Accountability for all involved is essential for dealing with an emergency situation.
Thanks to a software developer from Plum, responsible parties have a new tool to do this in a very effective way.
B-Three Solutions’ Sight On Scene application — yes, its acronym is SOS — offers a range of features primarily intended to ensure safety in schools. And as a recent exercise with the product shows, it can come in handy.
“A student had a diabetes problem,” said B-Three quality assurance manager Kate Wight. “So she had left the classroom, but no one knew where she was because she was walking in the middle of the hall before going to the office.”
Her teacher noted her absence through SOS and the principal was able to immediately confirm the student’s whereabouts.
The optimal scenario, of course, is that Sight On Scene would never be needed for a real emergency. But if one were to happen, the software stands for the improvement of the readiness factor.
For example, people trying to enter or exit a building would have a better idea of how to proceed, thanks to interactive maps displayed on smartphones and similar devices.
“One of our most important items is the ability to draw a simple floor plan so we can convey information to everyone,” Wight said. “Anyone who gets access from the organization can see it.”
Information relevant to first responders may include details such as the locations of security cameras, fire extinguishers, and automated external defibrillators, plus temporary conditions that may impede progress.
“Probably the most times you’ll have a fire or emergency is when there’s construction going on,” said Mike Walton, founder and president of B-Three Solutions. “We can point that out on the map.”
He emphasized the ease of use of his product, as it can be mapped by hand, rather than having to be used in conjunction with additional software.
In addition to providing up-to-date diagrams, SOS has the ability to display real-time camera feeds from multiple indoor and outdoor points, and it stores still images with timestamps as another resource for rescuers.
Walton said three schools have implemented Sight On Scene, including Holy Family Catholic in Plum and one in West Virginia, and other clients have plans to do so.
The intent of B-Three is to offer a relatively affordable product.
“We looked at some competitors just to get an idea of what people are charging for these apps, and a lot of them are very, very expensive,” said Brooke Taylor, director of marketing and human resources. “They are demanding that school districts invest in their branded hardware and their branded cameras, and that comes with a very high price tag.
“We don’t. We can even synchronize with your neighborhood’s camera system and we charge per camera.”
The fee is also on a monthly basis.
“There is not a huge long-term contract. If it’s something they get into and, no, this isn’t for us, they can get out,” Taylor said. “But I really don’t think most places would. We hope they can see how beautiful this is and say: hey, we really want to invest in this for all our buildings.”
Sight On Seen started as a project that a client paid for B-Three to develop before it ran out of money.
“It was just on a shelf,” Walton said. “And then, about three years ago, some interns came in, and we said, ‘What are we going to wear? Let’s put them on here and see what happens.’ They’ve done really well.”
And so SOS was slated for a March 16, 2020 launch date, which turned out to be the day Pennsylvania schools closed with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We kept working on it in the meantime, when schools were still virtual,” Wight said. “There was less need for people to think about setting up this setup, so we invested the time to improve it.”
Changes will continue as feedback is received from teachers, school administrators and first responders, among others. And members of the B-Three staff, including some of the original interns who have since been hired, are eager to make SOS the best product it can be.
“Everyone wants to work on this,” Walton said. “It’s the coolest project.”
For more information, visit www.bthreesolutions.com.
Harry Funk is a news editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact Harry at firstname.lastname@example.org.