Mount Horeb firm secures $1.8M bid to prevent unexpected, life-altering events.
Preventing fires and other catastrophic events is the idea behind a “smart” monitoring system developed by entrepreneurs Kurt Wedig, left, and Dan Parent of oneEvent Technologies.
Photograph by Tina Bazala/Creative Camera Studios
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From the pages of In Business magazine.
Several years ago, engineer Kurt Wedig was watching a Today show story about how best to escape a hotel fire. The story, he recalls, suggested travelers always be mindful of the number of doorways between their room and the floor’s exit doors so that in the event of a fire, they could crawl along the floor, feeling for and counting doorways as they made their escape.
“I thought, ‘this is crazy in today’s world!’” Wedig says. “There had to be a better way.”
He mentioned the story to his friend, engineer Dan Parent, and in 2011, the men cofounded oneEvent Technologies in Mount Horeb to figure out a better way. “The next thing we know, we’re making patent applications,” Wedig, CEO, says. They have four patents thus far, with 12 pending.
The company has created a software platform that essentially turns a smoke detector into a much smarter 24/7 monitoring system for any commercial or residential building. “We’re trying to reduce false alarms,” Wedig states. “The old smoke alarm is binary, so the only time you’ll hear anything from it is in the alarm-only mode.” In other words, after something bad has already occurred.
By contrast, their platform uses sensors to constantly collect and analyze real-time data from hyped up smoke detectors. Unusual levels of smoke, changes in temperature, unexpected motion, or a spike in the humidity level will generate a text alert to customers, pre-alarm, using a simple Web app.
Wedig says the platform’s most unique feature is its ability to “learn” the intimate characteristics of a building and its occupants over a four- or five-week period, including the areas and hours of most activity, for example, and typical temperature swings.
Learning the burn
Parent, the company’s vice president of engineering, has been testing the system in his own home for quite a while. He recalls receiving one text alert resulting from a charred dinner still smoking in the oven. “I was alerted a full five minutes before the smoke alarm even sounded!” he says. “That’s huge! It’s things like that — the accidental events — that start fires.
“We’d like to put the smoke detector back in the kitchen where it belongs,” he adds.
Without any cameras, Parent says their analytics are “able to learn exactly what a smoke detector ‘sees’ in a room.” The technology grows smarter and smarter the longer it’s used, they say, resulting in more accurate data that provides customers with more peace of mind.