“What is Flybox?”

Heston Williams
Nov 25, 2019 · 6 min read
Photo Credit: Parker Gibbons

I hear this question frequently and I will be addressing it in this post. Details of how Flybox.io works will not be discussed publicly because some aspects of our service must remain protected in order to provide the highest levels of security and safety for campuses. There are billions of dollars in State, Federal, and private funding available to ISDs who wish to implement systems such as Flybox.io. I have information that can help your ISD access these funding channels and will happily send the information to you if needed. If you have any questions after reading this and/or would like to discuss details, then please email me at Heston@Flybox.io.

Let’s get back to the question, “What is Flybox.io?”

Flybox.io is a software that uses the existing infrastructure on a campus to dramatically and effectively improve that campus’ security and safety by providing a high-resolution situational awareness and a contextually relevant communications platform during any emergency or non-emergency scenario. The end result is a low-cost security and communications platform that outperforms any other software on the market.

We do this without installed applications and without GPS permissions. This is important because installed applications notoriously have low adoption rates. Unless you are a massively popular social app, native SMS app or Email client, then your app wont get a large adoption. This is true for several reasons, the first of which is that regardless of how good your intentions are, you’re not going to provide value in the same way that other apps do. Just because some apps get traction doesn’t mean that using one for this purpose is a good idea. Second is that your messages likely have no relevance to the majority of users because they’re not geographically relevant or immediately useful. In other words, most mass messages have no actionable value to a majority of recipients. Anything with no/diminishing value we be ignored. Third, if you want to include a user’s location, then you’ll have to ask them for GPS permission, which they justifiably will deny, thus reducing the efficacy of an app even further. Flybox.io not only provides a solution to all three of these challenges, but we also allow you to deploy our software on your campus almost immediately.

All this to make the point that there is no other school safety software or communications platform that offers the same level of performance, insight, usability, and long-term efficiency as Flybox.io.

There are many questions about a product like this. I’ve listed and answered a few of the most common questions below. These may help you understand a bit more about Flybox.io, its niche, and its potential for larger applications.

Question: “Cellular providers already offer location services and emergency notifications. Why do we need Flybox?”

Answer: Its true — many cell providers are working to provide location based alerts for various types of emergencies. However, allow me to address the spirit of your question by asking another. How many times have you been looking at your maps application, and the little blue dot was at a completely different place from your current location? Further, even if that dot were in the right location on a 2-dimensional map, do you have faith that it would it be accurate on a 3-dimensional map? Probably not, and that’s a serious problem. Make no mistake that what the cell providers are working toward is a valuable information dissemination tool for mass blanket alerts during events such as tornadoes, flash floods, etc, but they simply cannot provide precise location services, even if they had permission to track you via GPS in perfect conditions.

Question: “We already have a messaging system. How is Flybox better?”

Answer: Ask any student or user who has received an emergency notification from one of the messaging / alert platforms that are so often deployed on University, College, and School campuses. One of the first things they’ll tell you is that they immediately felt a wave of anxiety as they tried to understand if this alert directly affected them or not. In these circumstances, recipients will pay a high biological and psychological price for this indiscretion. People, in an effort to avoid that uneasy feeling of unnecessary anxiety, will begin to ignore the messages, turn off the alerts, or even unsubscribe or block the sender even at the risk of missing a critical message in the future. Of course, those who are directly affected by the emergency may benefit, but due to the misapplication of mass messaging technology there is an ever-increasing likelihood that they will not. All this to say that unless you can provide contextually relevant message distribution, then you’re not only risking a financial loss by paying for a product that reduces its own value with each use, but you’re also building a negative potential that will become increasingly costly.

Question: “We already have buttons installed around our campus. Why is Flybox more effective?”

Answer: A button represents an assumption that someone will be able to press it. It also assumes that nothing will prevent them from getting to the button. What happens when someone needs to trigger an alarm, but they’re not near the button? Perhaps fire, structural damage, medical emergency, or a perpetrator prevents access — what then? Flybox moves this button into everyone’s pocket, purse, or wrist while adding the ability to know who pushed the button and where they are. Furthermore, a simple physical button can not give first responders any context with which they may plan or enact an appropriate response. The Flybox.io platform allows every on-campus user the ability to communicate important information and context to administration and first responders if an alert is triggered from any location on campus.

Question: “What about low-income schools, or situations where relatively few students have mobile devices?”

Answer: Great question. Luckily, if an emergency is taking place, you only need one person in each room/area who has the ability to receive alerts and begin employing appropriate protocols. While high adoption rates are important for long-term effectiveness of an alert product, low adoption and/or access can still yield effective results. The unique value of Flybox.io is that we offer high adoption AND relevance. No other platform can honestly claim to offer this combination.

Question: “We’d like to buy your service, but we’re putting our budget into metal detectors (or other hardening.)”

Answer: Metal detectors are good at only one thing: detecting metal. They cannot stop an intruder. They can not warn people of a fire. They cannot help search and rescue in the event of a building collapse from tornadoes or earthquakes. They cannot prevent any sort of physical action. In the event that a shooter is targeting a detector-equipped campus, do you really, really think that a detector will stop them? It won’t. It cant. Even if the detector is staffed with an armed guard, a shooter with a plan will easily defeat the guard, then walk right through the detector without delay and your students will still have no notification of imminent danger. You need to focus on securing your campus as quickly as possible by distributing relevant alerts, summoning first responders, and enacting protocols immediately. Detectors are psychological tools that are sold not to protect students and staff, but to make the buyer feel good about doing something — anything — in the name of school security. To see the efficiency and efficacy of detectors, google how easily people sneak weapons past the TSA. Other types of visible hardening may act as a deterrent to a potential shooter, but we have to consider what effect that has on students’ psyche. Research suggest that visible hardening results in higher stress levels in students. The long-term effects of higher stress cannot be overstated.

Flybox.io is a service designed to help anyone who manages a campus of any kind ensure the highest levels of safety to every person on campus. Our objective is to keep all costs low while keeping morale and peace-of-mind high.

Flybox.io is currently seeking to sign LOIs for Pilot Programs with ISDs, Universities, and Colleges who are actively considering ways to increase campus safety and improve communications. If you or someone you know is an administrator or decision maker at an ISD, University, or College, please email me at Heston@Flybox.io

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We at Flybox.io have a goal of providing coverage to 10 million students before the end of 2023. Admittedly, this is an ambitious goal. In order to achieve that goal, we’ll need to grow rapidly. We’re looking for additional help in the following areas:

  • Engineering: Software, Network, full-stack web development
  • Marketing
  • Sales (experience successfully selling software directly to educational institutions or though established distribution channels is required.)
  • Regulatory Compliance

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