In the developing world’s most densely populated slums, having a means to alert the fire department of a fire outbreak in a timely and efficient manner could literally save thousands of lives. The issue is aggravated by the use of illegal electricity taps from nearby factories, which often cause massive fire outbreaks. For instance, in Mukuru Kwa Reuben, Nairobi, there have been countless people left homeless after returning home from work to find their home gone in a blaze. Fire departments are often very delayed, without water or not provided with the correct information regarding where the fire outbreak occurred.
At Halo Smart Labs I was part of the team that originally created the Halo One as connected fire-alarm solution for the Kenyan Red Cross to address this issue in Africa, where slum residents are faced with the life-threatening issue of not having a safe or reliable way to notify the fire department of a fire. Our Halo team decided to employ our product there, using its technology to send notifications about the location of the fire directly and instantaneously to the fire department.
In July 2015, I got to be part of Halo Smart Labs imitative to sign a deal for the shipment of one thousand Halo One devices to Nairobi, Kenya, which I, and fellow members of my team, personally ensured were placed in informal settlements like the Mukuru neighborhood. I worked with Red Cross volunteers to train them to install Halo One devices in homes and on how to maintain the Haven Command Center, Halo’s central information hub, which enables local authorities and supports organizations like Red Cross Kenya to locate a single home fire and contain it before fire can spreads.
This project was impactful to me because it illustrated the full power of IoT to change the world in positive and meaningful ways. Our collaboration with the Red Cross demonstrated how connected products have the power to engage a new global mission to focus on preventative measures against disaster, in addition to their support and relief measures after the fact. The reality is that even with a limited deployment, the Halo One devices in Nairobi could potentially save hundreds of lives in just the next few months, and will deliver valuable insight to assist our goal of reducing global fire deaths by 50% during the next 5 years. Haven will be central to this goal, as the hub will allow us to gather data on different types of fires and the frequency in which they occur. This Halo Smart Labs project helps to protect families from fire on a global scale and I am immensely proud to be central to its realization.