On the fifth floor on Innovation Pointe in Downtown Evansville sits a suite like any other. It’s home to Envolve Engineering, a product design firm that has started to dip its toes into data monitoring and push notifications. Inside one of the generic rooms sits some gadgets and an exit sign, but it’s no normal exit sign.
Envolve Engineering has combined its product design background with its new data monitoring venture to create a smart exit sign. It’s the combination of Envolve’s Pat Boarman’s product design background mixed with the entrepreneurial spirit of businessmen Mike Day and Michael Sandefur. They came together to make Informer Security Systems: in an attempt to help schools stay safe.
Their version of the exit sign has sensors on it like cameras and sounds and speakers. That’s so the signs, which would be positioned throught the school as normal exit signs are, can hear and see in real time if a threat is occurring.
The sound sensors have hearing unlike humans. When we hear a mop fall it may just sound like a gun shot to the human ear. These sensors can easily tell the difference between those two and many others, to keep false alerts from happening.
What would happen in the case of an active shooter: the signs would light up within seconds, letting students and school staff know where to go — either flee left or right or stay in place. As that is happening the signs would get onto a network to alert EMS and law enforcement. The signs will also be tracking the motion of the shooter through the building and pushing that information on a map to everyone in the school via an app, and law enforcement.
The smart signs are a big step forward, but that’s not all Informer is working on. They would also install peripheral accessories like door locks, cameras with license plate and facial recognition. All of those would be connected to the same network as the signs.
The Informer team also has a biometric safe in the works. This would be a failsafe way to keep weapons safe and a way to alert others when someone is opening or trying to open the box.
The folks at Envolve say they have already started talking with some local school districts to install their products. They say it’s all about weighing the cost of safety.
Shootings don’t happen solely in schools. In an ideal world the team says they would like to see their products in all new buildings.