ShotPoint, from Databuoy, is happy to run in the background of existing security technologies, according to company president and founder Kathleen Griggs. The shot location technology is designed to run in the background of existing security solutions, making it easy to implement and deploy.
In an interview with 21st Century State & Local, Griggs explained that her company’s patented sensor mesh approach sets it apart from competitors.
“ShotPoint is an acoustic localization system. We rely on microphones–not your typical microphones, though, they’re a little bit special,” Griggs explains. “We have four microphones for each individual sensor and each sensor has integrative processing and is intelligent. We use a network sensor approach. The multisensor approach weeds out false alerts.”
When the sound is captured on multiple sensors, the data is fed through a central fusion processor, which helps determine whether the noise captured is a gunshot.
Griggs explained that the outdoor system has one extra capability over the indoor system. In certain circumstances, the outdoor system can determine the trajectory of the bullet–very helpful information for the police to have during their investigation. In order to capture the trajectory, the system needs three or more sensors to detect the bullet at the same time. Additionally, it needs to be a gun with high-speed rounds, such as a rifle or certain handguns. This detection is tougher in the indoor environment due to less open space.
The ShotPoint system can also integrate with existing security technologies. For instance, ShotPoint can use security cameras to help police. When it installs its sensors in a building, it makes a floor plan of the building, and notes where security cameras are located. It then divides up the building into zones. During an active shooter situation, ShotPoint helps determine what zone a shooter is in, and then Databuoy knows exactly what cameras it needs to look at. At that point, Databuoy uses this info to grab images of the shooter or shooters–extremely helpful to police as they are securing the building.
In terms of getting into schools, Griggs stresses the importance of getting a school district’s buy-in.
“The school district has to be on board, but for them it’s one school at a time,” Griggs noted. “Once you’re in one school, it’s so much easier to complete the rest of the district. There are a lot of hurdles that come with implementing in one school that you don’t have to jump again for the other schools.”
As with other sensor-based solutions, there is an annual subscription cost. With ShotPoint, that subscription cost is tied to the warranty, which includes annual updates. However, if a customer doesn’t want to pay the annual fee, the sensors are theirs to keep and manage. Griggs notes that the sensors are able to report their heartbeats, so to speak. The sensors are equipped with the ability to report their health and functioning status, making repairs and monitoring much easier.
While Griggs says there is still a lot of ground to cover in the shot sensing world, she views these sensors as having so much more potential. She wasn’t able to comment on specifics, but hinted at new capabilities for the sensors.
“We see sensing localizing and event reporting as really a fundamental technology, whether we are reporting on shots or other events,” Griggs said. “Once you put the sensors in the school, we can continue to provide upgrades year after year. The sensors are not just going to be sitting around waiting for shots; we want to make it more of a utility.”
Griggs believes that unfortunately shot sensing technology is becoming a necessity for schools.
“Time equals lives saved. There are 52 school shootings a year. It’s way more than a non-zero threat,” Griggs noted. “If you are planning to respond in an active shoot scenario, you should plan to add situational awareness for first responders. If you are looking for tech that will save lives you want an automated system like we have. The longer you are waiting to discover who the shooter is or how many there are, you are losing out on the golden hour where you can save lives.”
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