The SA Emergency Response Platform using IoT to Improve Response Times


Although the average waiting time for an emergency response is 20 minutes in the country, most South Africans can attest to the frustrating experience of waiting for long periods of times after calling the emergency numbers. Accidents and disasters happen every day, whether it’s a home fire, an armed robbery or a car accident on the road, every second is crucial during such times. This brilliant innovation by a South African startup however, may just save your life in such tragedies.

Based in Stellenbosch, Incipient Software Laboratories has launched an emergency response platform, utilising the Internet of Things (IoT) in order to improve response times. In an effort to build a system that could respond to emergencies, the startup founders developed a platform with sensors such as panic buttons, smoke alarms and collision detections apps which are deployed on smartphone devices.

While the paid version of the app connects users to professional response-providers, the free version simply connects the user to his or her peers. The company’s server receives a signal and immediately alerts the relevant third party system, be it security firms, police or medical services. Emergency services are able to navigate to the incident through information received from the platform.

“Our fallback is virtually always to have a call centre operator contact the local police station. On the service provider side we have an app running on tablets inside their vehicles, which receive the distress signal and directs the service provider to the incident, turn by turn. The most relevant information is displayed to the driver so that he can make split second decisions while engaging,” explains the founder, De Wet Du Toit.
“Our vision is to really provide a provider-agnostic platform, similar to what Uber does with taxis, except that our platform is a bit more complex and ultimately it will result in a safer society.”

Technology is slowly changing many aspects of the emergency management profession for the better, African tech entrepreneurs are playing an active role in coming up with innovations that are improving the sector. Startups such as Inception not only have the potential to save the lives of those impacted by disasters but through this kind of technology, emergency services are able to coordinate rescue missions immediately thus enabling them to work more efficiently.