Build? Buy? Or partner?

The Public Safety Network
By Drew Delaney, Director of Business Development, PSN
Thursday, 10 February, 2022

Build? Buy? Or partner?

The Public Safety Network takes a look at who has been investing, partnering and integrating products and capabilities in the public safety market.

The race is on among public safety technology vendors as police, fire and emergency medical response agencies upgrade their IT systems, adopt mobile technologies and move more operations to the cloud. This shift is not only building momentum for software and cloud providers but making waves for legacy technology vendors and new entrants across software, hardware and IoT.

Why? End users need simple solutions in emergencies. How? The winners will need to provide simple, end-to-end solutions that are easy to implement so first responder operations can become more efficient. Let’s take a look at who has been investing, partnering and integrating products and capabilities in the public safety market recently.

In December 2021, Honeywell announced an acquisition of US Digital Designs, Inc. The alerting and dispatch communications solution will be integrated into Honeywell’s Fire and Connected Life Safety systems business to enable faster emergency response times and increase situational awareness of building emergencies. When combined with Honeywell’s solutions, US Digital Designs’ offerings will securely transmit detailed data about the emergency, such as the type of hazard, severity and location within the impacted building, all before first responders even arrive onsite.

Taking it a step further, in January 2022 Honeywell announced a strategic investment and technology integration with RapidSOS. Honeywell noted, “RapidSOS helps to deliver better information to emergency centres, while our recent acquisition of US Digital Designs improves communication from the emergency centre to the fire station.”

Honeywell is building an end-to-end communications platform for buildings, alarm monitoring stations, emergency centres and fire stations to speed response times and provide real-time accurate information.

In January 2022, MSA Safety led a Series B investment round in Fotokite, builders of an autonomous, tethered drone that provides video overwatch and situational awareness in emergencies. This furthers the two companies’ partnership after establishing a joint development agreement back in July 2020.

MSA has been building a ‘connected firefighter’ platform for a while now, with its FireGrid cloud-based software providing local and remote monitoring of various connected devices. With a drone overwatch view of the fireground and thermal imaging pushed directly into MSA’s FireGrid software, it appears that MSA is trying to develop an end-to-end solution to provide fireground situational awareness.

In September 2021, Vector Solutions acquired Envisage Technologies to bring Envisage’s training, compliance and performance management software solutions into an existing enterprise software portfolio of risk management, workforce management and inventory and asset management. From the media coverage, “The deal reflects Vector’s strategy of more integration of public safety technologies… strategically adding new products and capabilities into their portfolio to expand their value to clients.”

In September 2021, Mark43 announced a partnership and integration with what3words to provide 10-foot location accuracy of emergencies to first responders using their CAD and RMS software. Any agency that decides to deploy what3words will need little or no technical effort to use it with Mark43 products.

As Mark43 said, “We want to make the Mark43 software platform as complete of a solution as possible for our customers.”

Public safety technology vendors will continue to drive towards end-to-end solutions. Large, legacy providers like Honeywell and MSA Safety will continue to integrate, invest in and acquire new products and capabilities to expand their value to emergency responders. Growth software companies like RapidSOS and Mark43 will build out their ecosystem of partners and technology integrations as larger, legacy companies circle for acquisition targets.

Startups with early traction and products that solve real operational needs for public safety will be targets for partnership and investment from legacy and growth companies, priming them for later acquisition and integration into larger end-to-end solutions.

Drew Delaney serves as the Director of Business Development and Advisory Services for the Public Safety Network. Drew has nearly 20 years of experience in wireless technology, public-private partnerships and public safety. His roles have spanned government affairs, business development, marketing, product development and strategy with Fortune 500 companies, startups, and federal and state governments.

Top image credit: ©

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