Transforming Public Safety Solutions
Amir Elichai, Founder & CEO, Carbyne, an emergency collaboration platform provider for the Public Safety sector is a delighted man today. It’s being touted that Elichai is building what will be “the biggest public safety company in three years, serving 1.5 billion people.” He has been a transformational leader, combining business acumen with strong financial discipline, deep operational insights, and organizational management. In an interview, he speaks on an array of topics. Excerpts from the interview:
Founding of Carbyne – The History
“The idea for Carbyne came to me when I was robbed while I was at the beach. After calling for emergency services, I was shocked to learn that they did not automatically have my location, and they needed me to tell them exactly where I was before they could send help my way” notes Amir. He adds that at this point in time he realized that if his life was in serious or immediate danger, no one would have been able to help him and thus the idea of Carbyne was conceived.
As a company focusing on enhancing communications and technology for emergency services, Carbyne acts as a gateway for delivering rich and smart data from citizens to public safety answering points. “We’ve also become the world’s largest provider of video to 9-1-1 services (which we’ve patented), delivering over 1 million live minutes between callers and emergency call centers and we’re the largest provider of instant chat to 9-1-1.”
APEX platform – The Features
Carbyne offers the premier cloud-based emergency communication platforms that emergency call centers all over the world have been waiting for. “Our APEX platform was built from the ground up to be the sole call management solution any call center would need and has been built to keep improving with the times. APEX provides PSAPs with cutting edge features like: real-time caller location, patented live video to 9-1-1, text to 9-1-1, instant chat, natural language processing, a real time Caller Aided Dispatch (CAD) API, and Z-axis location technology all on one screen.” APEX also has deep analytics and data capabilities to allow PSAPs gain more insights into the emergencies they have dealt with thus, helping them to improve response time and develop more advanced training methods. “With APEX, citizens and emergency call takers can get the emergency communication technology they deserve, and our first responders are now more prepared for before arriving on scene.”
Modernizing Critical Core Legacy Applications
Responding to a recent Gartner report that by 2025, over 50 percent of government agencies will have modernized critical core legacy applications to improve resilience and agility, Amir notes that the next disruption for government agencies is already here. The legacy technology and isolated systems that were built to protect emergency response agencies are now preventing them from working with other agencies effectively. He notes that changing this strategy of isolation from its core is an important challenge. “To prepare for the future, moving to the cloud is key. Our cloud-based platforms make it easy for agencies to communicate, share data and collaborate and this helps emergency agencies reduce response time and increase response accuracy while providing them the opportunities to seamlessly collaborate with other agencies.”
With the onset of Covid-19 situation globally, emergency agencies realized the importance of flexibility and upgrading to next-generation 9-1-1 to respond to emergencies more efficiently. This realization has led to two distinct challenges: digitally transforming our emergency communication systems nationwide and bridging the gap between emergency caller’s expectations of 9-1-1 call centers and 9-1-1 call center’s actual capabilities, he explains.
A Successful Case Study
In 2019, the company partnered with Cisco and Google to develop a better solution that worked directly with emergency communication centers and didn’t require an application. “This led to us launching in 27 different states in Mexico and catapulted us toward the success we’re having today. We knew we had developed incredible new capabilities and features and could genuinely help people. So, we made the pivot and it’s helping save lives every hour. I couldn’t be prouder of the team who’ve built these amazing platforms.”
A Transformational Leader
Amir recommends speaking with industry experts, who have been in the field for 40-50 years, and developing a process of creating, innovating, and optimizing based on expert feedback — to make sure you are providing the value they are looking for. “If you can successfully develop this loop, your product will provide real value and you are a leader, transforming an industry. We’re doing this for public safety and emergency communications.”
A Word of Advice
“Fear is paralyzing. Being afraid of failure is being afraid of learning and failing fast is much better than dragging out opportunities because you’re afraid of taking risks.” He also stresses on the importance of networking and truly believing in your message.
Modernizing Public Safety Technology Solutions
Peter Quintas, Founder & CEO, SOMA Global
Modernizing Public Safety Technology Solutions
Peter Quintas has always remained a passionate entrepreneur. His favorite part of his journey has been to serve law enforcement, first responders, and public safety personnel. His focus on transformative technology provides a more modern and intelligent platform in the public safety sector and his expertise in building high-growth businesses in innovative enterprise software have helped him create a niche in the industry. For the past 20+ years, Peter has held Executive and CTO positions in several technology companies such as Nomi, InterAct Public Safety Systems, PowerChord, Inc., and True Systems. As the Founder & CEO of SOMA Global, a leading provider of cloud-native, modern public safety solutions, Peter is responsible for driving product and platform development, defining business goals, and executing through growth, including operational and financial responsibilities.
