For decades, educational settings have relied on intercoms and walkie-talkies in the event of an emergency. These outdated technologies offer limited information to assist administrators or first responders and often fail to provide clear communication in high-pressure situations. Technology has advanced in leaps and bounds over the decades since these solutions were originally conceived and deployed. CENTEGIX recognizes the need for innovation to find its way into classrooms.
Whether medical emergencies, student altercations, or weather events, CENTEGIX understands the daily safety demands unique to educational environments. These routine incidents, along with the possibility of an intruder situation, are what motivate CENTEGIX to offer solutions that allow schools to ensure student safety on a daily basis. Currently, providing crisis management solutions to over 700 sites, including some of the largest school districts in the country, CENTEGIX is committed to excellence in educational security.
With its market-leading CrisisAlert™ solution, CENTEGIX offers a simple-to-use, reliable method for getting help in an emergency. The benefits of this technology extend beyond educational facilities to enable safety across a number of environments, including the hospitality, retail, and healthcare industries.
The following is the CIO Applications Magazine’s conversation with Matthew Stevens, CEO of CENTEGIX.
Please tell our readers about the principle of your company.
We believe in leveraging technology to save lives. The solution we’ve built is primarily applied to create better, more secure school environments, improving the academic environment. Considering that security and safety are not limited to educational institutions, we also extend our value proposition across industry verticals, such as hospitality and healthcare sectors, where the safety of workers is a pressing need.
The technology is simple to use. At the push of a button, administrators and first responders are notified of the alert, who called for help, and that person’s location. The location accuracy of our technology provides actionable information covering entire campuses with no dead zones. In the event of a campus-wide alert or lockdown, multiple notification mechanisms are initiated, including colored strobes, desktop alerts, and intercom integration.
This straightforward solution— push a button, and help comes — makes its use ideal for everyday incidents that schools face.
The solution we’ve built is primarily applied to create better, more secure school environments, improving the academic environment
We have designed CrisisAlert™, a revolutionary crisis management platform that comes with a wearable alert badge. It allows teachers, administrators, or any members of staff to initiate either a personal call for help— which we call a staff alert—or a campus-wide emergency protocol. This sort of technology is invaluable for the day-to-day situations that arise in schools, from injuries and other medical emergencies to student discipline situations to severe weather. With CrisisAlert’s room-level accuracy, responders can quickly identify the person who needs help and their exact location as soon as an alert is triggered. This makes the information immediately actionable, a benefit that static panic buttons and apps cannot provide. Also, with a campus alert, it ensures the lockdown of an entire facility, including the playground and parking space, in the event of campus-wide dangerous circumstances. Our solution perfectly strikes the need for all-round security at school, college, or any other public place that needs quick access to help during any emergency.
What are the gaps you are witnessing in the school safety space, and how do your solutions address these issues?
We have been working on this solution for five years. In the beginning, our focus was on providing audio and video solutions, but later we realized the need for wearable devices to ensure seamless, simple to use security. Unfortunately, many facilities still opt for ineffective two-way radios or fully mobile-based app solutions. But triggering a swift alert through mobile apps is not easy. These apps demand users’ dexterity and robust Wi-Fi connectivity. By combining our knowledge of industry-leading hardware and software with a thorough understanding of these hurdles, we developed a purpose-built crisis management solution that enables our customers to overcome these limitations to ensure the safety and security of both faculty and students.
To deliver reliable solution coverage, we have created a segregated backplane—a resilient and self-healing Internet of Things mesh network. It ensures connectivity in the event of a crisis without burdening our clients’ existing Wi-Fi or network.
Please mention a case study to help our readers understand the efficacy of your technology.
An emergency arrived in one of the clients’ schools when a student had a sudden seizure. Fortunately, a staff member was present there and pressed the button on the alert badge. As the nurse was notified about the incident immediately, it allowed her to respond within seconds.
To be brief, the nurse had resuscitated and saved the student before EMS arrived. Within a week, the student was back to school—healthy and ready to attend classes. I don’t want to imagine what could have happened if CrisisAlert was not in that school.
Beyond the periphery of the education sector, where does your solution play a vital role?
Beyond the education sector, our solution is equally helpful to other markets like hospitality, healthcare, and retail. According to a current survey, almost 57 percent of the custodial staff at hotels are the victim of sexual assault or abuse. Our out-of-the-box wearable device never lets them feel alone as it allows them to notify and seek help with the simple press of a button.
What does the future hold for your company?
Since our inception, we have witnessed a triple-digit YoY growth. We currently have deployed over 250,000 devices that protect over three quarters of a million students and staff across the country. We have heard from our customers that one of the biggest challenges that schools face is vaping. We take this challenge as an opportunity to innovate new solutions such as vape detectors and air-quality monitors. Looking ahead, we have plans to provide automated gunshot and audio detectors to identify panic screams.
In a nutshell, our goal is to make safe environments where people can be confident about their safety. In the days to come, we will continue to push our solutions into different markets and enhance its capabilities to turn our goal into a reality.