2 Minnesota Tech Companies Will Play Big Role in Super Bowl Security

November 01, 2017 12:48 PM

Two Minnesota technology companies are set to play a big role in security when the Super Bowl comes to town in February. 

"It's kind of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, truly," said Dan Zell, President of Securonet


Zell's Woodbury-based company created FieldWatch, a phone app some are calling "Uber for police."

"Securonet gives law enforcement the ability to see where their officers are in the field and (to) deploy them appropriately," Zell said. 

Icons in the app indicate locations of officers, K-9 units and even bomb squads across the city.

The Minneapolis Police Department and dozens of other agencies have been hard at work for months preparing for the big game, but Minneapolis police are the lead agency in charge.

And officials with the department said the technology will help. 

"Being able to have that situational awareness, (to) see where those officers are is of tremendous benefit," Minneapolis police commander Scott Gerlicher said. 

The app also allows officers to live-stream video.

"They engaged us to develop a mobile app that allowed them to live-stream actual incidents," Zell said. 

"Let's say they are watching a suspicious person, or they're following a criminal suspect, they can take their phone (and) live-stream that as they're walking down the street," Gerlicher said.

"In my conversation with FieldWatch, we said it would really be nice to have an automated application to allow us in a command center to see exactly where those officers are out on foot."

That's where GeoComm comes in.

The St. Cloud-based company specializes in public-safety mapping software.

"We get to take the technology and software applications that we build, and we get to deploy them in our background which is neat," said John Brosowsky, Vice President of Innovation at GeoComm.

The company said these three-dimensional maps integrated with sensor feeds should be the first step for law enforcement when it comes to protecting the public in the future. 

"Think of a 911 dispatcher that has a map in front of them, and then somebody calls 911 and the location of the phone pops up on the map," Brosowsky said. 

A 3D and indoor map will be located inside the Minneapolis police command center. It integrates real-time call information, video streaming from FieldWatch and any other communication service used by the department.

"It reduces the amount of time it takes him to assess the situation, make decisions, apply resources and then move on to the next situation," said Guy Konietzko, Market Manager Joint Operations, Command and Fusion Centers for GeoComm. 

"We can put all that information together, which allows us as police commanders to make much more better and informed decisions," Gerlicher said. 

Come game day, the tech companies behind the scenes won't get any applause.

But they already know their work goes a long way.

"It's very fulfilling to work in a business that works to make communities safer," Zell said. 

Minneapolis police say once the Super Bowl is over, they still plan to use the technology on a day-to-day basis.


Brett Hoffland

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