Excerpts from an interview:
Founding of SOMA Global – The History
Founded in 2017, SOMA Global aims at redefining and delivering modern, public safety solutions with a primary focus on saving lives and protecting first responders. SOMA’s team includes public safety and technology veterans, who understand and respect the value of a partnership with an agency. Their Public Safety as a Service (PSAAS™) Platform offers the best computer-aided dispatch, mobile dispatch, records management, and jail solutions on the market. Peter is an engineer at heart who loves building new products and companies from the ground up. “I was part of a small group that acquired a legacy public safety company 15 years ago. I kept close watch in the space and ended up coming back to it because of the lack of technology innovation and the market condition in the consolidation of vendors that had left our agencies, law enforcement, and first responders underserved,” said Peter Quintas.
PSAAS™ – The Features
The public safety industry is riddled with outdated, inefficient, and expensive software. Peter adds that this legacy software is typically a client-server installation with an inept user experience that costs users’ time and is prone to costly errors. “SOMA’s proprietary PSAAS™ (public safety as a service) framework adds value to our partners by bringing their mission-critical technology functions to the cloud. These functions include but aren’t limited to computer-aided dispatch, mobile dispatch, records management, jail solutions, and school safety solutions.” SOMA is unique, as it’s genuinely a cloud-native, modern technology stack. The company embraces a partner versus vendor approach to its relationships. Their mission is to empower public safety agencies to better serve their communities while also striving to ensure everyone gets home safely each and every day.
“The most pressing challenges facing public safety organizations today start with the relationship within the communities they serve,” observes Peter. He emphasizes on the modernization of technology. Communities today experience a high level of transparency, communication, automation, and customer service from the private companies they interact with. A streamlined experience is expected from our communities, and due to aging technology infrastructure, public safety organizations need to provide a more modern experience.
“Modernizing begins with technology but does not end there. Software development, testing, delivery, and support must all be updated to provide a modern SaaS (software as a service) experience. The core business model and pricing are even different. History has demonstrated that this is too far of a drastic shift at its core for legacy companies to adapt.” SOMA strives to bring technology solutions and new procedural efficiencies so public safety personnel can focus on what matters most, keeping their communities and personnel working efficiently and safely.
Revolutionizing Public Safety Solutions
SOMA Global does not consider itself a vendor to its agencies; instead, it works as an extension of its agency partners. The company has partnered with agencies of varying types, geographies, and sizes to conceptualize and build a solution that meets their needs, but in a modern way. “Our customers mean everything to us, and we take great pride in building strong rapport and trust within our partner relationships. We work with our partner agencies and challenge them to re-think how technology can streamline their operations, better serve their communities, and help protect lives.
We are transforming the way they do business; it’s not just a technology evolution.”
Growth and Success
SOMA scaled up its operation after receiving a minority $22.5M investment in January 2021 from family-owned Weatherford Capital. The investment has boosted its ability to scale up to meet the need of its growing partner network and continue innovating its platform solutions.
A Piece of Advice
“Position your mindset in that if you do not fail, you simply aren’t pushing fast or hard enough. Failure is expected and should be considered a learning experience,” observes Peter. He adds that his ability to embrace a people-first culture significantly contributes to their overall success. Pete recognized early that his team must venture outside of their comfort zone to challenge the status quo to do right by their customers; they embrace a ‘do things differently’ mindset he signs off.
Paiblock : Towards a More Digital Lifestyle
Mark Arthur, Founder & CEO, Paiblock
Towards a More Digital Lifestyle
Labelled as a disruptive integration, AI and blockchain can solve different tasks in the financial services industry, from customer service to payment processing. While blockchain offers visibility and data aggregation, AI automates decision-making and improves internal bank processes. Mark Arthur, a seasoned keynote speaker, author and serial entrepreneur, tested and found this powerful intersection to be a smart way for consumers to gather and connect all the dots of the digital life in a single secure place. He thus designed Paiblock, a blockchain-based and AI-powered payment and digital lifestyle platform.
With over ten years of experience in the democratisation of data and the role of blockchain and AI in improving and augmenting social, environmental, and economic outcomes, Mark has been successful in making Paiblock a virtual shopping mall with banks, stores and safe deposit boxes for valuables and identity credentials.
A Bank-agnostic Digital Banking
“Paiblock’s unique value proposition cuts across the increasing need to understand and manage debt, investments and savings in ways that are effective,” says Mark, the winner of CEO Today Global Award 2021. The platform lets users access their checking, savings and mortgage accounts, view and share balance and transaction history, and send money to friends and families around the world. Additionally, its automated end-to-end processes help unlock new insights that allow consumers to understand their options.
“We also offer retail banking customers a bank-agnostic digital banking platform that has been designed to supercharge retail banking experience by providing consumers with various benefits like a better overview of their finances, a seamless way to access accounts, tools to understand and manage loans, and many more.” The comprehensiveness and user-friendliness of Paiblock have helped the platform stand tall among its contemporaries, substantiates CEO TODAY GLOBAL AWARD 2021.
