Mount Horeb firm secures $1.8M bid to prevent unexpected, life-altering events.
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.
Should there suddenly be a spike in humidity level due to a leaking faucet or basement flooding, a text would be sent to the owner, who could instantly discern which room was involved and how quickly the leak was progressing. Alerts vary based on severity level.
Firefighters en route to a house fire would know exactly where a fire started, how quickly it was progressing, and where people were located within the building. Before even arriving on scene, they could be preparing a more calculated and safer plan of attack.
“It’s not that firefighters will get to a fire faster,” Parent clarifies, “but they’ll get there better prepared. We look at this as disruptive technology and a game-changer. At the end of the day it’s still an alarm. We’re just providing a lot more information.”
The company is testing the system in several businesses and has received positive feedback from fire departments and the insurance industry, in particular, because of its potential to help reduce loss of life, home, business, or property.
In its first funding round, oneEvent Technologies secured $1.8 million in new capital that it’s using to bolster its engineering staff, which, incidentally, includes many former Epic engineers.
Currently, the company employs 13 people, and operates — in true startup fashion — out of the basement of a Mount Horeb building.
“The rent is right and we owe it to our investors to operate lean and mean,” notes Parent. The company’s entire focus is now on commercializing the technology in 2016.
“One event can change your life,” Wedig cautions. “If you can prevent that one event so you don’t lose a family member or photos, a home, or a business, that’s pretty powerful stuff.”
608.577.2150 | oneeventtechnologies.com
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