- Responder Ventures, an investment firm focusing on technology for emergency responders, is partnering with Amazon Web Services on ResponderXLabs, a project to showcase and promote first responders tech firms, according to Government Technology.
- The project, which will start with 13 companies, focuses on software to create more efficiencies rather than more front-line response or surveillance technology.
- Amazon Web Services will use its resources, including its Public Sector Marketplace, to house the technology platform and bring it to more potential clients. Responder Ventures says it is also looking for other corporate partners.
There's a growing push to get emergency responders to embrace new technology. In June, AT&T announced that its public safety communications platform FirstNet had received more than 1,000 subscriptions from public departments looking to take advantage of the dedicated public safety broadband network. Verizon is also eyeing a FirstNet alternative. Nashville, TN partnered with Apple to improve location sharing in its 911 calls, and Uber has said it is working to improve location services when its users dial 911 through its app.
While Amazon Web Services is a strong partner for this initiative, it recently found itself in hot water for promoting an AI facial recognition software known as Rekognition to clients, despite fears from civil rights groups that it could lead to discriminatory policing.
Responder Ventures is targeting a more mundane shift in technology. Bryce Stirton, president of the investment firm, told Government Technology that its tools were "clean simple solutions to improve efficiencies to make [clients’] personnel safer, more effective," largely through back-end software. That's in line with some of the steps cities like Philadelphia and Los Angeles have taken to digitize paper-based processes or integrate technology into more bureaucratic functions, a distinctly unsexy upgrade that still creates cost and time savings.
With emergency response departments often strapped for time, having a platform that makes technology procurement easier will help bring new systems online, and the Amazon platform will offer credibility to emerging startups.