FAQs

Where is CiviGuard based?

We have two offices - one at NASA Ames Research Park, CA and the other in White Plains, NY.

Is CiviGuard supposed to be used as a standalone platform for crisis communication?

No. Smartphones are an increasingly prevalent communication channel and that's where we can help. Your existing investments in notification platforms via voice and SMS remain. We can easily configure CiviGuard to utilize these existing backbones for our own messaging needs.

Aren't you going to overload and collapse telecom networks during times of crisis with all this communication occurring?

CiviGuard never assumes network reliability or availability. Our patent pending technology is focused on a "greatest good for the greatest number" principle. We are gentle on the network backbone and focus on getting out as much information as we can before a network becomes saturated or delayed. Human communication barriers drop during times of crisis, allowing information to rapidly permeate through the population - we capitalize on that social pattern.

When does the CiviGuard 1.0 get released?

CiviGuard has been in development since September 2009. The first release will be available 05/10/2010. Please contact us at info@civiguard.com or on Twitter to schedule a demo.

Seems like a new platform, does it scale?

CiviGuard was built to guide and serve millions of civilians during times of crisis. It is designed for the cloud, and optimized for Nebula and Amazon's EC2 infrastructure. We will be sharing load test results and documentation to prospective customers so that independent assessment of our capabilities can be made.

What about resiliency?

On the server-side, we use two map service providers - Google Maps as the primary, and Bing Maps as the secondary. The Amazon cloud is multi-homed, eventually consistent and fully redundant across three data centers on two continents. A large block of reserve instances ensure availability of resources under load. The command center software is designed to work under inconsistent network conditions and is capable of resynchronizing scenario state on recovery.

On the client-side, civilians can take advantage of three modes of operation during a crisis - data, SMS or local. In data mode, civilians simply have to launch our application on their smartphone to receive updates and route plans. SMS mode is activated in the event data is not available, updates and text directions appear in your inbox for review. In local mode, no updates from the server can reach the civilian - in that situation we load up a locally cached static map of the last known "locale" set by the user. This static map highlights major interstates, exits and key points-of-interest for food, shelter and medical assistance.

What mobile platforms does our technology support?

iPhone and Android initially. Blackberry follows 2Q2010. Windows Phone 7 will follow 4Q2010. Mobile browsers running the WebKit engine will be supported as well.

Why is multi-touch so important to CiviGuard's command interface?

Touch interfaces establish an intimacy with the user that is just not possible with classic mouse driven paradigms. Under pressure, this sense of familiarity, precision and ease-of-use results in a calmer and more predictable experience.

Does the command interface need Windows to run?

No. Our command interfaces run on Windows, Linux and Chrome operating systems. CiviGuard has no dependency on Windows touch libraries.

What about platform security?

CiviGuard is FIPS 140-2 compliant and implements a number of active security measures to prevent the platform being compromised during an emergency. More details can be furnished to agencies interested in the platform.

Who are you selling this platform to?

We are focused on improving the operational continuity of any organization on the planet - Government, Enterprise, Education or Non-profit. In the near term, we have seen the most interest from Finance and Education sectors and this is where we will focus. In the 18-24 month timeframe, we anticipate Government agencies becoming a major customer.

What is the pricing model?

Pricing is on a per person per year subscription basis. Pricing includes deployment, command training, mobile device updates, 24x7 support and quarterly readiness testing. Customization and integration with existing agency systems is executed by our professional services unit on a level of effort basis.

These products seem designed for countries like the US. Have you thought about application of these technologies in the developing world?

The developing world and the situations we have seen in Haiti and Chile were key drivers behind the development of CiviGuard. Today, developed cities are best positioned to take advantage of our technology. It is inevitable that the same mobile trends we see in the developed world today are going to permeate into the developing world in the next 5 years. We look forward to expanding our reach into developing markets and supporting humanitarian missions in the near future.