When thinking about the District’s involvement at SXSW, no doubt, the local government’s programming and on-site “house” come to mind first.
But Arlington, Va. startup LiveSafe is celebrating a more behind-the-scenes victory at this year’s conference. The mobile safety communications app will be used by all SXSW staff members throughout all of its conferences and festivals.
Nearly 5,000 people, between SXSW’s staff and volunteers, will utilize the technology to quickly broadcast messages via text, email and push notifications to one another about behavior or safety concerns and potential facility issues or risks. LiveSafe’s tech also include geo-targeting capabilities so the team can share messages based on location.
“Safety is a top priority at SXSW,” said SXSW CEO Roland Swenson in a press release. “Our intention is that by adding LiveSafe, our staff and volunteers will have the tools to proactively assist our event and its attendees in having a safer, more enjoyable experience.”
In 2017, the Austin Fire Department conducted 179 nighttime inspections and addressed 160 issues related to improper exiting at SXSW events. The fire department also issued 14 citations: six for overcrowding, three for not having a permit, two for having obstructed or blocked exits, and four others for minor storage issues and miscellaneous reasons.
The most notable safety incident probably came in 2014 when a suspected drunken driver sped through a crowded street during SXSW, killing four and injuring more than 20 others.
In addition to being used by SXSW team members, LiveSafe will also co-present a session called “Turning Tragedy into Action” alongside SXSW on March 15.
LiveSafe was founded in 2012 by Shy Pahlevani, a victim of a violent robbery, and Kristina Anderson, a Virginia Tech shooting survivor. Now, LiveSafe’s technology is used by more than 150 companies and groups across industries, ranging from education to hospitals to malls and retail locations. Since founding, LiveSafe has raised $16.2 million, according to its Crunchbase profile.