First eyes on the scene for first responders

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Dean Drako, Founder and CEO of Eagle Eye Networks and Justin Stearns, Vice President of Chimera Integrations discuss a new camera sharing technology that helps speed up rescue efforts for first responders.

Dean Drako, Founder and CEO of Eagle Eye Networks

Can you tell me about Eagle Eye 911 Camera Sharing?

It’s an idea I’ve been working on for several years.

With the number of security cameras that are deployed around the world, I knew there was a way to use those cameras to help first responders or emergency response personnel before they arrive at the scene of an emergency.

A few years ago, we introduced a feature called “First Responder Sharing,” where end users could input the email addresses of the first responders that they wanted to share cameras with.

However, it wasn’t widely adopted because inputting and updating first responders email addresses was a hurdle for end users.

Eagle Eye 911 Camera Sharing takes a different approach.

It focuses on 911 Emergency Communication Centers (ECCs) and requires almost no effort on the part of the business or school.

The solution enables businesses and schools to share their security cameras with ECCs during – and only during – a 911 emergency.

It’s a very simple process. The business simply designates which of their security cameras (all or many) they want to make available to the ECC.

Then, when a 911 call is made, the ECC obtains access to security cameras near the scene of the emergency which end users have chosen to share.

The telecommunicator (ECC professionals who answer 911 calls and dispatch first responders) sees a map with the available security cameras.

The map shows the direction in which the cameras are pointing and other useful information.

The ECC telecommunicators are able to view the live camera feeds and some historic video until the emergency case closes.

This gives the ECC telecommunicators first eyes on the scene and they can share what they’re seeing with fire departments, medical personnel and of course, law enforcement.

Eagle Eye Networks developed this solution with RapidSOS and it is available in 99% of the 911 ECCs in the US.

Eagle Eye resellers and customers are calling it revolutionary, because no one has provided anything like it that gives telecommunicators first eyes on the scene.

What are some of the main advantages of this solution?

Eagle Eye 911 Camera Sharing can be implemented in small towns and large cities across the US with relative ease.

The system is easy to deploy and easy to use and the ECC already has the appropriate software.

Designating a camera only requires the click of a button. There are no barriers to entry in terms of deployment and maintenance, and it has a very low cost.

One of the key advantages of Eagle Eye 911 Camera Sharing is for first responders.

They have a very tough job and often walk into unknown situations. Sometimes they even have conflicting information.

Now, in situations where Eagle Eye 911 Camera Sharing has been deployed, ECCs can actually see the situation unfolding and deliver that information to first responders.

In critical situations, Eagle Eye 911 Camera Sharing can help first responders speed up rescue efforts and potentially save lives.

It also makes the job of first responders safer, because they will have much more situational awareness.

What kind of organizations will use this solution?

Given the heartbreaking scourge of mass shootings, it’s no surprise that we have seen interest from the education sector.

We are also seeing a lot of interest from corporations and corporate campuses. They want to make sure that their employees, visitors and customers are safe.

I think we will eventually see a lot of interest from retail and other markets too.

What kind of feedback have you had for Eagle Eye 911 Camera Sharing?

I have spent a lot of time talking to our reseller partners and there’s a lot of excitement about bringing first-of-its-kind technology to their customers.

We’ve had a similar reaction from public safety professionals, including those who work in 911 ECCs.

They’re excited to get access to video feeds that will allow them to do their jobs better. It’s a game changer.

Why have you made this solution available to organizations that are not currently customers of Eagle Eye Networks?

The primary reason we have for doing this is so that it can benefit society.

The founding principle of Eagle Eye Networks is to make the world a safer place. We want to make Eagle Eye 911 Camera Sharing easily available to all.

We recognize that there are a lot of organizations that may not want to change their existing video system, but they want this camera sharing capability.

We want to do the right thing and make this system as broadly available as possible.

For this reason, we’ve made it possible for organizations to add Eagle Eye 911 Camera Sharing to any existing video surveillance system at a very low cost.

Justin Stearns, Vice President of Chimera Integrations

Can you tell me a bit about yourself and Chimera Integrations? 

Chimera Integrations is a security integration firm based in Syracuse, NY with five offices across the state. Chimera was founded by Casey White, who serves as President, in 2017.

I formerly owned a door hardware/access control company. Casey and I merged the two companies together in 2021 and I joined Chimera as Vice President.

We like to say that greatness can only be achieved when the heads of many come together under the body of one; that’s the spirit that embodies Chimera and why we adopted the name of the three-headed mythical beast.  

Last year, we purchased a cybersecurity company and rebranded it AlchemyCore.

The idea here is to step up the pendulum between physical security and cybersecurity, to create a kind of synergy.

We know security through and through and understand that there needs to be more of a bridge between cyber and physical security for both resellers and end users.

As VP, I oversee operations. I describe my job as building the foundation under a skyscraper.

It’s my role to make sure that, as an organization, we’re all on the same boat and rowing in the same direction at the same time. 

Can you tell me about Eagle Eye 911 Camera Sharing and what it means for first responders and the industry? 

Eagle Eye 911 Camera Sharing allows surveillance to become less of a forensic tool and much more of a proactive one.

If anyone within 1,000 feet of a camera that is logged into the system makes a 911 call, the Emergency Call Center (ECC) will be able to automatically access the video feed of those cameras.

This allows the professionals who work at the ECC to provide a heightened level of situational awareness to first responders, whether it’s an active shooter incident, a medical situation or a fire. 

What makes Eagle Eye 911 Camera Sharing stand out from other technologies? 

We’ve had video monitoring for a long time, which includes intrusion detection and system monitoring.

Current technology can send an alert the second somebody’s breaking into a facility, but 911 Camera Sharing goes a step beyond that. 

In my local school district, last year, we had a series of prank phone calls about an active shooter situation.

Everybody went into complete lockdown. Because a solution like Eagle Eye 911 Camera Sharing wasn’t available, the police were opening every single door, anticipating an active shooter on the other side.

If they had the information that Eagle Eye 911 Camera Sharing would have provided, then they would have been able to discover much more quickly that there was no emergency. 

Is this an expensive system to deploy? 

The beautiful thing about Eagle Eye 911 Camera Sharing is that it is one of the most cost-effective solutions out there.

It’s also really easy to roll out if there’s an existing camera system.

If an organization has IP cameras, chances are they’re ONVIF-compliant, or we can split the streams.

That means we don’t have to change any existing infrastructure. 

Where can our readers go to find out more? 

For end users, I’d suggest going directly to Eagle Eye Networks.

Eagle Eye will connect the organization with a professional reseller like Chimera who can work with the business or school to implement 911 Camera Sharing.

There are simple solutions for both existing Eagle Eye customers and for those who use a different video management system provider.

This technology is definitely a game changer.

We’ve gone from surveillance being a forensic tool, to using analytics to become more proactive and now we can share camera feeds to become even more collaborative.

The benefit of this feature is unmatched in anything I’ve ever seen in surveillance systems before.

This article was originally published in the May edition of Security Journal Americas. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.

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