Is­raeli start-up aims to pre­vent next Pitts­burgh at­tack

The Jerusalem Post - - NEWS - • By EY­TAN HALON

Founded in 2016, Tel Avivbased start-up Gabriel aims to pro­vide a smart, af­ford­able and easy-to-use so­lu­tion for mass shoot­ings aimed at so-called soft tar­gets and com­mu­nal spa­ces, in­clud­ing in schools, com­mu­nity cen­ters, syn­a­gogues and churches.

Gabriel CEO Yoni Sher­izen spent 15 years work­ing in the Jewish com­mu­nity be­fore shift­ing his fo­cus to busi­ness. Mo­ti­vated by the June 2016 mass shoot­ing at Tel Aviv’s Sarona Mar­ket and, the mur­der of 49 peo­ple at the Pulse night­club in Or­lando, Florida days later, Sher­izen sought to de­velop a tech­no­log­i­cal plat­form to change the out­come of sim­i­lar events.

“In events like that, the ca­su­alty rate sky­rock­ets with ev­ery pass­ing minute. If you can help peo­ple in­stantly get to safety, alert them of the dan­ger, alert au­thor­i­ties and pro­vide emer­gency ser­vices with real-time in­for­ma­tion on how to deal with the cri­sis, you can dra­mat­i­cally change the way th­ese things un­fold,” said Sher­izen.

The com­pany’s cri­sis plat­form in­te­grates three crit­i­cal com­po­nents. First, a phys­i­cal de­vice placed on the wall of the build­ing which serves both as a panic but­ton to alert first re­spon­ders, po­lice and build­ing oc­cu­pants, and also as a video and au­dio com­mu­ni­ca­tion hub if other com­mu­ni­ca­tion ser­vices fail to alert the au­thor­i­ties.

Sec­ond, the Gabriel smart­phone ap­pli­ca­tion en­ables users to de­clare an emer­gency, alert oth­ers and con­tinue to share crit­i­cal, real-time in­for­ma­tion from the scene. Smart­phones have be­come key com­mu­ni­ca­tion and in­tel­li­gence points for emer­gency re­sponse teams.

Fi­nally, the com­pany has de­vel­oped an in­tu­itive com­mand and con­trol dash­board that en­ables real-time cri­sis man­age­ment. Avail­able both as a web and smart­phone ap­pli­ca­tion, the dash­board pro­vides di­rect video and au­dio feeds and a dy­namic site map.

“We wanted to cre­ate some­thing not only easy to use, but also to in­stall. There are mil­i­tary-grade or govern­ment-grade plat­forms on the mar­ket but you can’t start a dis­cus­sion for less than $200,000 for a se­ri­ous so­lu­tion.” said Sher­izen.

“Our starter kit costs $10,000. De­pend­ing on the size and makeup of the com­mu­nity build­ing, it would cost be­tween $20-30,000 to fully out­fit the lo­ca­tion. We have made it very af­ford­able. This is a game-changer for the lock-down and ac­tive shooter drills that are now a stan­dard part of any child’s up­bring­ing in the States. “

Boosted by an ad­vi­sory board in­clud­ing for­mer Mos­sad deputy di­rec­tor Ram BenBarak, for­mer Is­rael Po­lice chief Yo­hanan Danino, for­mer Shin Bet Di­rec­tor of Over­seas Mis­sions Kobi Mor and fa­ther of Park­land school shoot­ing vic­tim Ryan Petty, Sher­izen and his co­founder Asaf Adler will launch their fin­ished prod­uct in the com­ing weeks. A suc­cess­ful pi­lot pro­gram in De­troit, which fo­cused on a school and a lo­cal Jewish Com­mu­nity Cen­ter al­ready passed ini­tial tests. The De­troit Jewish com­mu­nity has pre-or­dered the fin­ished prod­uct and the sys­tem will ini­tially be in­stalled in 25 lo­ca­tions. Sher­izen ex­pects more com­mu­ni­ties to join, fol­low­ing re­cent events in Pitts­burgh.

“Un­for­tu­nately month there seems ev­ery to be an­other high-pro­file event of this na­ture. Af­ter the Ve­gas shoot­ing, we were able to show [that] our sys­tem would have man­aged to iden­tify the lo­ca­tion of the shooter much quicker,” said Sher­izen.

With more than 475,000 soft tar­gets across the US and amid in­creas­ing se­cu­rity fears, the po­ten­tial mar­ket for Gabriel is huge. The com­pany could gain rev­enues of al­most $1 bil­lion if only 10% of soft tar­gets were to in­vest around $20,000 in its alert sys­tems.

“We have had re­quests from con­do­mini­ums and in­ter­est from cor­po­ra­tions due to work­place shoot­ings. There are con­cerns from rob­beries gone wrong to work­place vi­o­lence and ac­tive shooter sit­u­a­tions. The most sen­si­tive one right now is soft tar­gets.”

Ac­cord­ing to an Amer­i­can Psy­cho­log­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion sur­vey pub­lished last week, a star­tling 75% of Amer­i­cans be­tween the ages of 15 and 21, also known as Gen­er­a­tion Z, say mass and school shoot­ings are sig­nif­i­cant sources of stress, The wor­ry­ing new fig­ures were re­leased three days af­ter Pitts­burgh’s Jewish com­mu­nity was shaken by the mur­der of 11 Tree of Life Sy­n­a­gogue con­gre­gants at a mass shoot­ing dur­ing Shab­bat morn­ing prayers.

Ac­cord­ing to the non­profit Gun Vi­o­lence Ar­chive, the sy­n­a­gogue shoot­ing was the 294th mass shoot­ing in­ci­dent in 2018. The fig­ure has since risen to 307, in­clud­ing Wed­nes­day night’s deadly at­tack at a South­ern Cal­i­for­nia bar.

THE GABRIEL emer­gency panic but­ton.

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