“Vendors have been tied down by legacy technologies that have been designed specifically for centralized response systems. Even if they wanted to start from scratch, they can’t, because Western systems have a lot of baggage. We’ve made a conscious effort to avoid that.”
founder, Trek Medics
Searching for flexibility and accessibility
In searching for a communications vendor, Jason encountered the same problem over and over, a cultural issue as much as a technological one. Traditional Western vendors rely on a preexisting communications infrastructure to receive calls and dispatch emergency personnel. The vendors Jason was talking with recommended building conventional legacy communications systems, including shipping, installing, managing, and updating on-premises call center hardware. These prerequisites were out of the question for Trek Medics, which didn’t have the resources to build an infrastructure from scratch in each of its target regions.
After a long search, Jason chose Twilio’s communications platform to provide the backbone for his communications system. Rather than requiring the hardware, phone closets, and SIP trunks that other vendors needed, the Twilio platform gave Trek Medics access to a global, cloud-based communications network that was accessible anywhere. With infrastructure no longer a concern, Trek Medics could focus on building projects in low-resource regions rather than worrying about technology.
A critical step in this mission was finding the most reliable and ubiquitous method of communication. SMS was the clear choice in most communities. Trek Medics leveraged the Twilio SMS API to create BEACON, an open-source, text-message-based emergency medical dispatching platform developed specifically for communities where consistent ambulance response is not available.
“One of our guiding values is accessibility, and the Achilles’ heel of emergency communications is interoperability, so we’ve committed to a lowest-common-denominator approach. SMS is the current lingua franca of mobile communications,” Jason says.
By relaying text messages from the scene of an emergency to trained responders throughout the community, BEACON enables the nearest available emergency care providers to quickly locate, treat, and transport emergency victims to local hospitals.