TEL AVIV – An Israeli startup for emergencies and distress calls was selected to set up shop in Rio as part of the Olympics’ comprehensive security network.
SayVU is an app that emits a distress signal to an emergency call center from any phone, even if it is locked and without needing to log in.
A newly established center in Rio is now handling emergency and distress calls sent from the app. Its unique technology slashes response time from emergency services, including police, firefighters and first responders.
“We see the Olympics as a main stage for global exposure of the unique technology we developed,” The Jerusalem Post cited SayVU CEO Amotz Koskas.
Using the phone’s microphone, SayVU gathers data the moment a distress call is sent. The app also has the ability to send reports to a predetermined list of emergency contacts.
The tragic abduction and murder of three Israeli youth in 2014 inspired Koskas to develop the app. One of the kidnapped boys dialed the police from the kidnapper’s vehicle but the operator believed it to be a prank. The kidnapping launched the summer war with Hamas.
Koskas, a student at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev at the time, was determined to prevent a similar tragedy from occurring.
The following year, Koskas went on to win the “Innovation in the Public Sector” competition held by the university together with Google.
A pedophile was successfully apprehended when a kindergarten teacher from the southern town of Ofakim used the app.
As a result, the Ofakim Municipality expanded the program to include all its educational institutions, social workers and a municipal call center. Other municipalities are expected to follow suit.
For the next stage of development, SayVU will automatically connect emergency responders even if the user cannot trigger the app, by detecting abnormalities such as car accidents.
SayVU and another Israeli startup, Optoknowledge, were awarded funds from a $1.9 million investment from the Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial R&D Foundation (B.I.R.D).