Managing Identity Credentials with Ease
Stolen credentials and identity breaches always bring nightmares to companies across industries; and the number one cause could be poor management of identity credentials. This is where Paiblock brings the native feature of identity credential manger. “With identity credentials and digital banking becoming inextricably linked, Paiblock identity credentials manager has the benefit of streamlining Know-Your-Customer procedures and allows users to share a read-only view of their government identity with a new service provider,” shares Mark.
Paiblock also enables governmental and non-governmental organizations to push government IDs and credentials into users’ wallets using the OpenWallet API. This is including but not limited to government-issued e-invoices, ID cards, biometric passports, social security cards, vaccination cards, etc.
Global Coin Economy for All
Continuing its growth extensively, Paiblock has been launching innovative new services which are contributing to the development of the banking, securities and payment/settlement verticals.
With a core mission to create and maintain a global coin economy that is accessible to all, to minimize coin volatility and return to CPU-based and energy-efficient mining, the company established Paiblock coin or PBC—a cryptocurrency that provides payments, exchanges and remittance.
Moreover, PBC is the general-purpose base coin of the Paiblock Blockchain Network and is seamlessly making its way into the Paiblock services that their users around the globe can access and use in their everyday lives. “The network is integrated into Paiblock to serve as a platform for a wide range of services and to accelerate the Paiblock Coin Economy,” states Mark.
The Four Pillars
Today, Paiblock is a global FinTech company with new features that allow users to add their national social security card and driving license into Paiblock, supporting the global shift into a more digital lifestyle. “Letting users add ID credentials into Paiblock reflects what the company has always stood for,” points out Mark. “We also want to make sure that Paiblock remains family friendly.”
Leveraging AI and Blockchain, Paiblock continues its mission to provide a highly personalised customer experience, a robust and secure digital environment, an easy to use app, and an engaging user journey from start to finish.
Nutter Consulting : Towards Resilient & Sustainable Cities
Melanie Nutter, Principal, Nutter Consulting
Towards Resilient and Sustainable Cities
A persistent striver by nature, Melanie Nutter has always been deeply passionate about tackling environmental issues. Her optimistic and growth mindset, willing to take up challenges as opportunities to do better, helped her to transform her passion into a possibility by building sustainable cities and community solutions for governments and companies.
While serving as the Director of the San Francisco Department of Environment, Melanie and her team worked toward advancing many environmental initiatives, including an 80 percent landfill diversion rate, an updated climate action strategy, a citywide adaptation effort, and a new biodiversity program. Through the 20-plus-year history of the SF Department of Environment, they built upon a solid foundation and significant progress in key urban environmental issue areas including zero waste, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and carbon emission reductions. However, like many of her municipal sustainability colleagues, she was feeling the urgency of the climate crisis and was pondering the question, “why—even with a well-resourced department, strong local political leadership, supportive community members, and enacted forward-thinking policies and mandates— was the city not moving faster toward carbon emission reduction and other sustainability goals?” This burning question led Melanie to explore, learn about, and experiment with smart city initiatives within her role at the City of San Francisco.
Though not a silver bullet, Melanie found that new uses of technology and data in cities can help to accelerate progress toward key sustainability objectives including electrifying transportation, greening the energy supply, and reducing energy use in buildings. Getting to understand this and having a chance to experiment early on while at the department with multiple smart city projects and partnerships, she found Nutter Consulting to provide other local governments and partners with sustainability solutions. “Since then, we have worked with over 30 clients, expanding our partners to government, nonprofits, foundations, and private businesses,” says Melanie. To maximize the benefits and impact of the solutions, Nutter connected new technology projects with existing community-based goals, embedding outcomes to address climate change, increase economic development, or enhance citizen engagement and digital equity.
While Melanie believes in and embraces the power of innovative technologies that certainly improve aspects of municipal work, she also feels that communities are not substantively involved in the decision making process which can cause a lack of trust in the government regarding technology investments on smart city activities and strategies, as well as legitimate concerns about privacy and security.
Consequently, a significant part of Nutter’s mission is to engage a diverse group of stakeholders to understand and meaningfully address their concerns and challenges. “We are committed to ensuring that equity and inclusion are core focus areas of our work. In practice, embedding equity is not limited to stakeholder engagement and public outreach. Equity needs to also be integrated in a project from start to finish—into the project design, the planning process, the strategic recommendations, and the program outcomes,” explains Melanie. From government agencies to technology providers to professional service practitioners, it is critical that decisions are made regarding technology and data serve the entire community, especially those most vulnerable and also that build trust and address tangible community concerns. “An equity focus has long been a value of our firm that we embed in our work—we have advanced and will continue to champion strategies that increase equity and expand opportunities for underserved communities while helping to reduce carbon emissions and tackle the impacts of climate change.”