We live in the age of the smartphone. Just about everyone and their mother has one, and it is attached to them at the hip.
Most of us can’t go anywhere without our phones, let alone go just fifteen minutes without checking them. One study found the average Millennial checks their phone five times an hour, every hour, and spends a third of their waking day on their phone.
By 2020, 70% of the global population is expected to own a smartphone—that’s 6.1 Billion smartphones!
With so much of our time and attention being poured into these tiny devices, the least we can do is make positive use of it.
That’s exactly what one entrepreneur is doing with his new software that empowers smartphone users to report crime and assist in rescue efforts.
Meet Jon Fisher, the founding CEO of CrowdOptic, a cutting-edge technology in partnership with Hewlett Packard Enterprises that is leveraging the smartphone revolution to create a safer world. Fisher is a veteran inventor behind several well-known technologies with multi-million dollar acquisitions. He’s also the author of “Strategic Entrepreneurism,” and one of American City Business Journal’s 40 Under 40.
This week on the Unconventional Life Podcast, I interviewed Fisher about his latest for-good software, CrowdOptic.
Fisher says the idea for CrowdOptic came to him one day when he was watching boats race across the water, his favorite pastime. He wanted a way to determine the location of the moving boats, but he realized the technology didn’t exist yet.
So he did what every ordinary person in that situation would have done—he decided to invent the technology himself.
With three successful exits under his belt, the Silicon Valley tycoon is no stranger to tech startups. He’s got a trusty team of engineers who have worked with him on every project for the past 25 years. That kind of trust, coordination, and partnership is invaluable.
“These 15 people I work with, most of them I date back to 20 years. And we wear that as a badge of honor,” Fisher says.
In 2015, Fisher and his team launched CrowdOptic.
It’s essentially a software for your smartphone that lets you determine the precise GPS coordinates of a moving target.
Pretty cool, right?
Here’s how it works—”you have a couple of satellites that look down on your phone and know through triangulation the location of your phone,” Fisher explains. “You know how you hold up your phone to take a video of something significant in the world? With this new software, we know where they’re aimed. We can find the precise location of what you’re looking at through your device, where the object of interest is.”
In layman’s terms, CrowdOptic kicks in when several phones are aimed at the same thing. In the event of a threat to public safety, like a fire or a bombing, it’s natural for people to take out their phones and hit record.
CrowdOptic is able to find the exact GPS location of what those phones are aiming at at so law enforcement and safety efforts can arrive at the scene in record time.
Fisher says the good CrowdOptic is doing is thanks to its new partnership with HPE. The Fortune 500 giant specializes in intelligent livestreaming, which, paired with CrowdOptic’s software, has applications for virtually everything imaginable: ambulance, emergency response, military, medical, and even sports events.
74% of Millennials say they want to make a difference in the world, but don’t know how. Today’s global problems can seem overbearing with no practical or tangible way to go about solving them.
Next time you see something that might be a threat to public safety, know that you’re equipped to help—the power to save lives is at your fingertips.
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This article originally appeared on Forbes.com