There are an estimated 7 000 private security response vehicles in South Africa that only service two percent of the population. Worse still, these vehicles are only in service five percent of the time.

This is according to AURA, an on-demand emergency services platform that draws on the widespread power of private security companies.

While this might sound like services such as Namola, AURA is different. How is it different? Well that’s why we spoke to co-founder Adam Pantanowitz to find out more.

“AURA is a platform that allows the seamless connection of people in distress, whether its safety or medical distress, with our network of responders,” the co-founder tells Hypertext.

“We aggregate emergency response companies and through our technology solution we’re able to dispatch responders to any distress signal. This signal can come from a smartphone, a Bluetooth device, an Internet of Things device or any internet connected device really,” says Pantanowitz.

AURA makes use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to hone its system and ensure that the closest responders are dispatched to a distress call. This means that AURA is constantly looking at its network of responders and trying to eke out those few extra seconds that are so vital in an emergency situation.

With artificial intelligence and machine learning, AURA is able to determine the best route to an emergency situation and that’s vital in this day and age.

What’s more is that AURA will tell the person in distress that a responder has been dispatched, who they are and what route they are going to take.

Why AURA?

There are quite frankly a multitude of apps focused on security and safety. What then makes AURA so special?

As the firm reports, the security industry historically lacked the technology to utilise responders and vehicles efficiently. What’s more is that Pantanowitz reports that many of these firms operate as silos.

This presents a problem as in the event of an emergency, your security company may not be the closest, it could be another firm, but your security firm has no idea. With AURA, response times are lessened because security companies are aggregated and dispatched from one trusted source with a birds-eye view of the situation.
According to AURA, response times can drop from between 10 to 30 minutes to as low as one to five minutes.

We should point out at this stage that AURA is not a replacement for apps such as Namola, in fact Namola offers AURA as a premium service.

The firm works with over 100 partners to broaden the reach of what it does so that it – as has been mentioned – broadens the reach of private security companies and makes emergency response as a whole a more efficient sector.

AURA’s clients are able to plug into its platform through the use of an API, an SDK and an application suite which means it’s likely rather easy to integrate into their existing platform. For the business minded, using AURA has the benefit of putting more vehicles and responders which may be sitting idle, to work.

“We have a hybrid of human and computer systems that enable our AURA network.” the co-founder tells us.

Of course, AURA does carry a subscription cost along with it but Pantanowitz says that often their clients (businesses) subsidise costs for their user base out of concern for their client’s well-being. The co-founder did tell us that as the firm has grown its fees are now more affordable than existing solutions.

“AURA has a nationwide network now so for the first time we’re able to dispatch just about anywhere in the country. Because we have this scale, we’re able to increase access and improve affordability. Our vision is to democratise access to our network and make access to emergency response much more accessible,” says Pantanowitz.

The co-founder tells us that since AURA’s inception, there are now areas that were previously not serviced by private security firms that now have AURA watching over them. One particular story stuck with us though.

“Very early on in our business AURA’s network assisted in stopping a rape. The crime was committed in an area previously not serviced by security companies and being able to stop harrowing crimes like that from happening motivates us to continue improving,” the co-founder tells us.

AURA has managed to resolve 78 percent of domestic disputes reported on its platform and it hopes that as more partners join, that number climbs to 100 percent of disputes resolved.

The firm is set to announce a global deal with a well-known security firm soon and we can see why. AURA is a clever solution and if you operate a security firm it’s a good idea to get in touch.

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.