Rich Stone, CEO of EXPOCAD, talks EN through the company’s new tool: ELI (Emergency Location Interactive).
“Heck, I’ll tell you what, if I could afford to give it away to every organiser on the planet then I would,” Rich Stone, CEO of tech company EXPOCAD, tells EN.
We’re discussing ELI (Emergency Location Interactive), a new tool launched by the company at the end of 2017 to help organisers quickly respond to issues at their events.
“We have such crazy people here in the States, and of course the UK has had its share as well,” continues Stone. “It was like, you know what, I think we know what we can do. We started on a pretty aggressive task to get this out we managed to pull it off and get it done.”
ELI, put simply, allows organisers, event directors and security personnel to quickly alert anyone else with access to the tool to issues or threats on the show floor. Whether it’s a troublesome customer, a fire, or another danger, the tool can accurately pinpoint the exact location of the problem.
“We’ve had the technology for a while, we just didn’t know what we were going to do with it”
“We deliberately didn’t do it as an app,” explains Stone. “We didn’t want anything to stand in the way of usage. If they have the URL and the password then they can be a user.
“The user with a smartphone will have an accurate map of the facility or area that the event is in. And those that have it then have the ability and are three clicks away.
“The first click would be to get to the tool itself, the next click would be a menu choice to turn on the tool and then the final click is a location/reason on the map to send out a notification to those who have been designated by show management to get the notification.
“We’ve combined three different smartphone technologies to make this all work. It can work via Wi-Fi or cell phone technology. We’re also using messaging, so that the user is going to message out a link that will then show the receiver what, where and when something happened.”
While the tool works for any incident on the show floor, the worst-case scenarios – terror attack or active shooter – loom over our conversation about the new tool.
“We watched a ton of YouTube videos before we produced this,” says Stone. “Videos we did not want to watch.
“We heard that with the Las Vegas massacre, that there was a lot of misinformation being communicated. The security people that we’ve spoken with about this – we were being guided by some really sharp people – were saying exact location information is key.”
When it comes to a crisis on the show floor, it’s important to maintain clear and precise communication, which for Stone means that walkie-talkies are often just not up to the job.
“With walkie-talkies and push-to-talk devices, when all hell breaks loose they’re not quite useless but they get close to useless, because everyone is stepping on each other when they push to talk.
“With ELI, let’s say you and I and four others are observing a fire, we can all communicate that instantly and it all gets communicated; nothing ever drops out.
“The other cool thing is that you can send a message to the authorities with exact locations and reason why without saying a word. It’s quiet. If you’re hiding, and you might have to be hiding, and you need to let someone know that something is going on then this is the perfect tool for that.
“If, for instance, there’s a shooter and they’re in the entrance, where in that entrance are they? Are they on the move? What direction are they going in? You can keep sending these out and those who are getting these things can know the direction of travel of these individuals.”
ELI is available to organisers all around the globe and, says Stone, can work with virtually any graphic.
“We’ve never made noise about any of our products,” he concludes. “This is the first time we’re making a noise, because we feel it’s that important.”