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Emergency response software relies on smart phones.

A lot of money has been spent since 9/11 to improve communication among agencies and first responders during an emergency. A new system puts those running an operation in touch with those they're tasked with saving.

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A group of entrepreneurs recently rolled out a pilot system that brings civilians into the loop during a crisis. With offices in Silicon Valley, Calif., and New York, CiviGuard has developed a system that relies heavily on the increasing use of smart phones.

In real time, the system delivers location-specific alerts and guidance to civilians. For example, it can tell citizens the locations of hospitals, police stations or emergency escape routes.

"It's like taking OnStar and putting it in your palm," said Zubin Wadia, CEO and founder of CiviGuard.

The controller of the system can view an interactive map of a region during an emergency and communicate with subscribers based on their locations. If he notices citizens, represented by pixilated squares on the computer screen, walking the wrong way, he can point them in the right direction by sending a message to their smart phones.

Civilians can respond via their phones to signify if they are lost, hurt or OK The message automatically comes with the location from where it was sent. Those messages are posted on Facebook or Twitter for friends and family members to see.

The city of Manor, Texas, has signed on to be CiviGuard's first client. The company in late June presented its system to the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation.

"We've also talked to the defense industry in both the public and private sectors," co-founder Tim Coleman said, adding that CiviGuard would come in handy during incidents like the shooting at Fort Hood, Texas. "You can deploy this at any military installation across the world."
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Title Annotation:TECHWIRE
Comment:Emergency response software relies on smart phones.(TECHWIRE)
Publication:National Defense
Date:Aug 1, 2010
Words:303
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