GETTING THE PICTURE: Middletown-based Vizsafe offers an app that allows smartphone users to upload photos and videos that could aid public safety efforts. Pictured above, from left, are Vizsafe employees Brendan Hanna, Debbie Lipsett, President and CEO Peter Mottur and Patrick Hay.
PBN FILE PHOTO/MICHAEL PERRSON
By Rhonda J. Miller PBN Staff Writer
A new social media platform focused – literally with photos and video – on public safety has been developed by Middletown-based Vizsafe Inc. and is being offered to police departments and the general public at no cost.
Vizsafe, the name of both the company and the product, is a Twitter-like app for public safety and community engagement, said company co-founder, President and CEO Peter Mottur.
“It’s a 24/7 crowdsourcing platform individuals with a smartphone can use anywhere,” said Mottur.
The privately tfunded company’s goal is to encourage individuals and emergency-services agencies to embrace and use the Vizsafe app as an additional resource for safety, said Mottur, who offered it to Boston police for use during the 2014 marathon and to Bristol police for use during this year’s signature July fourth parade.
“No matter how many police you have and how many cameras you have, you also have public-safety resources in the crowd because almost everyone has a smartphone in their pocket,” said Mottur.
“The way our system works is that it can capture content by taking a picture and posting it if someone sees anything of concern,” said Mottur. Vizsafe has geosensors, so the location is immediately available.
“Our system is not designed to replace 911. If there’s an emergency, we tell people to call 911 immediately,” said Mottur.
The sheer volume of information sent by the public in a situation like the marathon bombing can be an issue, he said.
“What Vizsafe adds is information that is mapped and time stamped, so it makes filtering so much more efficient,” said Mottur.
One police department poised to add Vizsafe to its public-safety resources, at no cost, is in Mount Pleasant, S.C.
“We use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and we have our own app to push information out to people,” Mount Pleasant Police Department Inspector Chip Googe told Providence Business News.
“I was looking for a different way for us to interact more with the community,” said Googe. “We have the Cooper River Bridge Run in April – that’s been happening for 37 years, and it’s grown so much that now we have 40,000 participants – that’s the people participating in the run.
“With the bombings in Boston last year, we were looking at things we could do here,” said Googe. “I saw that Boston had included Vizsafe in their plan for the marathon this year.