistant immediately gave instructions about what to do to save the baby’s life. The mother did as she was told, and the baby survived.
Chaired by former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak
Launched in March, Reporty has raised $1.8M and attracted roughly 100,000 users in recent months. In June, the startup won the Tel Aviv Startup Challenge competition run by StarTAU, Tel Aviv University’s entrepreneurship center.
Reporty was founded by Elichai, Alex Dizengof, Lital Leshem and Yoni Yatsun; its chairman is former Israeli prime minister and defense secretary Ehud Barak, who also invested in the startup; former secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, is on Reporty’s advisory board.
Elichai didn’t comment on how the company plans to monetize the app, but sources estimate that the company will sell its solution to emergency authorities.
“The world is facing new challenges”
The idea for Reporty arose when Elichai was robbed on Gordon Beach in Tel Aviv two and a half years ago. He was overwhelmed with the amount of questions he needed to answer in order to receive assistance from the police: “I think the world is facing new challenges, and people will be part of their own personal security, no matter how many systems you’re going to put on the streets, no matter how many cameras.”
Photos and video: Courtesy