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BlueLight, a mobile 911 app created by Preet Anand ’10, is contributing to the White House "Smart Cities" initiative. BlueLight addresses the deficiency in 911 response times from mobile devices. Emergency response systems are still based on landlines; with a standard call from a mobile phone, it can take up to six minutes for responders to receive location information, often only as specific as within three blocks.
In areas where the BlueLight app is supported, it will route your call based on your position and provide your location. Otherwise, if someone is outside of the BlueLight network, it will make a regular 911 call. BlueLight pinpoints the location and reaches the closest responder – local or campus police or other appropriate emergency services. The service is available on over 250 college campuses as well as at sites such as corporate campuses and ski resorts.
“Emergency response is the most vital function of any community, and it is far behind the rest of the world technologically,” Anand said. “This service can make people safer.”
To earn a place in the $160 million Smart Cities Initiative, BlueLight was one of two winners of the Multi-City Innovation Campaign. As part of the Smart Cities program, BlueLight will test a pilot program in four cities beginning in 2016. Mountain View has agreed to be part of the program, and discussions are under way with Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Green Bay.
Anand was part of SCU’s 2009 Solar Decathlon team, which won third place in the U.S. Department of Energy contest to build a solar-powered home. Anand left SCU when he received a lucrative offer to become Zynga’s youngest lead product manager. However, the University’s Jesuit teachings and emphasis on the public good have always resonated with him, and BlueLight was a way to pair his skills with those ideals.