Startup activity is often a good measuring stick for gauging innovation in a particular industry. In first response, some exciting startups could help shape the sector in the coming years. ResearchandMarkets suggests first responder C3I (command, control, communications, and intelligence) equipment spending through 2025 will be driven by things like major international sporting events, border and area security, and disaster and emergency management. The COVID-19 pandemic has also prompted investment in first-response solutions, particularly those in the medical realm.

For instance, emergency-response technology company RapidSOS announced in Q3 a $21 million funding round prompted by the company’s pandemic-relevant technology. RapidSOS offers an emergency-response data platform that securely links life-saving data from more than 350 million connected devices to 9-1-1 and first responders. The platform connects health information from the patient to first responders and then to hospital systems—a seamless, realtime transfer that can empower decisionmaking and enable faster, smarter emergency response. RapidSOS says it will use the latest round of funding to extend its work with more than 4,700 public safety agencies across the globe to provide not just health but also connected building, wearable, telematics, and other data to first responders during critical moments.

Another first-response startup to watch is Corti, which is also innovating in the medical sector. Corti leverages AI (artificial intelligence) in its patient triage software designed to analyze patient interviews in realtime and guide triage medical professionals accordingly. The solution’s goal is to actively “listen” to both questions and answers being given and provide realtime feedback to the triage professional, including suggestions for additional questions. A better, more efficient line of questioning can reduce the liability risk, automatically detect critical cases like a stroke, lower incidences of over or under triaging, and lead to faster triaging—all good outcomes for both patients and medical providers. A different smart triage solution comes from startup QuantaSTAT. The QuantaSTAT platform allows first responders to capture and easily record patient data with the goals of reducing triage time, tracking patients, and providing access to realtime, relevant information.

Robotics company Sphero also spun off a new company called Company Six to commercialize AI software and robotics for first responders, as well as the government and defense industries and people in other sectors with dangerous jobs. The company’s COO moved over to become CEO of the spinoff, and Sphero announced a $3 million seed investment round connected with Company Six. While there isn’t too much information yet about what the new venture-backed robotic and cloud technology company is planning, it’s clear that it will be attempting to solve problems that first responders face when they operate in dangerous environments by leveraging robotics and cloud to provide situational awareness.

Using technology in critical and/or dangerous situations can help the people who are putting themselves in those situations make clear-headed, data-guided decisions in the heat of the moment. When it comes to saving people’s lives, every second matters, and startups tackling first-response challenges with the help of IoT (Internet of Things) technologies are putting critical, innovative tools in the right hands at the right time.

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