BlueLight founder and CEO Preet Anand shares his vision for re-inventing 911.
The safety service built for a mobile world. Better than dialing 911, it is the fastest way to get help in an emergency.
What problems do you solve for government?
We solve the key problem of providing dispatchers with a caller’s location information. Emergency communications have actually become worse with the rapid adoption of the smartphone. 70% of 911 calls are made from smartphones, but dispatchers only get immediate location identification if someone calls from a landline. That doesn’t make sense.
BlueLight routes emergency calls to the nearest dispatchers based on the callers position and provides them with the caller’s exact location (along with other vital information). This ensures 1) the caller is getting the fastest response time as they are getting routed to the closest responders, instead of CHP and 2) the dispatcher knows exactly where the caller is if the caller is unable to speak or identify their location
This accelerates the speed of response and improves the outcomes for citizens
What’s the story behind our product?
In my freshman orientation for college, back in 2006, I heard the statistic that one in four college females were victims of attempted sexual assault. Having a sister, along with other many other important females in my life, I decided to make a dent in that number by developing a better solution. I made the wrong choice of trying to make pepper spray better and quickly learned that wasn’t the right idea.
Fast forward five years and I was a product manager at Zynga. Someone I was having coffee with had to jet to a meeting and they left their wallet behind but took their smartphone. At a subconscious level, he made the decision that his phone was more important than his wallet (his identity!). I realized the solution had to be on the smartphone to get widespread adoption.
The company was officially founded in January 2013. As we were learning about emergency communications for campuses, we realized that the opportunity was to improve 911 itself. That being said, we still think college campuses are a particular sweet spot for our service as campus security is not alerted when someone calls ‘911’ on campus, yet they are the closest responders.
What are its key features?
BlueLight has a couple of key features:
We route your call to the nearest responders (private or public) based on your position and provide them with your location. This requires no integration on the dispatcher’s end and it typically takes us only 45 minutes to add a new entity (such as ski patrol at a ski resort or a college campus).
If you call 911, we display your nearest address on the device itself so you can quickly confirm your location to a dispatcher without having to frantically look around.
You can test the service to know that it actually works!
4) It is available from your lock screen?
5) For day to day utility, you can use BlueLight to let someone know you’re on your way and it will show them your real-time location, notify them when you are nearby to your destination, and automatically ping them when you have arrived.
What are the costs, pricing plans?
Currently BlueLight is free. Ultimately, we expect to adopt a pricing model that will have an annual or monthly subscription that starts after a free trial.
We won’t do this until we believe we have proven the credibility of our service, as that is our first priority. We’re confident that once we have demonstrated the vast improvement that BlueLight offers, people will be willing to pay (given enough notice).