Safety and security are universal concerns, and the more information at one’s disposal, the more prepared one is to make vital decisions. These are the ideas behind eVigilo’s public alert system, or SMART: Scalable Messaging Application in Real-Time, “a Global solution provider for public warning systems.”
eVigilo is a Netanya-based start-up whose name means “be alert” in Latin. As CEO Guy Weiss explains, the company’s goal is to step into the gap between government agencies and telecom industries, helping the former use the latter to get safety and security information to citizens in a timely fashion.
“In 2008 we identified a growing need of governments and federal and municipal institutions to alert and inform citizens in emergency situations such as missile attacks, natural disasters, hazardous leaks and so on,” said Weiss.
“Governments usually have limited means at their disposal and rely on sirens. We came with a lot of experience in high-tech and a background in the field of messaging, but we realized that there’s something lacking,” Weiss explained. “We thought about how to translate our knowledge into solutions that countries would be interested in. Our goal was to achieve geographical precision and send notifications through all the channels citizens are actually exposed to: billboards, beepers, cellular phones, television, Internet, etc.”
As the company states on its website, “With today’s lifestyle, people expect – and need – to receive information anytime, anywhere. The eVigilo SMART Alert platform leverages the ubiquity of the existing communication networks to meet this real-life challenge.”
The SMART system accepts input from a variety of sources, including existing sensors and manual input from emergency response centers. It then sends out geo-specific alerts through multiple channels. This means only people within the affected zone are warned of the potential danger, while those a safe distance away are not panicked unnecessarily. Alerts continue to be sent periodically throughout the emergency, so anyone entering the danger zone after the first message is sent will still receive the warning.
Israel’s northern city of Akko launched eVigilo’s City Alert™ system in 2012. In addition to receiving emergency information, citizens are able to download the app to their smartphones, free of charge, enabling them to report emergencies to authorities quickly and efficiently. The app also functions as a real-time panic button, alerting the call center, which contacts the resident and sends police out to check on the situation.
At the time, mayor Shimon Lakri said: “The city of Akko invests considerable efforts and funds to increase the population’s personal sense of security, both through operation of state-of-the-art emergency control rooms, as well as through proactive security patrols and 24/7 center of operations. We anticipate that the City Alert™ system will help our efforts to transfer the information to the population in an effective and interactive manner.”
eVigilo has been selected as Israel’s general contractor for its public alert system. It has also been deployed in Chile, where millions were safely evacuated in advance of an earthquake and tsunami in April. According to Chilean President Michelle Bachelet in an official statement, “The messages were sent on time.”
Weiss noted, “We feel immense satisfaction to have contributed [to] saving the lives of millions of people.”
eVigilo’s software is used by security system providers in Germany and Austria. Contracts are also in the works with countries such as Brazil, Mexico and Russia.
Instrumental in the financing of eVigilo’s development has been crowdfunding platform OurCrowd, a unique investment platform which supports Israeli projects and startups. According to Zack Miller, head of OurCrowd’s investor community, “OurCrowd is the world’s biggest equity crowdfunding platform, offering individuals a better way to invest in the best Israeli and global startups.”
On eVigilo’s successful use in Chile’s impending earthquake, Miller said, “Chile deserves world class technologies to protect it from natural disasters. It’s an honor that Israeli technology can be used to protect the lives of thousands on the home front.”
OurCrowd differs from other familiar entities, such as Kickstarter, in that it is not donation-based. Instead, OurCrowd’s investors take an active equity stake in the companies they invest in. Investors from all around the world looking to invest in Israel’s Startup Nation are now able to tap into the best Israeli innovation has to offer.
Learn how you can share in the success of companies like eVigilo by joining OurCrowd’s investor community.